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Peruvian Food – Main Dishes

Peruvian Food – Main Dishes


Food Peruvian has around 500 main typical dishes nowadays. The cuisine of Peru is the result of a fusion with Spanish cuisine, some customs brought by slaves from sub-Saharan Africa and Chinese, Japanese and Italian immigrants who were the fall of the nineteenth century.

Peruvian food has around 500 typical dishes nowadays. The cuisine of Peru is the result of a fusion with Spanish cuisine, some customs brought by slaves from sub-Saharan Africa and Chinese, Japanese and Italian immigrants who arrived during the 19th century.

Next, you have an index with all the points that we will discuss in this article.

Index of the article – main dishes

Typical Peruvian food: all the main dishes

1. Arroz a la chiclayana
2. Peruvian chaufa rice
3. Rice with Peruvian chicken
4. Cau Cau
5. Cause the Lima
6. Peruvian ceviche
7. Choritos a la chalaca
8. Shrimp soup
9. Stuffed empanadas
10. Marinade
11. Peruvian Juane
12. Lomo saltado
13. Toasted field
14. Pachamanca
15. Huancaina’s style potato
16. Parihuela
17. Hot piqueo
18. Stuffed hot pepper
19. Carapulcra and chinchana dry soup
20. Tiradito de pescado
21. Peruvian Tamale
22. Tacu tacu


1.- Arroz a la chiclayana

The name of the chiclayana comes from the city where this dish was created: Chiclayo, northwest of Peru. Chiclayo is one of the most popular cities to enjoy Peruvian food in all its essence.

Specifically, the recipe for rice in chiclayana can be made with chicken, duck or any other type of meat. Among the essential ingredients is the grated pumpkin loche, green peas, chicha de jora or black beer and cilantro.

The zapallo loche is a pre-Columbian product indigenous to the area and is usually used in a large number of dishes. It is cultivated in the valleys of Túcume, Íllimo, Mórrope, Ferreñafe, Pítipo, Monsefú and Pimentel. It is estimated that its use in the diet goes back to the first civilizations that inhabited this area.


2.- Peruvian chaufa rice

The recipe for rice chaufa is among the essentials of Peruvian cuisine. It consists of fried rice mixed with various types of meat and soy sauce. In fact, the dish is based on Chinese cuisine, since it was brought to the country by Chinese chefs who settled in the country from the nineteenth century.

The Peruvians began to refer to the Cantonese food that was being introduced in the country under the term of chifa, origin of the Chaufa denomination that gives name to this dish of rice. In short, chaufa rice is the result of the fusion between Chinese and Peruvian food that took place at that time.

Legend has it that this delicious dish began to acquire fame from the moment when a high Chinese official visited Peru and was entertained by the authorities with a plate of rice chaufa. The official liked this dish, noting that it was an exquisite Peruvian dish, when in fact it had been the work of the Chinese chefs who had migrated to Peru.


3.- Rice with Peruvian chicken

As simple as the name may seem, rice with chicken is a traditional Peruvian recipe. Of green aspect, it is a very tasty dish due to the variety of ingredients that it includes. Thus, it is seasoned with a bramble of onions, which greatly enhances the flavor.

The rice with chicken that is cooked in Peru has many similarities with the famous Valencian paella, one of the quintessential symbols of Spanish cuisine.

  • Ecuador, there is the so-called yellow rice, a very original dish in which the color is achieved through the use of achiote.
  • Colombia, it is known as rice with frayed chicken.
  • Peru, coriander is added to this international dish, one of the most used ingredients in Peruvian food.
  • addition, cilantro dyes the plate of a slightly greenish color, which makes the difference with respect to rice with chicken that is consumed in other countries.


4.- Cau Cau

This dish of so original denomination is another one of the main ones of the Peruvian gastronomy and it consists of a mixture of chicken tripe with yellow potatoes. The potatoes attract attention because of the way they are cut, that is, in small squares. They are cooked with yellow pepper, parsley, onion and garlic.

Chicken Mondongo is the name that is used in many Spanish-American countries to refer to cow intestines. In Spain, they are known as “tripe”, while in other Latin American countries names such as guatita, pancita, menudo or mishque tripe are used.

There are several theories to explain the name of the dish. One is the one that says that it comes from the Quechua words (smallness) or acacau (hot).

For others, it is due to nineteenth-century Chinese immigrants, who said caucau to indicate that the ingredients had to be cut into very small portions. Others simply consider that cau is an adaptation of the English word cow, that is, cow.


5.- Cause the Lima

The Peruvian dish known as the cause of the Lima or simply cause is another of the most representative of Peruvian cuisine. Its origin predates the Columbian era, since it was formerly prepared in Peru using yellow potatoes, kneading it and mixing it with crushed chili.

