Main courses

Main courses

Mixed traditional dishes

These recipes are far from exhaustive, but they do aim to represent the different classes of main course found in Perú. We have tried to offer Northern hemisphere alternatives to some of the more exotic ingredients. Where the flavours are both important to the recipe and highly specific to Perú and where there are no such alternatives, then we have omitted the recipe altogether. The recipes are arranged in alphabeticalorder. Photographs do not always match recipes, but we have added them more to give you a feel for what is on offer.

The many versions of garlic (ají) that are used in Perú are referred to in passing in these recipes, as they are seldom available elsewhere. "Green" garlic is immature, whilst the yellow garlic is very mature. The former is often eaten raw or used as a dressing, whilst the latter is almost always cooked.Garlic that has been boiled or fried, and garlic which has been dried and powdered, crushed or diced have each quite different flavours, which explains the seeming duplication in many recipes. One form that we have ignored is ají mirasol, which is a dried head of garlic, which can open up like a sunflower and so justify the name. This is used with pungent meat dishes, but as it is unobtainable outside of Latin America, we have used "normal" garlic in its stead. Red garlic is a variety of normal garlic, tasting much the same but being a rusty reddish colour.

Two additional ingredients that may need explanation are the yuca and the choclo maize. Yuca is a brownish paste with a sweetish flavour similar to that of sweet potatoes. It is obtained from the root of the yucca agave cactus (sometimes called sisal), which is peeled and parboiled in slaty water before mashing. Its flavour is very distinctive, but you could perhaps substitute sweet potatoes (camote) or, at a pinch, slightly sweetened pollenta. Choclo maize is a corn that is usually preserved by drying it. It is usually served cold after boiling, being presented in a number of ways, chiefly by cutting it in 2 cm thick disks. It has a strong sweetish "corn" flavour, with perhaps sweetcorn coming the closest to it in Western supermarkets.

Thanks to Señora Antezana for her help in compiling these and the other recipes.

Causa limeña, a mousse containing fish or prawns Causa limeña, with a distinct shape and dressing
Adobo a la Norteña

Mix the red and yellow garlic, vinegar and salt, and marinade the pork in it. After 12 hours, fry the pork and use the liquid to form a gravy. The pork is served cut into medallions and doused with this gravy, usually accompanied by yuca and beans.

Adobo Arequipeño

Chicha de jora is a thick maize beer, brewed with the berries of the pepper tree. One could probably recreate it for cooking purposes with conventional beer, pollenta and white peppercorns. The pork is marinated for a day in a mixture of the pimento, pepper, cumin and the crushed red garlic. After this, it is simmered for 20 minutes in this mixture, to which the coarsely cut onions are added. Once these are cooked, the beer is added - beware foam - and the seasoning. Finally, when this has been brought to the boil, the potato is crumbled into the stew to thicken it.

Aguadito de Mariscos

The preparation of a fish chilcano is described here: it is a basic stock for seafood in Perú. Bring this to a gentle simmer and add the scallops, the mussels and the crab. Leave this to cook for thirty minutes. Strain the mixture, retaining both components. Fry the onions and the pimento until brown and then add the liquid previously set aside. Stir and add the green beans, oregano and the garlic, leaving it all to cook gently until the green beans are cooked. Add seasoning. Then the rice and the fillets of fish. When the rice is cooked, add the sea snails, the clams, the octopus cut into thin medallions and the squid cut in rings. The scallops, the mussels and the crabs are then tipped over the mixture just before serving.

Two jungle dishes: this is Cecina de Tacacho This is called tacu tacu
Aguadito de Pato

Dissect out the duck breast and wash it, placing it in a deep pot. Add a little water, the cloves of the garlic, chopped onion, oregano, the peas, the pimento, salt, pepper and some oil. Reduce this until the duck breasted are golden. More water is now added to covering the breasts, and the whole simmered until the breasts are cooked. It is best to add an excess of water as the rice, added next, will take up a great deal of it. Finally, the potatoes are added, diced and already partially cooked. Yellow potatoes are a local variety - out of thousands! - which closely resemble Western salad potatoes. The potatoes are cooked in a further 10-15 minutes.

