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PERU: GOURMET PARADISE
 
   

:: PERUVIAN CORN

Is one of the most widely-consumed foodstuffs in Peruvian cuisine. It has been planted in Peru since at least 1200 BC. The ancient Peruvian farmers achieved a degree of sophistication in the selection and creation of new varieties which adapted to varying terrains and climates.

El maiz

Sixteenth-century Spanish chronicler Bernabé Cobo wrote that in ancient Peru one could find corn (known locally as choclo) in every color under the sun: white, yellow, purple, black, red and mixed. Today, farmers along the Peruvian coast, highlands and jungle grow more than 55 varieties of corn, more than anywhere else on Earth.

Native historian Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, in his Royal Commentaries of the Incas, wrote in detail on eating habits in colonial times. In those days, corn was a key part of nutritional needs, and the locals called it Sara, eating it roasted or boiled in water. On major occasions, they milled the kernels to bake a type of bread called tanta or humita. For solemn events such as the Festival of the Sun (Inti Raymi), they would bake breadrolls called zancu. They roasted the corn and called cancha (the predecessor of popcorn), the same as it is called today.

Variedades de  maíz Today, Peru features regional varieties on ways to prepare delicious dishes based on corn. In northern Peru, the locals are particularly fond of pepian, a stew based on grated corn kernels mixed with onion, garlic and the chilli pepper which takes on a particularly heightened flavor when cooked with turkey. Arequipa inhabitants prepare a dish call soltero (beans, corn, onion and dressing made from fresh cheese). In the jungle, one of the most typical dishes, inchicapi, is made from chicken cooked in a stew made of roasted corn and peanuts. Desserts include the sanguito (made from yellow cornflour, cooking fat, raisins and a sugarcane molasses called chancaca).

Peruvian Corn is also used to make cornmash pastries called tamales and humitas, which can come in a wide range of colors and flavors (green, brown and yellow, sweet and savory). Peruvian corn is also the main ingredient of the chicha morada (drink made from purple corn) or chicha de jora (fermented corn beer) and the sweet purple corn jelly called mazamorra, for special occasions.

Tamales

 

 



 
 
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