Monday, 2 February 2015

Meal 42. Peruvian feast

Tonight is the night of the Peruvian feast. Once again, it is a feast, as my hostess, Valeria, has made so many dishes it is impossible to choose one as the "main dish". Besides Valeria, her Dutch partner Geert and me, two other friends have been invited to make all the cooking worthwile. Aparently, Valeria has been at work since the early morning!

We start out with an appetizer of deep-fried yuca with salsa amarilla, a sauce made with yellow bell peppers, cheese, milk and fine cracker crumbs. I used to love havind yuca frita as a snack when I lived in Costa Rica, as a kind of Latino french fries, with ketchup. The yellow sauce is new to me.
I have to admit that before this meal, my only association with Peruvian food was: "Guinea pigs!" It seems like all tourists come back from Peru with not only photos of the Machu Picchu, but of fried guinea pig on a plate as well. A locally popular type of meat, the little animals are easy to raise next to the house. Often women are responsable, and sometimes children as well.

But when I ask Valeria, she exclaims:"Cuy?!" No, too much trouble to get cuy in the Netherlands, and besides, there are more than enough other great dishes she would love to make.
After the fried yuca, we are seated around the large dinner table and dig into the wonderful ceviche. Valeria's version of this dish involves nice, big, juicy chunks of fish marinated in lemon juice, with finely chopped red onions, celery, coriander and hot pepper.
Then come the papas rellenas, potato patties filled with ground meat and raisins. I love the combination of meat with the sweetness of the raisins, also found in Chilean empanadas (see meal 13). You can see Valeria preparing the patties at right.

Easy to make yourself is the salad of hard boiled potatoes and eggs, olives and yellow sauce, otherwise known as papas a la huancaina (at left). This yellow sauce is versatile!

We also have fried calamares and fish with a dip, rice with chicken, beef with vegetables (lomo saltado), and as a grand finale the dessert. One of Valeria's first presents to Geert was a Peruvian cookbook, and now he knows how to make fried picarones, a sweet ring-shaped pumpkin pastry served with syrup. Yummy!

We discuss how they met, while he was travelling in Peru. Valeria has traveled extensively in her own country as well, and they met on the road. Their photos make me want to step on the plane to Peru! What a beautiful country. Plus, now I know there'll be more than enough good things to eat, not just guinea pigs!

Check the recipe if you want to learn how to make picarones

The original post about this meal is from March 23, 2007

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