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In Peru, doña pepa and canch are two favorite snack foods
“When most foreigners think of Peruvian food, images of fresh ingredients and exotic produce usually come to mind," says Terra Hall, a multimedia journalist and travel writer based in Lima
In Peru, doña pepa and canch are two favorite snack foods.
“When most foreigners think of Peruvian food, images of fresh ingredients and exotic produce usually come to mind," says Terra Hall, a multimedia journalist and travel writer based in Lima.
"I'm talking banana and mango and avocado, and ceviche, of course. And while locals eat reasonably healthy, they also like their comfort foods in the form of junk food. Doña Pepa is to Peru to what Oreo is to America. These chocolate-covered cookies are doused in sprinkles. The purists eat them straight out of the package, though they taste just as amazing crushed and mixed in with ice cream."
Also popular is Canch.
“It’s like popcorn without the pop," according to Hall. "The corn kernels are dried and then tossed in a frying pan with oil and salt. They are crunchy and salty and oh-so-delicious.” Authentic Peruvian restaurants leave these out on the table while you wait for your food and top off the dish when you run low.
Recipe Ideas for Peruvian Food and Drinks
Peru has an amazing cuisine, one that has evolved from both local and immigrant traditions. Foods that were prepared by ancient civilizations are still enjoyed today, while typical Peruvian dishes also benefit from European, African, and Asian influences. Peru's geography yields diverse ingredients: abundant seafood from the coast, tropical fruits from the jungle, and unusual varieties of grains and potatoes from the Andes.
Peruvian cuisine is recognized around the world as one of the best in South America. Try it and see for yourself.
What Is Peruvian Food – Peru Food Facts
Before we dig into some mouth-watering Peruvian dishes, let’s take a look at some fascinating Peru food facts.
As with most countries colonized in the past, Peruvian cuisine is a perfect reflection of the countries history. You will find that most Peruvian recipes are a fusion of native foods and immigrant cuisine.
Many influences come from Asia, West Africa, and Europe.
The staples of a typical Peruvian food diet are:
- And a lot of meat (from Peruvian chicken to Guinea Pigs!)
If you go into any restaurant, first they will typically serve a classic Peruvian soup or stew. This soup will usually contain quinoa, corn, vegetables, and meat.
If soup isn’t the order of the day, they may serve Peruvian roasted corn kernels with a variety of creamy and spicy sauces, even including soy sauce.
After, they will serve your main course. This usually contains some kind of rice and potatoes. And don’t forget the meat such as Peruvian chicken or seafood!
Then they will give you a small dessert. Peruvian cuisine is more famous for its main meals than its desserts. But they do have some sweet specialties that are to die for.
There's something about the bold contrast and colour of Peruvian food that emphasises the joy of eating. Seeing bright purple potato on a plate was a significant shock to the system for many of us in the UK, and we weren't always prepared for the flavours that followed. Contemporary Peruvian cooking blends indigenous influences with those from European and Asian immigrants, and the result is as unique and delicious as it looks.
A few chefs have been instrumental in bringing Peruvian cuisine to the fore in this country, but none more so than Robert Ortiz and Martin Morales. If you're looking for an easy way into Peruvian food, Martin's recipes are a good place to start. HisPurple potato, tuna and rocoto pepper 'causa' is a tasty Peruvian twist on tuna tartare, but take a look at his Conejo al palo – Peruvian roast rabbit on a stick and Bistec escabechado – escabeche steak too – both delicious Peruvian dishes. Robert Ortiz's recipes are a little more technical, but absolutely worth the effort. His Chicken pachamanca with yellow cuzco corn and Pisco-infused prunes is a classic Peruvian dish, and if you really want a challenge, have a go at his Textures of corn dish – inspired by the thirty-six different varieties of corn in Peru.
If none of these grab your fancy, there are plenty more options just below. Scroll down and see if anything in our full collection of Peruvian recipes tickles your fancy.
15 Old-School Junk Food Snacks Recreated for Healthyish Adults
Let&rsquos face it: Junk food is everywhere. From vending machines to airports to convenience stores, you can find an enticing selection of chemically processed packaged products wherever you look. We all may love a good bag of Cool Ranch Doritos or Hostess cupcakes, but most of those snacks are made with tons of crap. *Have you peeked at the lists of ingredients?*
Instead of fighting the urge to hit B4 on a vending machine or needing to run far away from your grocer&rsquos cookie aisle, opt for copycat recipes that are just as tasty but without all the additives. From homemade strawberry Pop-Tarts to vegan Ding Dongs, your lunchbox is about to get an epic revamp without hurting your healthy strides.