Aguadito de Pescado

This recipe requires a firm-textured marine fish, for example salmon. In Perú, the corvina is widely used. Fry the cloves of crushed garlic with finely chopped onion and the pimento. Wait until this becomes golden and then add the beans, seasoning and the oregano. Add water and stir, bring it to the boil and wait until the beans are cooked before adding the fish and the rice. Stir so that the rice does not stick. This is served with chopped raw garlic, lemon juice and parsley.

Aguadito de Pollo

The chicken breasts are boiled in plenty of water. Chop the onions and use a deep pot to fry them, the garlic and the pimento. When already they are coked, add the beer to the pot and stir. Take the chicken breasts out of the boiler and add them, the unchopped garlic, the oregano and the green beans to the pot. Leave to simmer for 90 minutes. Finally, add the yellow potato and the rice and the seasoning. Cooking continues until the potatoes reach the "flake" stage, but not so far that they crumble.

Ají de mondongo

Mondongo is belly, usually from cattle. Cut it into small portions and beat these with a mallet, and then simmer for 90 minutes, or until soft. Meanwhile, soak bread in milk, and mix this in when the mondongo is cooked. Fry the chopped onion, the two kinds of crushed garlic, the cloves of garlic and combine with the main mixture. Add the stock cube, the parmesan and the mint and simmer briefly. Serve accompanied by boiled potatoes, sliced hard boiled eggs and olives.

Ajiaco de Camarones

Soak the dried beans overnight, discard the water and boil them until cooked in fish stock. Also boil the potatoes to the flake stage, drain and allow to cool. Fry the crushed garlic, and then add a quantity of fish stock and bring to the boil. Add the green beans and beans which were already cooked, as above. The potatoes are hand-crumbled into the mixture, adding additional stock if it become too thick. Add the cheese and stir until it is melted, add seasoning and finally the shrimps. These are ready to eat in a few minutes.

Ajiaco de choclo

Boil the potatoes to the 'flake' stage. Fry the yellow garlic and the pimento. and with pepper and cumin to the flavour. Cut the seeds off the choclo maize cob, and add these to the gently frying mixture. This takes around 15 minutes to cook. Add the potatoes semi-mashed and pour on the stock, stirring strongly. Season and cook for a further 15 minutes. Add the cheese and stir until this is dissolved. Serve sprinkled with chopped onion or parsley.

Anticuchos are wdely eaten at lunch A chicken mousse, served sliced with rice
Anticuchos de corvina

Marinade the fish in small pieces with the oil, vinegar, cumin and garlic. Place the segments of fish on a little wooden skewer and cook over hot charcoal. Anticuchos are usually served with rice or potatoes and choclo maize.

Anticuchos de Lomo

Cut the steak into 3cm squares, and marinade in the vinegar, oil, seasoning and rue, the crushed garlic and the pimento. These are alternated on a skewer with rings of onion, and cooked over charcoal. Serve as above.

Chicken and pork, heart and veal are also commonly used for anticuchos.

Apanado de Tortuga

A simple dish from the jungle for those with a taste for the exotic. After softening the meat with a mallet, dip in beaten egg and then the breadcrumbs. Fry quickly in deep, hot oil. This is usually served with white rice and a sauce made from forest vegetables, boiled and puréd. It is often accompanied with Tacu Tacu, see below.

Arroz a la Norteña

The stock is made from grilled cattle bones, boiled overnight with onion and salt. Cut the meat into medium-sized pieces. Meanwhile, fry the cloves of garlic and then stir in the meat. Brown these and add the stock to cover. Simmer for an hour. Then add the oregano, the beans and the lentils. When the beans are cooked, add the rice. Keep some hot stock back to top up if the rice soaks up too much liquid.. It is served sprinkled with chopped pimientos or parsley.

Meat prepared in the jungle style, with plantains. Soleterito de queso, a kind of cheese ball.
Arroz al la Peruana

Crush the garlic and fry it. Add water and salt, then the rice. When cooked, drain and add olive oil.