Currently, to prepare the Lima cause the following ingredients are needed: Peruvian yellow potato, chili, lettuce, lemon, boiled egg, avocado and black olives. However, there are those who add other ingredients (eg mayonnaise or tuna) or obviate some of those mentioned above, since it is a dish that supports several variants.

The name of the case comes from the Quechua language, specifically from the term kausay, whose literal meaning is necessary food or sustenance. This name was also given to the yellow potato.

According to another theory, the name is due to the era of the viceroyalty (XVI-XIX centuries), when the liberator José de San Martín asked to support “the cause” by buying this dish in order to cover the expenses of the military campaign. It is estimated that it was at this time when the set was left with the name of cause.


6.- Peruvian ceviche

Ceviche, also written cebiche, seviche or sebiche (all forms accepted by the RAE), is a dish originally from Peru, but whose great success has crossed borders and is currently typical in almost all Latin American coastal countries of the Pacific, such as Colombia , Chile, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua …

In Peru, ceviche is not merely a typical dish, but a sign of national identity that, in fact, has been declared a Cultural Heritage of the Nation. Although it is consumed throughout the country, it is especially popular in the north. It is traditionally served in a restaurant known as cevichería.

The basic ingredients of any dish of Peruvian ceviche are the sliced ​​fish, onion and piurano lemon juice from the Tamborgrande Valley. In relation to that last ingredient, it is said that the ceviche is original from the city of Piura.

For the dressing several citrus fruits are used to taste, although the most common are the lemon piurano and the lime acid. However, in Ancient Peru, specifically after the arrival of the first Spanish, were added the sour orange and onion, two typical ingredients of Mediterranean cuisine. Chopped cilantro and a sweet potato or cassava garnish are also added.


7.- Choritos a la chalaca

Choro is the common name given to an edible mollusk of the family of mussels native to South America, where it can be found mostly on the coasts of Peru and Chile. In this last country, it is known as Cholga or Cholgua.

The mussels to the chalaca are prepared with raw choros, chopped tomato and onion, lemon juice and grains of boiled corn. This is the traditional recipe of Callao, a coastal city located on the central-western coast of Peru, where fish and seafood are essential foods for its inhabitants.

As you can see in the photo, they are prepared in the own shell of the choros, which are previously macerated with lemon juice. It is also used, as in many other Peruvian dishes, ají or rocoto minced in squares. Some recipes also include the use of corn (tender corn).

8.- Shrimp soup

The chupe de camarones is one of the most emblematic dishes of Peruvian gastronomy. One of the advantages of this delicious dish is that it can be served as a first or second course, since it is an abundant meal that can be eaten by many diners.

Broadly speaking, the shrimp suck is a fish soup, but you must use the necessary ingredients in the right amount as dictated by the original recipe to make it a real Peruvian shrimp suck.

The ingredients include fresh shrimp (including the shells, since the broth is made with them), Andean potatoes, a little white cheese, corn, garlic, tomato, onion, rice, eggs, cilantro, a pinch of oregano and a little of Peruvian yellow pepper.


9.- Stuffed empanadas

Baked Peruvian empanadas are prepared with a more easily crumbled dough, which is filled with a stew based on meat, vegetables and various spices, such as paprika, cumin, yellow hot pepper, etc. The most commonly used meats are beef and chicken

Regarding vegetables, the most common are potatoes, coriander, onion and corn grains. Depending on who prepares, these vegetables may vary, as the recipe for stuffed empanadas is very open to the imagination.

The cooking method is baked and the shape that is often given to the empanadas is also very varied. They can be square, rectangular, triangular, rounded, in the form of a half moon … However, the most viewed are the latter two.

There are some variants that include fillers such as chili pepper, salted pork loin or pork rinds, although these ingredients are not part of the original Peruvian filled pie recipe, but are the result of the arrival of immigrants from several parts of the world to Peru.


10.- Marinade

The Peruvian pickle is a dish that can be consumed both in family gatherings and during the week, mainly because it can be consumed cold or hot and be equally delicious. Its basic ingredients are pickled or yellow chili, lots of vinegar and onion.

Usually, the pickle is prepared with chicken. In addition, other ingredients are added such as garlic, ground panca pepper, yellow pepper in strips, cumin, olive oil, boiled eggs, botija olives, oregano, red vinegar, sweet potatoes and lettuce.

For the result to be optimal and according to the traditional Peruvian recipe, the first thing to do is season the chicken with salt and pepper, then sancocharlo in water with vinegar and salt, drain the chicken and finally fry it in oil.