1. Gluten-Free Rainbow Twinkies
Twinkies were a lunchbox classic back in the day. And while sometimes we like to get back to our roots by enjoying an old treat, these sweet sponge cakes are riddled with a laundry list of processed additives. But this recipe gives the golden treat a healthy makeover so you don&rsquot have to give up the habit. Its cake is made with simple ingredients like honey, unsweetened applesauce, Greek yogurt, vanilla almond milk, eggs, and vanilla. As for the creamy filling, it&rsquos made with only Greek yogurt and light strawberry cream cheese. Don&rsquot forget the rainbow sprinkles to keep these festive.
2. Paleo Strawberry Pop Tarts
Pop-Tarts are basically frosted cookies with a sweet filling that we somehow got away with snacking on for breakfast. As adults, we know we should skip the sugary rectangles. But instead of living a Pop-Tart-free life, let&rsquos make a baked pastry at home with healthier ingredients. This Paleo and gluten-free version calls for a crust made of almond flour, tapioca flour, maple sugar, butter, an egg, and a homemade chia seed jam filling. As for the glaze, you&rsquoll need cashew or almond milk and vanilla extract and powdered sugar.
3. Quinoa Pizza Bites
This pizza appetizer is a close cousin to those beloved bite-size pizza bagels&mdashonly with way less carbs. Stock up on quinoa, Parmesan, mozzarella, mini pepperonis, and some seasonings and you can make your pizza night in a little bit healthier (no pun intended).
4. Twix Bars
Layered sticks of chocolate, caramel, and biscuits? Yes, please.Gluten-free, vegan, and with only six ingredients, this recipe totally shows up the packaged candy bar original. Be sure to grab coconut oil, coconut flour, maple syrup, almond butter, and cocoa powder at the store to get these Twix-like treats on the table.
5. Strawberry Fruit Roll-Ups
You never stop wanting fruit roll-ups&mdashyou just realize you should probably stop eating that much sugar in one snack. This recipe will bring the roll-up back to your life because it&rsquos basically just pureéd and dehydrated strawberries. If strawberries aren&rsquot your thing, you can swap in pretty much any fruit, like mangos, peaches, or raspberries.
Doritos may be one of a kind, but we can&rsquot enjoy them on a regular basis as health-conscious adults. Though you may never reach the same finger-licking synthetic cheese flavor with anything you make yourself, this recipe comes crazy close to that perfection. Try the blogger&rsquos take on the three popular seasonings: spicy taco, nacho cheese, or cool ranch. You&rsquoll be using simple shelf items like nutritional yeast and tons of spices for that kick of flavor on the corn tortilla base.
7. Gluten-Free Ding Dong
Have a craving for a Ding Dong you can&rsquot quite kick? Opt for a homemade cake recipe instead&mdashwith an impressive ganache coating. All you&rsquoll need is butter, eggs, sour cream, oil, sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, and Bob&rsquos Red Mill 1-to-1 gluten-free flour. These treats are loaded with a simple cream filling too.
8. Peanut Butter Cups
Though it&rsquos tempting to reach for that orange Reese&rsquos packaging at the market, make these easy low-carb, low-sugar, vegan, and gluten-free peanut butter cups with only four ingredients: dark chocolate, creamy natural peanut butter, pure maple syrup, and coconut flour. If you&rsquove got 10 minutes to spare, then you have time to make these.
9. Healthy Dunkaroos Dip
Lunchboxes in the 1990s were nothing without those kangaroo-shaped cookies with sprinkled-filled icing. The good news is you can bring this healthier version to your desk lunch now. All you need to whip up this fun snack is two cans of coconut milk, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and sprinkles. Tip: Be sure to fold in sprinkles without over-mixing or your sprinkles will bleed into the dip, turning it one color.
10. Healthier Oreos
As a kid, you could argue that Oreos were the greatest things ever invented. Dunking a sleeve of the black and white cookies into a big glass of milk will always be iconic, but turning over to the nutrition label is alarming given the main ingredient is just sugar. Instead, this batch of homemade Oreos is made with whole grains, healthy fats, and natural sugars. For the chocolate cookies portion, you&rsquoll need ingredients like wheat flour, unsweetened dark cocoa powder, coconut sugar, organic butter, vanilla extract, and egg. For that creamy inside, pick up coconut butter or vegan cream cheese, organic butter, almond milk, vanilla extract, flour, liquid stevia, powdered xylitol, and almond milk. It&rsquos so worth it, we swear.