Arroz Chaufa

Chop the pork into small segments and fry it with the garlic. Set aside, and with the same pan fry eggs, breaking these into small pieces. Combine the two. Meanwhile, boil the rice until cooked, drain and add the pork, egg and chopped spring onions. Stir in the soya sauce. This usually accompanies a meat dish in the classical chifa style.

Arroz Cubierto

Fry the mince, adding the onions, the garlic, the cumin and the seasoning. As liquid emerges, reduce the heat and simmer, adding the olives, raisins and chopped boiled egg when this is semi-cooked. Cook the rice separately and drain well. Just before serving, place the rice in a broad serving dish and make a dent in the middle of the mound. Pour the meat into this and dress the whole with ample fried parsley.

Cabrito al Horno

Chop the kid and marinade in the vinegar, oil, salt, sugar, chopped onion and garlic. Once absorbed, place in a moderate oven for 60-90 minutes, until done. Take the meat off the baking tray and make a gravy with the herbs, stock and starch, making sure that the cooking residues are taken up in this. Pour over the meat and serve with roast potatoes. This is usually eaten with roast potatoes, which are prepared conventionally.

Calamares al Ají

This is usually eaten with rice a la Peruana, as described earlier. Fry the garlic separately in butter. Clean the squid and cut into disks. (If you miss the ink sack, this stage can get messy!) Fry in hot olive oil, turning continually. Add the tomato, onion and chopped lettuce (really!) Add the fried garlic, the lemon juice and the soya sauce. Often dressed with celery or coriander.

Carapulcra de Chancho

Soak the chopped potatoes in water for half an hour and drain. Heat the lard and fry the two meats together. Set aside, and use the oil to fry the garlics and the onion. Recombine and add the seasoning, herbs and stock. Bring to the boil and add the potatoes, the wine and the peanuts. Stir while this thickens, ensuring that it does not stick.

Carapulcra with tallarines (noodles) Cau cau, carapulcra, rice and garlic chicken
Cau Cau

This is a famous rural dish. The mondongo is the belly flesh of any animal, but usually a cow. Cut into squares and boil in salty water until tender. Separate and add milk to the mondongo and simmer. Fry the onion and garlics, add to the mondongo accompanied by the herbs and seasoning. Place the hot potatoes chopped in a dish and pour the mondongo over this, allowing it to rest. It can be garnished with lemon rings before serving, or lemon juice can be added before combining the potatoes and mondongo. It is usually served with plain rice.

Cecina Frita

Boil the cassavas and the green bananas in minimal water. Fry the pork until golden, then drain the vegetables and add them, frying until they too are golden.



The ceviche is the classical coastal lunch time meal. It can be made with a wide range of fish and shellfish, but the classical dish is made from the corvina. Almost any non-oily, firm-fleshed fish will do, however. There are also ceviches made from, for example, chicken, but purists frown on these.

Squeeze the limes and sieve the pips. Some people add the grated rind of one lime. Crush a few leaves of the rue and add to the juice. Place the fish in strips in the juice and allow to pickle overnight. The result will be a white, cooked-looking flesh. Drain off the surplus juice. Chop a sweet purple onion into rings and place over individual portions of the fish, together with few leaves of celery and coriander, a ring of red chilli - the hotter the better - and a round cut from the cob of cooked choclo maize. Place a small portion of yuca on each serving.

This goes particularly well with the equally traditional lunchtime drink, the Pisco sour. This is made from sweetened fresh lime juice, Pisco - Perú's unique brandy-like spirit - and whipped egg white. The proportions vary with taste, but the drink is usually very strong.

Prawn ceviche Fish ceviche, guarded by crabs
Chancho Asado con Tamarindo

This is a classical Chifa recipe.