11.- Peruvian Juane

The juane or juan is one of the most representative dishes of the cuisine of the Peruvian jungle, specifically the city of Santiago and Moyobamba. It is especially typical during the festival of San Juan, which is celebrated every June 24.

There are several versions of the juane, although the original is made from cassava, rice and chicken. However, other versions are the traditional juan, the special, the chonta, waspa juane, nina juane or sara juane, among others.

It is called juane or juan in honor of San Juan Bautista and it is estimated that it is a dish of pre-Columbian origin, although it was assigned this name from the arrival of the Spaniards to Inca lands, when the Christian religion began to expand among the native people.

The history of the juane is not clear, but it is estimated that it was a food habitually prepared for travelers, since it has the advantage of being stored for long periods of time without decomposing or altering the quality of food.


12.- Lomo saltado

The salted loin is a dish that dates back to the 19th century, when it was known by various names (eg, beef tenderloin, salted tenderloin or lomito de chorrillana). This dish, like chaufa rice, is very influenced by the Chinese-Cantonese cuisine.

This influence of oriental cuisine is demonstrated above all because it is cooked in a pan, which is why it is called salted tenderloin. However, there are variants that have been emerging over the years, especially in the use of ingredients.

Thus, the traditional recipe incorporates ingredients such as beef, salt, cumin, pepper, green chili, garlic, red or white vinegar, potatoes, oil, tomato and parsley. Sometimes, it is added sillao and pisco, the latter recognized as one of the most emblematic drinks of Peru.


13.- Toasted field

The toasted field, also known as the mountain range or court, is nothing but toasted corn. It is a dish that is usually included in every Peruvian garrison, especially in the area of ​​the Peruvian Andes.

Its preparation is very simple: just heat a clay pot or a pan, add a little butter or oil and fry them with a little salt. The beans, which should be yellow corn, should be removed without dinner until they have a golden appearance.

The court is especially used to accompany dishes such as ceviche or pork rinds. Its consumption in the Peruvian Andes dates from the 15th century, given that they are already mentioned in the Quechua-Spanish Dictionary of González Holguín, published in 1608.


14.- Pachamanca

Pachamanca is another of the most traditional dishes of Peru.

It is an ancestral custom that must be prepared by cooking beef, pork, chicken and guinea pig in the heat of pre-heated stones. The meats are pre-seasoned with ingredients such as chincho, cumin, chili, huacatay, pepper and various spices.

Its name “pachamanca” comes from the Quechua language, where pacha means earth and manka is equivalent to pot, so literally means pot of earth and this is the reason why it must be cooked as explained above.

Currently, pachamanca is also prepared in a pot, so it is common to call it pachamanca a la olla. Various vegetables are added to the various meats used, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, yuccas, corn and plantain, among others. You also usually add cheese and humitas.


15.- Huancaina’s style potato

Potato a la huancaína is one of the most popular dishes of the Peruvian coast and highlands, and in general throughout Peru. However, it is important to be clear that the dish is not originally from Huancayo, as it might seem by name, but from Lima, the capital of Peru.

It is a very simple dish, although the only part that could present a higher degree of difficulty is the preparation of the sauce, which is the distinctive element of this dish. Thus, for its preparation fresh cheese is used, which is mixed with oil, salt, yellow pepper and milk. It is important that all these ingredients are well blended so that no lumps are present.

It is also important to remove the skin of the chili, since in this way we avoid the appearance of yellow chili peel. The best way to avoid this is by boiling the chili previously in water for a few seconds.

As for the presentation, as can be seen in the photo, a leaf of lettuce is usually placed on the base of the dish, on top of which are added slices of parboiled potato. Finally, hard-boiled egg is added in slices and olives. It can be taken as main course or second.


16.- Parihuela

As in the case of chupe, the parihuela is a very consumed soup on the coast of Peru. Its ingredients are diverse seafood and fish, which is why it is popularly known as “parihuela levanta muertos”, since it is considered to be a great source of nutrients.

The most frequent types of fish in this dish are those mentioned below: grouper, corvina or cojinova and machete. These fish are used specifically because their mixture with different seafood produces this tasty soup so popular in Peruvian cuisine.

In fact, the litter and its resulting effect on who consumes it is considered an aphrodisiac, mainly due to its high phosphorus content. In fact, there are those who consider that it is very similar to bouillabaisse or bouillabaisse, one of the typical dishes of France, specifically of the Provence region.


17.- Hot piqueo

The hot piqueo is, in fact, a very popular aperitif in Peru, where the best can be consumed in Lima, its capital. It is a tradition to serve it in an oval fountain and normally the same fountain is intended for two diners.

It is a tradition to add two small shells with salt and alcohol to burn, which is lit at the moment when piqueo is served. Almost all the ingredients included in the piqueo are coated and usually consist of fish such as squid, octopus and croaker.

