One surprise ingredient plays an important role in Peruvian Cuisine: potatoes. While many may think the tubular vegetable fall into the bland category of foods, the common root is anything but boring when used in Peruvian food.
Peruvians lay claim to this root. Archaeological records indicate the tubular vegetable was farmed as far back as 10,000 years ago in the High Andes. Another interesting fact is the sheer number of varieties, more than 3,800 types, available in Peru. While they do grow wild, those varieties aren’t good food as they typically contain toxins and are bitter. Peruvians use only the farmed versions for food.
The Incas and Spanish in South America used the starch as a staple in many of their meals. History states European sailors brought it back to England and Spain around 1570 on their return trips from Peru. People didn’t want to use it at first out of suspicion, but the lowly vegetable became a common European staple over the next 100 years.
Common varieties used in Peruvian food are white, yellow, sweet and red skinned. However, there are other varieties unknown to many such as the small cocktail, purple and black versions.
Popular dishes include Papa a la Huancaina, where the vegetables is boiled and covered in a spicy, cheesy sauce and Papa Rellena, a deep-fried stuffed version that includes spices and meat. Some are also skewered with different meats and sold as street food.
The tubular root is also used in soups, stews and in Pachamanca, a meal of meat, starches and vegetables cooked in an ancient underground method.
Guests at La Costanera Restaurant, located near San Francisco, find the potato as interesting as ever. At this Peruvian restaurant, the vegetable is used in both authentic recipes and creative fusion dishes creating perfect Peruvian flavors. You will never look at a potato the same way again!