June 10, 2015

Peruvian Ingredients: Purple Corn


Unique taste and a intense dark purple tone. This variety of corn grows in the Andean region of South America, and it's been used in Peruvian cuisine for more than two thousand years. In fact, it was called "moro sara" in the Inca Empire. Today is still one of the most iconic ingredients in Perú. Purple corn is the main ingredient of the refreshing "Chicha Morada" and the traditional "Mazamorra".

Purple corn (Zea Mays) is rich in anthocyanins and therefore has some nutritional benefits that are worth mentioning. It' has antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties, and it also helps controlling hypertension.

7 Facts About Purple Corn:

1. "Chicha Morada" is the most traditional drink in the country, and it's made with Purple Corn, sugar, water, pineapple and cinnamon.

2.  Some ancient cultures in South America - before the Incas - were already preparing drinks with Purple Corn.

3. It's also used as colorant by many industries.

4. It inspired the creation of Chicha Sour, a sweet twist of Pisco Sour.

5. The are more than six variants in Peru.

6. Some researches suggest it could help treat colon cancer.

7. Coca Cola Company attempted to create a chica flavored soda in Peru, with negative results.


June 03, 2015

Recipe: "Arroz Con Pollo" (Green Rice With Chicken)


Green and unique. Everybody loves "Arroz con Pollo" in Peru. Sure, the obvious combination of chicken and rice is not tied exclusively to this country. Actually it has mediterranean roots. But this version is quite different and certainly delicious.

People in Lima prepare this dish really often every week, because it's simple, tastes really good and the ingredients are easy to get anywhere in the country. Adding corn or even dress the rice with the popular "huancaina" sauce are even greater variations.

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken in pieces
  • 1 onion diced in really small parts
  • 1 smashed garlic
  • 1 spoon of aji amarillo
  • 1 diced carrot
  • 1 cup of coriander
  • 3 cups of rice
  • 1 portion of beans
  • 1 sliced pepper

Preparation:

Remove the skin and marinate the chicken with salt, garlic and aji amarillo for 50 minutes. Brown the chicken with oil for three minutes, using a pot. Put the chicken aside for a while, and use the same pot to cook the onion, carrot, aji amarillo and coriander. Cook the mix for ten minutes under moderate heat, and then add pepper and beans and the chicken again, for 25 minutes.

Finally, add the rice to the pot and cook it all for 15 more minutes. Add some water if necessary. You can serve with onion and tomato salad.