If you’re in the mood for something different but delicious for dinner, look no further than these unique Peruvian recipes.
Peru may be known for its sweeping mountain ranges and diverse cultural traditions, but the country’s food is just as compelling as its history and geography.
This is a cuisine of contradictions. Salty but sweet, spicy but mild, vegetarian but carnivorous, it’s fusion food at its finest.
With this list of 20 Peruvian delicacies, you can enjoy the true taste of South America.
From hearty stews to rich puddings, and satisfying sides to decadent desserts, it’s easy to see why Peruvians view mealtimes as sacred.
So sit down to dinner like a local and eat, enjoy, and experience!
1. Aji De Gallina (Peruvian Chicken Stew)
This rich stew is a classic dish that, much like Peru’s culture, draws from both European and South American influences.
Shredded chicken is simmered in a creamy French-style roux, thickened with bread.
Don’t be fooled by the mild broth. Adash of aji amarillo chili lends a spicy South American kick to this warming dish.
2. Causa Rellena (Peruvian Chicken Potato Salad)
Half the joy of this unique salad lies in the presentation.
It’s a colorful, towering construction made from layers of creamy potato salad and shredded chicken.
Infused with amarillo, lime juice, and cilantro, there’s plenty of flavor in this trifle-like treat.
Serve it at your next picnic or BBQ and you’ll be the talk of the neighborhood (in a good way).
3. Tacu Tacu
So good they named it twice, tacu tacu is a hearty dish of rice and beans.
This is the quintessential Peruvian side, routinely appearing on dinner tables all over the country.
It doesn’t take much to master the recipe. Just toss together rice and beans and top it with a fried egg and browned plantain.
Make this a regular weeknight fixture, and you’ll soon cook like a Peruvian pro.
4. Oven Roasted Peruvian Chicken
Whether you’re in Europe, North America, or Peru, everyone loves a good roasted bird.
South of the border, that means seasoning your chicken with herbs and spices, roasting until golden, and serving with a side of spicy pepper paste.
If it’s hard to get your hands on aji-amarillo peppers, use habanero peppers instead. It won’t be truly Peruvian, but you’ll get the idea.
5. Lomo Saltado
Lomo Saltado is a stir-fry-style platter heaped with seasoned meat, French fries, onion, tomatoes, and peppers.
This dish came to Peru via Chinese settlers. You can definitely taste the Asian influence thanks to a dash of soy sauce and vinegar.
It makes it tangy, and just the right amount of salty and sweet.
If you really want to make it authentic, serve with a side of spicy aji sauce, and switch the potato fries for yucca fries.
6. Papa Rellena (Stuffed Potatoes)
If you like your dumplings crisp and crunchy with a meaty, juicy center then you’re right.
You’ll also need to make papa rellena as soon as possible.
Similar to an empanada, these are a whole meal packed into a single delicious nugget.
Mashed potato is wrapped around a spicy beef filling and then baked or fried until golden.
Kids, especially, will love this recipe. Serve it with ketchup, and little eaters will be in heaven.
7. Peruvian Fried Rice
Also known as arroz chaufa, Peruvian fried rice is another import from Chinese Peruvians who came to the country in the 1960s.
It’s similar to the takeout-style rice you know and love, but with a few key differences.
For one thing, it contains hot dogs and shredded chicken.
Toss some veggies in the mix, and you’ll have a tasty, satisfying, one-pot meal.
8. Yucca Fries
Yucca is a starchy root vegetable, much like a potato, that’s native to Peru, and. one of the best ways to eat it is fried.
Prep the yucca by peeling it, cutting it into matchsticks, and boiling for about 20 minutes until soft.
Drain and dry it, then add it to hot oil and let it bubble until perfectly crisp.
You can do these fries in a deep pan, or throw them into the air fryer. If you’re trying to avoid fried foods, just bake them.
You may lose some of the crunch, but they’ll still satisfy any fry-related cravings.
Trust me, these delicious golden brown fries are instantly addictive. One bite of their crunchy, salty perfection and you’ll be hooked.
9. Papa a la Huancaina
This classic dish is usually served as an appetizer, but it would also make a unique breakfast or brunch.
Thick slices of potato are smothered in cheesy, spicy Huancaina sauce.
It’s then served with hard-boiled eggs, black olives, and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.
There’s a lot going on here – salty, savory, creamy, and spicy. If you’re looking to take your tastebuds on an adventure, this is the dish for you!
10. Peruvian Green Sauce (Aji Verde)
One of Peru’s most popular condiments, you’ll find a jar of this spicy sauce in almost every Peruvian restaurant and home.