The tamarind is a tree that grows the length of the coast, and its seeds cook to a characteristic glutinous texture, and offers a vaguely resinous flavour. A good substitute would be pine nuts, or perhaps retzina, with some starch to give body. Carve the pork into slices, chop the spring onions and pimento and garlic. Fry these all together and add the stock when cooked. Simmer, adding seasoning, soya sauce, sugar and vinegar. The tamerind (or whatever) is added last, together with the starch to thicken before serving with boiled rice.


Boil the potatoes until the flake stage and break them into small pieces with a fork. The pork is also boiled in salt water for 25 minutes. It is then chopped finely and set aside. The garlics and onion are fried, and the pork and potatoes added, together with lemon juice, the herbs and seasoning. When hot, add the peanuts and serve. It is often accompanied by moist white maize bread.

Chicharrón of Squid

Clean the squid and cut into rings. Whip the egg with the salt and pepper and use this to coat the squid rings before rolling them in flour. Frying in deep, hot oil. Many add garlic to the frying oil to add to the taste. Serve doused in lemon juice.

Use exactly the same technique for other chicharrones: shrimp, pork, chicken and so forth.

Chicken Tipakay

Whip the eggs and blend in half of the potato starch. Slice the chicken breast into 3 cm lengths and roll in the batter before deep frying in hot oil. Fry the garlic until golden and add the sesame, vinegar, sugar, soya sauce and tomato paste. Bring to the boil and add the remaining potato starch, made into a paste in water before doing so. Add the chicken as the sauce thickens.

Pachamanca: a traditional mixture of meats, cooked underground wrapped in leaves Patasca: a rich traditional soup-stew from the Huancayo region

A classic country delicacy from the sierra. Wash and boil the intestine for five minutes with the crushed garlic, rue, vinegar and seasoning, taking the pot off the fire and allowing it to marinade for an hour. Cut the intestine into 4 cm lengths and grill directly on charcoal unit crisp and golden. Cut the boiled potatoes in half and put the lengths between them. Some add a fleck of very hot chilli.

Chupin de Mariscos

The exact mix of shellfish is not critical, and people mix and match with what is available. Puré the tomatoes, fry up the garlic in butter and mix when cooked. Boil, and add the herbs and seasoning. Add the seafood to this in the order that they need cooking: mussels and crab first, then the squid, sea snails, clams, sea slugs, prawns and shrimps. These last need only one or two minutes at the boil, whilst the mussels need at least half an hour. Rest for some minutes and top with grated parmesan or dry queso serrano, parsley and spring onions.

Corvina a la Chorriana

Fillet, clean and dust the fish in flour mixed with salt and pepper. Deep fry them and set aside. Fry the onion, garlics and pimento, and then add the vinegar and reduce. Pour this sauce over the fish and garnish with chopped lettuce, tomato and lemon. This is normally served with plain rice.

Corvina Apanada

Mix the breadcrumbs with seasoning and sage. Use the egg to stick the breadcrumbs to the fish and fry in hot oil. Serve garnished with a salad of lettuce, coriander, tomato and parsley.

Corvina saltada

Dice and fry the potatoes Mix flour, seasoning and coat the fillets with this. Deep fry. Separately, lightly fry the onions, tomatoes and garlic segments. Add the green garlic and chopped parsley, the soya sauce and vinegar. Add lemon juice just before pouring over the fish fillets. Serve with fried potatoes. Often dressed with celery or coriander.

A ceviche or pickled fish dish Rocoto - peppers - stuffed with seafood
Croqueta del Atun

Crumble the tuna and add the grated parmesan, chopped parsley, chopped spring onions, crushed garlic, eggs, salt and pepper. Form patties (croquettas) and roll them in the breadcrumbs. Fry in hot oil and serve accompanied with a salad and plain rice.

Cuy Chactado

Soak the cuyes in salt water for several hours, withdraw and allow to dry. Dissect out the larger cuts of meat and thread the meat with garlic. Crush more garlic and rub the flesh with this. Deep fry the meat in hot oil, until the outside is crackly. The dish is normally served with potatoes and a gravy made from stock, itself prepared from the bones and lesser parts of the cuy, with rue and some corn starch to thicken it.