It is also common to add mushrooms stuffed with medium-sized shrimp, to which a touch of grated Parmesan cheese and white wine is added. Finally, they are au gratin in the oven and placed at random in different parts of the piqueo dish.


18.- Stuffed hot pepper

Stuffed rocoto is a dish of Arequipa origin for which it is used, as its name suggests, rocoto. It is a fruit similar to chili and the size of an apple whose taste is very spicy, although it is somewhat sweeter than chili.

Due to the use of rocoto, this is a dish considered spicy. Rocotos are stuffed with ground beef, peas, olives and fresh cheese. All this is seasoned with cumin and chopped parsley. Once this step is taken, put everything in the oven and take it hot.

In Arequipa, Lima and most Peruvian restaurants, the stuffed rocoto is served with roasted potatoes, which have been baked together with the rocoto. In some versions, the traditional potato cake is added, for which white potatoes, tumbay or cottage cheese are used.


19.- Carapulcra and chinchana dry soup

The name of Chinchana is due to the fact that the origin of this dish is the province of Chincha, in the Department of Ica. It is not surprising that this varied dish comes from this area of ​​Peru, since it is one of the places with more miscegenation in the country.

This dish is the result of a mixture of ingredients from Chinese, Italian and Spanish cuisine, among others. It is a kind of soup whose origin goes back to the wedding banquets, where the parents of the groom and the bride competed to be the ones who best entertained the couple. Finally, it was decided to mix everything in one dish.

Thus, this dish is a symbol of celebration and celebration for which hen is used, noodle type noodles, chopped onion, cumin, ground achiote, chopped tomato without skin, basil, parsley and olive oil. To make the chinchana carapulcra, you need pork, potato tomasa, ground panca chili, freshly roasted peanuts and parboiled yucca.


20.-Tiradito de pescado

The tiradito is made with fresh raw fish cooked with lemon juice. In many areas of Peru is considered a cousin of ceviche because of the variety of similarities that exist between them. The most common fish for the tiradito are: pejerrey, cojinova, palmerita or parakeet.

However, the main difference with ceviche is that tiradito does not carry onions and the fish is cut into thin slices. In fact, the way to cut them is very similar to the sashimi of typical Japanese food or the carpaccio of Italian cuisine. In addition, tiradito is also eaten cold.

Before filleting the fish, the first thing to do is to marinate the lemon juice with coriander, salt, pepper, garlic and parsley. It is also important to prepare a chili cream, which will give the Peruvian touch to the dish. The chili mixture should be mixed with the lemon juice to finally pour the resulting mixture on the raw fish fillets.


21.- Peruvian Tamale

The tamale is a dish of Amerindian origin that is prepared in practically all the countries of Latin America. It usually consists of a corn dough stuffed with meat, vegetables, chilies, sauces, fruit … All this is wrapped in corn cob leaves, bijao, avocado, maguey or even aluminum foil and cooked in water or steam.

In particular, the tamal of Peru is prepared based on corn, although the recipe may vary according to the area of ​​Peru where it is prepared. Thus, in the Peruvian coast it is stuffed with beef, chicken or pork and it is added egg, olives or peanuts. Northerners add cilantro, which gives it a very characteristic green color. In the Sierra, the recipe is similar to that of the pachamanca.

The result of these variations by region is the existence of several types of tamales: yellow corn wrapped in banana leaves, with white corn or mote, green tamales from Piura, dry corn flour or even sweets (known as humitas). The size can also vary by zones. Thus, in the southern area they are usually quite large sizes, with a weight of up to 2 kg.


22.- Tacu tacu

Tacu-tacu is one of the typical dishes of Peru whose origin is due to Creole food. According to historians, the black slaves took advantage of the remaining food of other dishes, hence its name, which comes from the Quechua term takuy, which means to mix one thing with the other.

The traditional recipe indicates that it must be prepared with cooked rice and vegetables from the previous day. All this must be mixed to form a homogeneous mass, which will be heated in a pan. The most common is that the beans include beans, lentils and pallares. Finally, the dough is fried to make it crispy.

There are several specialties, such as:

  • beans tacu-tacu
  • and tacu – tacu de pallares
  • Tacu – tacu with a sheet (accompanied by breaded steak or milanese)
  • and tacu – tacu stuffed with seafood
  • tacu tacu bathed in seafood sauce, etc.

The preparation of this dish is a common practice among Afro-descendants of various regions of America. Thus, there are very similar dishes in different countries of Latin America, such as the famous one

  • Gallo pinto in Nicaragua
  • The congri in Cuba
  • Feijoada in Brazilian gastronomy
  • Moorish rice among the typical dishes of the Dominican Republic.

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