Made with cilantro, hot pepper, garlic, and lime, it’s an enticing explosion of tastes.
You can also mix this one up and play around with the basic recipe.
Add lime for extra zest, stir in cheese to balance out the heat with some creamy dairy, and add more peppers to kick up the spice.
Make this classic sauce your own!
11. Chicha Morada
Chicha morada is a refreshing and fruity, non-alcoholic cocktail.
The name translates to “purple drink,” and it is indeed an eye-catching beverage.
Made from dried purple corn, this maroon-colored drink is basically a superfood smoothie packed with antioxidants and vitamins.
It tastes delicately sweet, a little earthy, and (thanks to a touch of cinnamon) slightly spicy.
12. Peruvian Quinoa Soup
This South American soup is soon to become your favorite winter warmer.
A rich broth of fluffy quinoa, tender chunks of sweet potato, and fresh veggies, this is a nourishing meal that’ll keep the cold out.
The recipe calls for chicken stock, but just replace it with vegetable stock if you’re cooking for vegetarians.
13. Peruvian Chicken Soup
Every culture has its own version of nourishing, healing chicken soup.
Traditionally served as a remedy for colds, flu, and anything that ails, this is classic comfort food that transcends borders.
The Peruvian version is loaded with antioxidant-rich cilantro, aromatic garlic, and tangy lime.
Spicy and flavorful, it’s a soup for rainy days, cold nights, and any time you need a boost.
14. Salsa Huancaína
Huancaina is a spicy, cheese sauce that’s dolloped over a lot of Peruvian meals.
It’s made from the country’s legendary hot spice, the aji amarillo chile pepper, along with queso cheese and saltine crackers – which gives it a smooth, velvety thickness.
Serve chilled or at room temperature, and with plenty of tortilla chips or yucca fries.
15. Purple Corn Pudding
This vibrant one-pot dessert is an instant hit with kids thanks to its fun color and scrumptiously sweet taste.
A smooth blend of purple corn, dried fruits, cinnamon, and cloves, it’s the perfect marriage of spicy and sweet.
Purple corn pudding is usually served at birthdays, holidays and other celebrations in Peru.
But why wait for a special occasion? Make a big pot tonight and introduce the family to this perfect pudding.
16. Frejoles Colados
The Peruvians have a gift for making pudding out of almost any ingredient.
Here, black beans get the dessert treatment in a smooth, creamy porridge-like dish.
Pureed and mixed with sugar, condensed milk, and cinnamon, beans become a bowl of spicy, sweet yumminess.
Frejoles colados may be considered dessert, but I’d keep a bowl around for breakfast too.
17. Ranafote (Peruvian Bread Pudding)
If you have stale bread hanging around the kitchen like a guest who’s outstayed their welcome, you’ve got Peruvian pudding.
This versatile recipe can be enjoyed for dessert, or served up as a sweet stuffing.
It’s made from crunchy bread, raisins, brown sugar, apple, and nuts.
Here’s the interesting part – one of the key ingredients is a mature, salty cheese.
Yes, cheese for dessert. It’s not as weird as you’d think.
The tangy hit of a sharp cheese like asiago adds a little savory to all that sweetness, highlighting the best of both flavors.
18. Peruvian Hot Chocolate
Peru has a lot of microclimates thanks to its varied topography. In parts of the country it gets cold – the snowy, wintery type of cold.
Hence this traditional recipe for warming, spicy hot chocolate that keeps the chill out and the yum in.
This recipe uses a bitter Peruvian cocoa, which is high in antioxidants and has a rich, toasted, cacao flavor.
Mixed with creamy dairy, spices, and a smidge of instant coffee, this one will put some fire in your belly on chilly mornings and bitter nights.
19. Chilcano de Maracuya (A Pisco and Passionfruit Cocktail)
Pisco is the liquor of Peru. Made from Peruvian grapes, it’s an amber-colored brandy from the coastal regions.
Here, Pisco meets passionfruit pulp, ginger ale, and a dash of bitters. And the results are nothing short of magical.
This refreshing, thirst-quenching cocktail is ideal for summery afternoons.
Take a sip, and you’ll soon be dreaming of tropical beaches and lush rainforests.
20. Arroz Con Leche
This is rice pudding, South-American style.
The perfect blend of cinnamon, sugar, and silky Spanish rice, this is a luxuriously creamy dish.
To really nail this recipe, bear in mind a few tips.
Always use whole milk, use a cinnamon stick rather than powder, don’t skip the salt, and take your time.
Patience is key to this pudding. Add the milk and stir slowly to avoid any lumps.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from years of cooking, it’s that you can’t rush deliciousness.
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