Steamed guinea pig Duck with beans
Duck with Peanuts

Boil and flake the potatoes with a fork. Also boil the duck and retain the stock. Cut the meat into squares. Fry the garlic, onion lightly, adding the yellow garlic at the end and the meat. Cook for a few more minutes, adding the peanuts at the end of this. Add a cup of the stock and bring tot he boil until it thickens. Serve with plain rice.

Escabeche of Chicken

Boil the chicken slowly with the onions for an hour, and then carve. Chop or squash the onions. Fry the garlics, add the vinegar and reduce. Add the boiled onion and water from the boiled chicken, thickening with cornstarch. Add seasoning and return the carved chicken to the mix before serving. This is usually accompanied by pain rice into which olives have been stirred.

Duck and fish can be prepared in exactly the same way. The onion should be well boiled before the fish is added, as the cooking time is much shorter than fowl. Red meats are usually either roast or fried rather than boiled, although boiled onions are still used.

Escabeche of chicken

Marinade the chopped liver in seasoning and vinegar for several hours. Fry up the garlics, onion and tomato, adding the herbs and cloves before frying the liver for five minutes in the mixture. Add the water and tomato paste and simmer for a further ten minutes. Serve with choclo maize, boiled and cut in rings and / or rice.

Garlic Chicken

Simmer the chicken in a closed pot for two hours. Meanwhile, soak the bread in abundant milk. After cooking - when the chicken is cooled, for convenience - carve it and save the meat. The bones and the cooking water make good stock, which you will need in a moment. Fry up the onions, garlic and pimento and, when they are blanched, add the soaked bread and stir until the mass is homogenous. Add the stock and as much milk as is needed to keep the mixture loose. Add the chicken and the white cheese, stirring until the cheese melts. Add the crushed peanuts and place on a serving disk. Some add a glass of Pisco. Garnish with chopped raw garlic, parmesan, olives, sliced boiled egg and chopped parsley. The potatoes are boiled and served separately.

Garlic Shrimps

Shell the shrimps and separate the heads. Boil these up with the chicken, finely cut, and when the chicken is cooked, separate and retain the liquid part. Meanwhile, soak the bread in some of the milk. While all this is going on, fry the garlic and chopped onion. When the onion is blanched, add the bread soaked in milk and stir vigorously. Add the herbs and seasoning, and blend in the liquid which you separated earlier. Add milk as the mixture thickens, and then the shrimp tails and the cheese. Add the crushed peanuts and serve. You can garnish with whole boiled shrimps, coriander, lettuce and so forth.


The beans are boiled with the pork until soft. The meat is removed from the pot. Separately, fry the onions and half the garlic until transparent, and add the meat to this. Brown, and then add the stock, herbs and seasoning. Reduce this and add to the beans. Fry the remaining garlic with the chopped bacon until golden and add this to the mix, stir and bring to the boil. This is normally served with white rice.

Frijoles costillar: beans with spare ribs Beans with lamb, rice, onion
Juanitos del Arroz

Fry the onion and then add water and the chicken breasts and the peanuts. Separately, cook the rice and stir this with the crushed garlic, egg yolks, salt and finely separated lard. This is placed in the banana leaves and the chicken mixture laid on top, capped with boiled egg rings and olives. The leaf is now wrapped around, making a firm parcel, and then placed in a steamer for an hour. As it is served as it exits from this it is worth

Kam Lu Wantan

This is another classical Chifa dish. As mentioned elsewhere, the wantan is a pasta parcel, usually containing meat or a spinach-and-boiled egg mixture that are essentially indistinguishable from ravioli. They are normally moist, and uncooked ravioli will have to be boiled before use. Fry the wantanes in abundant oil. Once crisp, remove and drain them and set them aside.

Dice the fried or roasted pork and cut the boiled chicken into strips. The pineapple should be boiled (really!) and diced. Toss all of these together in a saucepan with a little oil and add the peas, spring onion and pimento. When lightly cooked, add the stock, sugar, seasoning and soya sauce and bring to the boil, thickening with moistened potato starch. Pour this sauce over the wantanes and serve immediately. Often eaten with rice in which tiny bits of fried egg have been tossed.

