TEAM DARJEELING - IRMA LIKES PERUVIAN FOOD!
Irma sat by while we ate all sorts of wonderful Peruvian dishes. Sometimes she looked on longingly, and sometimes we brought her out to enjoy the meal with us. The drink of choice with many Peruvian dishes is Inca Kola- a refreshing yellow colored caffeinated cola that I personally really enjoy. Also, I enjoy a Peruvian wine that is next to impossible to find in the States. Wine from Peru isn't considered among the best in the world, but there is one in particular that we love. It is common to add fruit to red wine to make Sangria. The famous alcoholic drink Peru is known for is Pisco Sour. The drink that we broke out Irma for (because it is somewhat of an infusion, albeit a bit of a stretch) was Chicha Morada. This purple colored drink, made from purple corn, is quite lovely.
I averaged gaining 1.3 pound/week I was in Peru. Good thing I was only there 3 weeks! :-) Peruvians love their starches, and several at a meal is not uncommon. Peru has over 3,000 varieties of potatoes, and the largest variety of corn in the world. Fried potatoes or Fried Yucca or "Yucca Frita" frequently accompany meals, in addition to corn (often toasted), and sometimes rice.
Inca Kola, "The Golden Cola" You don't see Pepsi and Coke signs so much in Peru, but Inca Kola signs are everywhere.
Some Peruvian dishes I'd like to share with you:
Parihuela Mixo- a seafood soup
Aji de Gajina
This one doesn't look like much, by oh my goodness it is good!
Enrollado en salse de longstino
Fish rolled with seafood inside
"Chifa" (Chinese) is very popular in Peru. It is Chinese food, but Peruvian Chinese isn't the same as American Chinese. This dish was stir-fried rice with fried egg on top.
Conchita- Peruvian toasted corn
This is one of my favorite dishes. In fact, my husband made it tonight for dinner (along with corn, sweet potato, conchita (toasted corn) and yucca frita) How many starches was that? Since I'm going for tea tomorrow, I figure the diet starts Saturday!
A funny story about my first time trying ceviche. When I asked what it was he told me it is fish. I asked him how it is cooked, and he told me it was cooked with lime and salt. I continued to press for how exactly it was cooked. Was it boiled? Fried? Baked? He kept replying, "No, it's cooked in lime and salt" Finally I asked, "Is there Heat involved in cooking it?" When he replied "No, no heat" I said, "No Heat, No Eat!" I have since changed my mind after tasting it as it is absolutely delicious! It is traditionally served with giant corn and sweet potato.
The beautiful dish below is Causa
Causa is made by layering mashed potatoes with tuna and mayonnaise and celery
We decided to treat ourselves to my favorite Peruvian dessert, alfajores. My husbands sister-in-law taught me to make them once, but I haven't attempted on my own. A good description of them I found on Limaeasy.com: Alfajores have their origin in the traditional Arabic confection "alajú" found in some Spanish regions and found their way to whole South America in colonial times. Back then some ingredients weren't available or too expensive, so adaptations to the original recipe were necessary; and by now nearly each Latin American country has its own way of preparing them. In Peru Alfajores consist of two layers of fine and crumbly cookies made of flour and / or cornstarch, butter and powdered sugar filled with Manjar Blanco, a sweat, caramel-like, sticky reduction of milk and sugar.
Chicha Morada is the purple drink in the glass. It is served cold. It is made by boiling purple corn, cinnamon and cloves in water and simmering for close to an hour. After straining, sugar and lime juice is added. Next it is cooled and then chopped pineapple and apple are added.
Another wonderful Peruvian dessert is churros. These aren't like those star shaped ones you get at the fair! Here Irma is watching by as we purchase some filled with dulce de leche. Irma is packed away in her box safely nestled in styrofoam, which is how I transported her everywhere we went. After picking out our churros we took them home to enjoy with tea (of course!).