In April, I spent two weeks in Peru and when I wasn’t tracking down beautiful examples of Peruvian rugs, trying my hand at weaving, or paying the requisite visit to Machu Picchu, I was eating. From the national fruit lucuma, dulce de leche filled churros in Lima, ceviches and tacu tacu, I couldn’t get enough. Before I even left Lima, I was looking for a way to bring the flavors of Peru back home to New York, and browsing at a bookstore in Lima I came across The Ceviche Kitchen by Martin Morales. Martin was born in Peru but has lived in London for twenty years. Before opening his London restaurant, he worked with Steve Jobs at Apple as one of the founding members and head of iTunes Pan Europe, he was a board director at Disney in Europe and was a DJ for 15 years performing all over the world. But while he was in the middle of that successful London career that revolved around music and media, he was actually dreaming of opening his own restaurant. So in 2010, he took the leap – left his media career, sold his house and put everything into opening Ceviche. That passion for Peru and for its cuisine is evident in Ceviche, which includes all of my favorite Peruvian foods. I asked Martin to share his recipe for tacu tacu – one of my favorite Peruvian dishes – and for a Pisco Sour. Thanks, Martin! –Amy
A Few Things You May Not Know About Peruvian Food
- Peru has a culinary heritage that dates back 7,000 years and a cuisine that has been shaped by 500 years of fusion.
- Potatoes originate from Peru. From the 3,500 varieties that exist in the world, 2,500 come from Peru.
- Other foods from Peru? The tomato, peanuts, certain types of beans, many tropical fruits like lucuma and physalis and a large variety of chilis, maize and cereals (like quinoa!).
- Pisco, the Peruvian spirit, is the fastest growing spirit in the world.
Click through for all three recipes after the jump!
*All text below is from Martin*
AVOCADO & RICE FRITTERS
This is a traditional and much-loved Afro-Peruvian dish usually made with leftover rice and beans, but here I have created a new version. The dish can resembles hash browns, although it is cooked with rice rather than potato. Our version is made with avocado, which gives it a lovely, silky richness.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp amarillo chile paste (see below)
1 large avocado, peeled, pitted and finely diced, plus extra to serve
Peruvian Rice (see below)
All-purpose flour, for dusting
Vegetable oil, for frying
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 bananas, peeled, sliced and fried
4 fried eggs
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and sauté the onion for 10 to 15 minutes, until it is soft and translucent.
- Add the garlic and chile paste and cook for another minute.
- Add the avocado and then transfer to a bowl with the rice.
- Combine thoroughly and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Transfer to the fridge to chill for 2 to 3 hours.
- When the mixture is firm and cold, remove from the fridge and divide roughly into 4 equal portions.
- Dust each portion with a little flour.
- Heat some vegetable oil in a nonstick frying pan set over medium heat. Using a spoon, heap a portion of the mixture into the pan and press down evenly with a spatula to form a rough oval shape. Try to fit 3 or more in your pan or cook in batches if necessary.
- Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the bottom is a light golden brown.
- Turn each portion over and continue to cook until the fritters are a rich golden brown on both sides.
- Keep warm while you cook the other portions if you are cooking in batches, adding a little more oil as necessary.
- Serve with some fried banana, some extra chopped avocado, and a fried egg on top.
BASIC CHILE PASTE
This basic chile paste works with any of the chiles on page 225, but the pastes you’ll find used most often in this book are made with amarillo, panca, or rocoto. (But you can also use any red chile for this recipe)
- Put 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large, heavy saucepan.
- Heat over medium heat and then add 31/2 oz / 100 g frozen or fresh seeded chiles of your choice or 1 tbsp / 35 g reconstituted seeded and roughly chopped dried chiles, and 1/2 a finely chopped small onion.
- Sauté over low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Add 2 crushed garlic cloves and sauté for 5 minutes until everything is very soft, being careful to make sure it doesn’t take on any color.
- Put the contents of the saucepan into a food processor or blender and blitz until smooth. Store in the fridge in a sterilized jar.
Makes about 3/4 cups / 190 g.
ARROCITO (PERUVIAN RICE)
This is a very simple savory rice that we use to accompany all kinds of dishes. It is also good with the addition of some choclo corn for extra texture and taste.
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Generous 1 cup / 200g long-grain rice
11/4 cups / 300 ml water
1/2 tsp salt
A pinch of ground cumin
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add the garlic. Sauté for a minute, making sure it doesn’t start to brown, and then add the rice and cook for a further minute.
- Add the water, salt and cumin, cover, and bring to a boil.
- Turn the heat down to a simmer, cover, and allow the rice to cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed.
- Carefully stir the rice once with a fork to loosen it.
- Turn off the heat and leave to sit, covered, to steam for a few minutes before serving.
This vintage cocktail gained worldwide fame thanks to a mention in the literary works of Mark Twain and Rudyard Kipling.
12/3 fl oz / 50 ml pisco (preferably pisco acholado)
1 fl oz / 15 ml lime juice
2 drops of grapefruit bitters
FOR THE PINEAPPLE SYRUP
7 tbsp / 100 ml Sugar Syrup (page 241)
1/4 pineapple, peeled, de-eyed, and cubed
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp / 200 ml pineapple juice
- First, make the pineapple syrup. Put the Sugar Syrup, cubed pineapple, and pineapple juice in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Immediately remove from the heat and leave to cool down completely, giving it time to infuse.
- Strain into a sterilized jar (page 227) and keep in the fridge until needed. Fill a shaker with ice.
- Measure out 4 tsp / 20 ml of the prepared pineapple syrup and put it in the shaker.
- Add the remaining ingredients, shake vigorously, and strain into a chilled margarita glass.
NOTE: You can keep the leftover pineapple syrup in the fridge for at least a month. It’s fantastic as a concentrate for a cordial, or drizzle it over coconut ice cream or pancakes.
You can buy this syrup, but it’s much cheaper and quicker to make it at home. It will keep for a couple weeks in the fridge, but it is better fresh and chilled.
Measure 1/2 cup / 100 g granulated sugar into a jug and pour in 7 tablespoons / 100 ml boiling water. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved and then chill. A quick way to do this is to plunge the jug into a bowl of iced water. Alternatively, transfer to the fridge and leave until cold. Makes a scant 1 cup / 200 ml.