Langostinos a la Plancha

Dehead the prawns and fry lightly with crushed garlic, lemon juice and seasoning. Set them aside for quarter of an hour. Crush and briefly reheat over a high flame to sear the prawns. Serve with rice and salad.

Langostinos al Ají

Prepare Arroz a la Peruana (as described elsewhere). Dethread the prawns (cut along the back and remove the bunch of vessels and nerves) and boil in salt water for five minutes. Group them on the rice, and keep warm. Moisten the flour with milk to a paste, and then stir into the bulk of the milk, adding seasoning. Fry garlic, add the milk mixture when golden and warm until it thickens slightly (but not to a sludge.) Pour over the prawns and serve.

Mariscos, mixed shellfish A mixed salad with feta-equivalent
Lenguado a la Chorriana

Mix seasoning and flour, then dust the sole thoroughly with this. Deep fry until crisp. Separately, fry the garlic, pimento and onions. Add white wine and a little vinegar and reduce before adding he juice of one lemon. Pour over the sole and serve with plain rice, dressed with lettuce and parsley.

The Chorriana style can be applied to a wide range of fish and fowl. It is also often seen on menus as Lomo al la Chorriana, which use steak or fillet. Lomo al Macho combines this with seafood, which is, in my view, an immodest error of judgement.

Lomo Apanado

Soak the dried beans overnight and discard the water. Boil in fresh water until soft, drain and wash twice. Flatten the steak with a mallet, dress with whipped egg and use this to create a coating of breadcrumbs. Fry in deep, hot oil. Meanwhile, boil the rice and add the beans to bring then to heat. Add the chopped garlic and the remainder of the breadcrumbs. Put this in a dish as it thickens and pour the steak over the top of it. This is often served with fried potatoes, but many may find this a degree stodgy!

Lomo Saltado

This is a quintessential coastal dish, served the length of the country and chiefly eaten at lunchtime. Cut the meat into 1cm by 3 cm strips and fry quickly in hot oil. Set aside, and cut potatoes into the same sized strips, frying them until soft but not crisp in the same oil. Remove, and fry the garlic in the same oil. Replace all the ingredients and add the chopped onion, cooking until it is translucent. Add seasoning and the herbs, the crushed garlic and the vinegar, and leave over a slow fire for ten minutes. Finally, add the sliced tomatoes and tumble until these are beginning to soften. Serve alone or with rice.

The same style can be used for chicken or fish, even molluscs (mariscos). Some of the molluscs - such as mussels - that require a long cooking time are best pre-boiled.

Mariscos Apanados

Boil the mussels for five minutes, then add the dethreaded prawns and shrimp to cook for a few minutes more. Remove and dry with a cloth. Clean and cut the squid into disks. Mix the breadcrumbs with seasoning and roll all the seafood in this before deep frying them until crisp. They are served with lemon juice and plain rice. Often dressed with celery or coriander.

Mondongo dorado

As discussed elsewhere, mondongo is the belly of an animal, usually cattle. Boil the mondongo for two hours, before withdrawing and cutting into palm-sized squares. Make a marinade of the vinegar, rue, pepper and cumin. Leave the mondongo to marinate for several hours more before deep frying in hot oil. It is usually served with boiled potatoes under a light white sauce.

Papa Fis

Boil and mash the potatoes, adding salt and pepper and finally a raw egg. Finely chop the onion and fry with the mince and crushed garlic. When cooked, add the cumin, chopped boiled egg and diced, stoned olives and finally the peas. Take the mashed potato and make a fist-sized nest, filling it with the meat sauce and closing it to make a ball. Roll in flour and then deep fry until crisp on the outside. These can be a little dry unless accompanied by a gravy, made in the conventional way.