11. Low-Carb Cheez-Its
Unfortunately, the big chunk of cheese pictured on the front of Cheez-It boxes is just for show&mdashyup, it ain&rsquot real cheese. Next time the craving hits, snack on this homemade copycat recipe in lieu of a bag. All you need is almond flour, extra sharp cheddar, mozzarella, cream cheese, and an egg. You&rsquoll be baking these low-carb, keto-friendly, and gluten-free crackers right in the oven.
12. Homemade Hostess Cupcake
Another Hostess staple only without the long list of questionable additives. You&rsquoll have to do minimal shopping to achieve this dessert, as you probably have most things on the list in your cabinet: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, egg, sugar, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, milk, and cocoa powder.
13. Vegan Powdered Donuts
These are the same yellow cake donuts covered in powdered sugar&mdashminus all the junk and chemicals. For the heavenly batter, you&rsquoll need flour, vegan butter, vanilla extract, any nondairy milk, and applesauce. Bonus: These donuts achieve a rich, buttery perfection packaged stuff can&rsquot.
14. Homemade Mallomars
Same marshmallow-loaded makeup without the high-fructose corn syrup and vague artificial flavor. These use graham crackers as acrunchy base, homemade vegan marshmallow fluff, and melted chocolate chips as the top layer. When it&rsquos too cold to make s&rsquomores outside, make these instead.
15. Healthier Keebler Fudge Stripe Cookies
You can probably recognize these fudge-striped cookies from a mile away. Instead of wondering what&rsquos in those shortbread-like circular treats, whip up an easy, healthier batch at home. We&rsquore totally obsessed with the idea of having orange zest in our cookies that are then drizzled in chocolate. Try it, you&rsquoll like it.
#MeatlessMondays – 22 Peruvian Dishes Vegetarians Must Try
I’ve been a vegetarian for most of my life, which is no easy endeavor if you grew up in a place like Peru. My country’s fabulous gastronomy is famous for its variety, its freshness, and unique flavors, but it certainly is not famous for being a particularly vegetarian-friendly cuisine. However, with so many years of experience in the art of fishing for vegetarian options within our traditional dishes, (and of creating them where I couldn’t find them), I don’t feel like I have to live a life deprived of Peruvian food just because I don’t eat meat.
Here are a few dishes that vegetarians can enjoy, although meat-eaters are welcome to try them too!
Vegetarian pastel de choclo (corn pudding), pastel de acelga (chard tart), and pastel de alcachofa (artichoke tart)
Menestrón (Peruvian minestrone), and Chupe de ollucos (Andean tuber soup)
Junk Food in Peru - Recipes
Prepare the dippers: Bake tater tots, pigs in a blanket, and chicken nuggets according to package directions. Toast bread, if making. Add a few to skewers for dipping, either multiple items on one skewer or separate skewers of each individual dipper.
Make the fondue: Combine all the cheeses in a large bowl and toss thoroughly with the cornstarch. Rub the inside of a medium (about 4-quart) saucepan or our donabe-style claypot with the cut sides of the garlic discard clove. (This adds the flavor of garlic to the fondue without bits of garlic inside, making it super smooth!) Over medium-low heat, bring the wine, salt, dry mustard powder and cayenne to a low simmer in the garlic-rubbed pot.
A little at a time, whisk in the cheeses until the fondue is smooth, making sure each handful of cheese is thoroughly melted before adding the next batch, decreasing the heat as needed to prevent the fondue from getting too hot. (If the fondue gets too hot it will turn gritty or break, so be sure to watch your flame to keep it as low as possible!)
Transfer the fondue to a fondue pot (if you have one) or just leave it on the stove on the lowest possible heat setting, stirring occasionally. Serve with dippers of your choice and eat immediately. If your fondue hardens, just reheat over a low flame.
- 12 Yukon Gold potatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, or to taste
- 1 onion, sliced
- 6 chile peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 1 pound cream cheese, softened
- 1 pound queso fresco (Mexican fresh cheese), crumbled
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ⅓ cup evaporated milk
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, halved lengthwise
- 8 leaves lettuce
- 8 black olives, pitted and halved
Place potatoes into a large pot and cover with salted water bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool slightly.
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook onion until tender, about 10 minutes.
Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Boil chile peppers until soft, about 5 minutes. Run chiles under cold water to cool until cool enough to handle remove and discard skins.
Blend onion, chile peppers, cheese, vegetable oil, garlic, salt, and pepper in a blender until smooth. Stream evaporated milk into the blended mixture while continuing to blend until a creamy sauce is achieved.
Arrange 1 lettuce leaf onto each of 8 plates. Halve potatoes and arrange 3 halves onto each lettuce leaf. Drizzle creamy sauce over the potatoes. Top each with an egg half and two black olive halves.
