Peruvian cuisine has been called the original fusion food, and in a country with a five hundred year long history of immigration it is not hard to understand why. First the Spanish Conquistadors brought their culinary ideas to bear on the local produce, followed by the input, at various times in history, of African, Chinese and Japanese cooking techniques, not to mention the recent influence of French and Italian gastronomy.
The primary ingredients that form the raw materials of Peruvian cooking include one of the most famous exports from the New World, potatoes (of which some 4000 varieties are currently grown in Peru). Another of the famous Peruvian foods is the super healthy vegetarian staple quinoa, which is the seed from the Chenopodium quinoa plant, a native of the Andes. In cooking, quinoa is prepared like a whole grain (for more information on quinoa, try looking here: http://vegetarian.about.com/od/glossary/g/whatisquinoa.htm ).
Avocado is another staple of Peruvian cuisine which is rich in beneficial nutrients. As well as providing some 18 essential amino acids - in a much more bio-available form than steak – avocados also offer beneficial fats that boost levels of the ‘good’ cholesterol, HDL (which can help prevent diabetes). Avocados also pack loads of carotenoids, which among other benefits promote eye health and the immune system, as well as fatty acids that can help prevent heart disease.
Ceviche is a classic Peruvian dish that demonstrates the marriage of fresh and healthy food with simple and effective flavour combinations and cooking techniques. Ceviche also displays those international culinary influences, with a distinct nod to Japanese sushi and staples of the Mediterranean diet. And the recipe? Raw fish or other seafood marinated lime or lemon juice, along with olive oil and other spices.
When I do finally make it over to Peru, it sounds like I will be eating lots of good healthy food. Avocados and quinoa? I'm in! Look good to you?
Do you have a place you've wanted to visit since a child? Except for wanting to go to Peru due to being brainwashed at school, another place I've always wanted to go is India: The Little Princess was my favourite film!