Potato in the Huancayo manner, papas huancainos Stuffed potatoes or papas rellenos
Pepián of choclo

Boil the choclo maize, take the choclo grains off their cobs and blend them. Fry the garlic and the chopped onion. Chop the meat in small pieces and fry with the garlic, finally adding the oregano and the choclo. Top up with chicken stock and stir. Cook the resulting pepián slowly for a further ten minutes, and serve with plain rice.

The pepián form can be used with other foul, pork and veal. Adjust only the cooking time for the meat.

Pescado al Macho

Place the chopped onion, the chopped tomato and the chopped parsley in a pot, adding the segmented fillet of fish. Sprinkle with wine and add salt, pepper and crushed garlic. Place covered in a cool oven and allow to stew for 45 minutes. Mix the butter with flour and add this to the pot when the cooking is done. Stir in the tomato paste and the yellow garlic before sprinkling with breadcrumbs. Place open in a hot oven for a further 10 minutes and serve with fried potatoes or rice.

Picante de cuy

Soak the cuyes in warm water for a few hours. Add to a pot with the garlic, pepper, salt and cumin, cover and place in a slow oven. (Some prefer to charcoal roast the cuy.)

Boil the yellow potatoes, peel it and cut in disks, placing these with the cooking cuy. Fry up the green garlic, the other cloves of garlic (crushed), adding the crushed peanuts last. Thin with stock and boil, then add to the cuyes in their pot.

Picante de Cangrejo

Boil the crabs for half an hour in a small amount of water. Strain, retaining the liquid. Break up the crab bodies and withdraw as much of the meat as possible. Discard the shell and grind or blend the flesh. Fry the garlics and onion, add the crab and sir the two together, then add the stock separated above. Season, add the oregano and rest for a few minutes. Then serve with boiled potatoes.

Much the same can be done with other mariscos such as prawns, mussels and clams. Only the cooking time varies.

Quinua Atamalada

Quinua is an Andean staple grain, which comes from a plant of the Amaranthus family. Its leaves go red or purple in autumn, making the fields very conspicuous. It can be bought in Western heath food outlets, but otherwise use pollenta as a substitute. This is a stodgy dish, but favoured as a side dish with piquantes.

Boil the potatoes. Meanwhile, wash the quinua several times with cold water and boil it up with slat and pepper. It will take up most of the water, and you should add chopped tomato as this occurs. Then stir in the potato and the white cheese. Garnish with boiled eggs cut in halves and olives.

Chicken with flavoured rice Garlic chicken with plain rice
Rice with Duck

The rice is prepared A la Peruana, which see above. Slice the duck breast in medallions and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Fry them dry at a high heat in a pot until gold: typically 10-15 minutes. Drop in the garlic, the chopped onion, the crushed garlic, the pimento and the green garlic. Once these are cooked, add the oregano and the green beans. The chicha de jora - se above - is added once the beans are steamed and brought to the boil. Simmer as this thickens. Serve with the rice. The same recipe can be applied to chicken and - with sufficient cooking - turkey.

Rice with scallops

Prepare Arroz a la Peruana, as above, using this quantity of rice. Extract the scallops from their shells and soak in lemon juice. Fry the crushed garlic, the onion and the pimento. Add the scallops with its juice when the onion is translucent, followed immediately by the rice. Stir in and allow to simmer briefly before adding the (hot) cooked peas and the yellow garlic. Serve with chopped parsley.

Rice with Shellfish

This is prepared exactly in line with the preceding recipe, except that the sea snails, clams and squid are boiled briefly before adding to the mixture. The white wine is added before serving, and briefly brought to the simmer.

Rice with Shrimps

Prepare the rice without salt, drain and leave it to rest for a while. Fry the clove garlic, the finely chopped onion, the crushed garlic and the pimento. Add the shrimps and when these are also done, add the white wine and the rice. Stir until the dish acquire a uniform reddish colour. Garnish with more shrimps, parsley or peas. Often also dressed with celery or coriander.

Roast meat casserole

Roast the meat in an oven in the conventional manner. Carve and marinade in the crushed garlic, vinegar, crushed oregano, ground pepper and cumin. This will take several hours to absorb. Fry the onion and add the meat and its marinade. Cook this very slowly for around half an hour, ensuring that the meat is well wetted by stirring regularly. Dice the potatoes and carrots, and add them before cooking for a further 15-20 minutes, when the potatoes should begin to break down and absorb any surplus liquid.