Picarones are very good for a quick morning meal, especially if you have a sweet tooth. These are thin, ring-shaped pieces of sweet potato and squash.
They are served with a syrup that is made from solidified molasses, or chancaca. These can be quite addicting, although you probably don’t want to eat them every single day if you are watching your weight.
Foodie Underground: A Penchant for Gourmet Junk Food
It’s always good to leave your bubble. In Portland, Oregon, my bubble is food related and consists of farmers markets, New Seasons and buying quinoa in bulk. But for the past few weeks, I’ve been on the road, which has necessitated numerous gas station stops. Entering a gas station in general is rare for me, and the experience is much like sitting down to watch an hour of regular television and getting completely sucked in by the commercials. A sensory overload of sorts.
These interstate gas stations and mini marts offer much of what you’d expect: bad coffee, beef jerky sticks and an assortment of chips and high fructose corn syrup packed candies. In fact, I certainly don’t expect to find examples of fine cuisine at trucker stops, but the amount of strange food products above and beyond the standard is mind-blowing. Consider Tum-E Yummies, a 100% fake drink that’s the color of a neon set of Crayolas, a gummi spread of Mexican inspired food and a two pound bucket of cheese balls. How can it be that people really eat this stuff?
But it’s not just late night road trippers in need of a sugary fix. Even in a world of organic and local, junk food is all the rage. In fact, at a recent monthly supper club with my usual gathering of like-minded foodies, there was a plate full of crab bruschetta. Lovely. Until I overheard the maker of said bruschetta say, “You know what I rolled the crab in? Ranch Pringles.” I cringed.
You can go so far as to call it “Gourmet Junk Food.” Twinkie Napoleon, Mountain Dew Jelly and Fruit S’Mores – there are plenty of recipes waiting to go around, making the simple fried onion, green bean and mushroom soup casserole look tame. These days even lollipops have celebrity status and you can send all kinds of junk food gift baskets to your nearest and dearest. No matter what your personal take on the trend, from five star restaurants to books, being a junk foodie, for better or for worse, has never been so hip.
Andrew Freeman & Co.’s annual Trend List for 2011 was spot on when it announced that “Munchies are moving to the forefront as chefs reinvent junk food in gourmet ways.” The list cites Cereal Milk Ice Cream at Momofuku Milk Bar in New York City as one of the examples of culinary destinations taking a stab at classing it down, but there are certainly many more restaurants and chic bistros out there incorporating junking their gourmet, like the Junk Food Platter at Simon L.A and deep fried Twinkies spotted in Honolulu. In Philadelphia you can even take a Junk Food Tour, which touts a First Class tour and dining experience.
Incorporating bad foods into classier creations isn’t just happening out and about at finer restaurants. The real gourmet junk food movement is happening right at home. Just look at Mini-Mart a la Carte. This book probably has its greatest following in the hipster crowd, but bad food is unfortunately back, from Vienna sausage pigs in a blanket to Sardines Rockefeller. I’ve been drawn to perusing this book on several occasions simply because of mere disgust reading the recipes are akin to staring at a traffic accident, when you know you should look away but you can’t.
And while Mini-Mart à la Carte certainly doesn’t attempt to label itself as a cookbook for foodies, Junk Foodie does exactly that, taking advantage of the word with which so many of us use to define ourselves. A cookbook for “the lowbrow gourmand,” it’s all about taking office snacks and turning them into something classier, like Oreos and Hot Tamales blended together to make an Aztec Coffee Cake. The author, Emilie Baltz, is quick to remind us that nothing in her book is good for us, but that somewhere in between the aisles of jelly beans and potato chips, we can find inspiration for new creations.
Need some real inspiration? Head on over to Fancy Fast Food, a blog devoted to fast food makeovers that look almost like they could be served with a white starched napkin and your finest silver. Except for the fact that some of these photos, which turn combo meals like Popeye’s Fried Chicken into Spicy Chicken Sushi, might induce some gag reflexes.
Foods and desserts that incorporate some of the worst ingredients that the food industry has to offer? Bring your bismuth.
Of course, no matter how conscious we are about the negative effects of these junk foods that we’re cooking with, we’re still popularizing products that shouldn’t have a place in a healthy food society. I doubt you’ll see Alice Waters making a homegrown, organic spinach salad sprinkled with crumbled Doritos anytime soon.
Editor’s note: This is the latest installment of Anna Brones’s weekly column at EcoSalon, Foodie Underground, discovering what’s new and different in the underground food movement, from supper clubs to mini markets to the culinary avant garde.
Images: Junk Foodie, Anna Brones, Anna Brones, Chronicle Books, Junk Foodie