November 30, 2013

Peruvian cuisine is a combination of various international influences

Peruvian cuisine is a combination of various international influences and indigenous Incan traditions. Traditionally, Peru has three main staples: corn, potatoes and chili peppers. However, immigrants from Japan, Germany, Italy, China and Spain have contributed to the development of the Peruvian palate by bringing their recipes and ingredients.The Spanish are particularly notable for the introduction of rice, wheat, beef, pork and chicken. Oftentimes these immigrants would be unable to acquire ingredients for the original recipes so they would have to use native Peruvian items. The evolution of Peru's edibles also varies with the location. For example the Spanish have had the most influence on the coastal areas. Ceviche is one highly-regarded product of Spanish involvement.

Ceviche is a popular spanish dish among Peruvian people. It is a simple dish that allows for customization and experimentation. It typically consists of white fish and shellfish of various types. Corvina is the traditional fish that is used for ceviche. The meat is traditionally marinated with lime juice, however various citrus fruit juices are used, such as orange and lemon juice. Chili pepper is traditionally added but other spices and herbs can be included. Sweet potatoes are usually served as a side dish. There is no actual cooking, which is one reason why this dish is so simple. The citrus juices tenderize the meat, thereby resulting in soft flavor-filled meat. After the marinating process, the resulting liquid is known to locals as leche de Tigre. Peruvians believe that this liquid is a remedy for hangovers as well as an aphrodisiac. This dish is also considered an important part of Peru's heritage to the extent that there is even a Peruvian holiday dedicated to this basic yet appetizing meal. The influence of Japanese techniques, such as in sashimi preparation, has also yielded a cousin to the ceviche dish:Tiradito. Tiradito differs in the way the fish is cut.

Since potatoes are a Peruvian staple, it's only logical that there would be an intriguing dish made out of the tuber. This particular dish is called Causa. The interesting aspect of this dish is its shape. It is a terrine dish which means that it is forcibly shaped; in this case, it is shaped cylindrically. The Causa is also layered with potato, avocado and chicken salad (or a salad of choice). The most attractive aspect of Causa is its bright coloration. Yellow potatoes are mixed with yellow chili paste to create a vibrant sun-like result. Avocados add a complement green color, which enhances the overall look of the dish. The aesthetics of the Causa distinguish it from other Peruvian dishes. The final result resembles a visual work of art, as opposed to some dishes which have to be tasted to be appreciated. One interesting fact is that the terrine-style of food preparation comes from France, increasing the number of countries to have an influence on Peru.

Peru has unique ways of preparing food. It is reasonable to say that these worldwide influences have affected the creativity of Peruvians.

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