Sea snails a la Piedra

Shell the snails and cut the vertically in two. Cook in hot oil for not more than three minutes and set aside. Using the same oil, fry the various forms of garlic and the chopped tomatoes. Add the pepper, the juice of one lemon, the soya sauce and the sugar and cook slowly until this thickens. Pour over the snails and garnish with lemon rings.

Seco carnecán

Boil the potatoes and flake with a fork. Fray the dried meat - biltong or similar if you are in the West - so that it is cottony in texture. Chop the guinea pig (or pork, or a game bird, if little Charley is to live another day) into four segments and boil this with the dried meat. Fry up the onion and garlic once the meats are done. Add the potatoes and the seasoning and herbs, then the chicha de jora. Bring to heat and serve.

Seco de cabrito, as below Seco de pollo, a form of chicken stew
Seco de Cabrito

Marinade the kid in the Andean beer chicha de jora, adding as well the pimento, garlic, salt and pepper. Stand overnight. Separately, fry the onion and garlic, adding the oregano when these are golden. Add the marinade and bring to the boil, adding the peas. The cooking should be short and light. Meanwhile, boil the yuca and cut in segments, and either add these to the stew of put them separately on the plate before serving. Serve with plain rice.

Seco de Chabelo

The dried meat should be teased apart with a fork before cooking. Peel and fry the green bananas, and mash them when cooked. The fry the garlics, the chopped onion and the chopped tomato, adding the cumin and seasoning last. Combine with the banana. Set aside and fry separately the dry meat, and stir it into the banana mix when it is cooked. Serve with potatoes or rice.

Virtually identical procedures will produce secos of veal, chicken and duck.

Shrimps a la Piedra

Fry the shrimp tails in hot oil. Set them aside, but using the same oil fry the tomatoes, the garlic cloves and the crushed yellow garlic. Recombine the shrimps, add the pepper, the soya sauce, the sugar and the salt to taste. Garnish with tomato rings or chopped chives.

Spare Ribs

Marinade the ribs with the vinegar, garlics, cumin, pepper and rue for several hours. Fr the ribs separately, and add the remains of the marinade when almost cooked. Normally served with boiled potatoes. Exactly the same approach is used for veal ribs.

A stew called Chanfainita Steamed chicken with chili sauce
Tallarín saltado

This is another Chifa dish. Boil the tallarín in salted water. Fry the meat until gold, add onion and finally the spring onions. Take of the heat and add soya sauce, seasoning and the drained noodles.

Tiradito of corvina

The tiradito form begins by crushing or blending together the lemon juice, the raw garlics, onion, celery and seasoning. Marinade the fish in lime juice for some hours, when the meat will appear opaque and white. Pour on the blended ingredients and serve garnished with celery leaves.

Tiradito of sole and many local fishes are common in the restaurants along the coast. A Totia is much the same, except that the meat is deep fried in batter instead of being pickled.


Soak the tripe for a day in slated water. Boil in fresh salted water, changing this at least twice. Pour off and add fresh water to cover, introducing the pork, half the bacon and seasoning before bringing to the boil once more. Fry the garlic with the remaining bacon and the onion, and add the stew when golden. Boil to reduce by a third and serve with plain rice.

Veal al Horno

Marinade the veal for an hour or two in the garlics, the pimento, the vinegar, the herbs and seasoning. Then place on a baking tray with the chopped, pre-cooked potatoes and transfer to a hot oven until cooked, basting constantly.


We include this for fun, although it is a common selva dish. Fry the tortoise meat in small pieces. Add the pimento, the red wine, the garlic, the beer and the salt, pepper and cumin. Stir well, cover and leave on a low heat. Once the meat is cooked, serve with the boiled cassava and the green banana, both cut in disks.

Steak with a cream sauce and rice Tamales, with ingredients within folded leaves