Sunday, June 26, 2011

The perfect dessert in Lima: Mazamorra Morada

Whether you are just walking around in the streets in Lima doing some tourism or shopping for souvenirs, or if you go to eat some of our delicious typical dishes in one of the many restaurants in town you should not leave Lima without trying a delicious Mazamorra Morada!

So what is this dessert about? The mazamorra morada is made of purple corn mixed with some other fruits like pineapple, this is cooked into a pudding-like texture with potato flour and it is spiced with cinnamon and cloves. Its name could be read as “purple pudding” because in Peru “mazamorra” is a special kind of pudding made of potato flour and can be made of many fruits, but the most popular is the mazamorra morada which is made of the purple corn.

This dessert cand be found in some of the most refined gourmet restaurants in Lima but is also very popular as a “street dessert”, and you can find it for example in carts in the principal squares around town.  Because it is easy to make, the Mazamorra Morada is one of the Peruvian desserts that is typically prepared at home.
Mazamorra morada is also popular in October in Lima because in this month there are celebrations all around town for the “Señor de los Milagros” or “Lord if the Miracles”, these are religious celebrations that include long processions, and the mazamorra is always present in this celebrations.

And if you just loved the Mazamorra and you want to take this delicious dessert to your home country now you can because in all the supermarkets you can find the packets to make at home when you only have to mix it with water and you can have your own Mazamorra Morada anywhere in the world!!

So now you now… don’t have any excuse for not trying these great dessert when you come to Peru! Enjoy!

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Delight from mother earth: Pachamanca!

Pachamanca means "food from the earth" or alternatively “pot from earth”, and it is precisely in the earth or in the ground where the food for the Pachamanca is cooked. The cooking is based in hot rocks that are put in a round hole, which form a kind of a big pot underneath the ground. The food is wrapped in banana leaves so that it doesn’t get dirty.

This dish is prepared mainly in the mountains of Peru, but because of its popularity it can also be found in many cities, prepared in different country restaurants. These restaurants normally have a hand-made oven made in the ground, and the first step in the preparation is to heat the rocks with woods. At the same time, while the oven is getting warm, all the meats are macerated with species and wrapped in banana leaves. Also, some potatoes, sweet potatoes and corn are also wrapped to be cooked in the “oven”.

Once all the food is in the oven, it is all covered with more banana leaves to concentrate the heat, and from there, it takes from 50 to 90 minutes before the food is ready to eat! Once the food is ready, there is mostly a small ceremony (based on the tradition from pre-Inca times) where a leader thanks the mother earth for the food…….and after that all the cookers and helpers start to take out the food and unwrap it.

The food is typically served in the table in wooden pots if it is a familiar meal, but if it is in a restaurant, each person is served with one portion of each of the elements of the Pachamanca: chicken, pork, beef, potato, corn, sweet potato, beans, etc!

Also, in the table there is typically some cream chili, as it is a usual in Peru food, for those who wish to eat some of the Pachamanca with it.

So…..if you are coming to Peru, especially to some city in the mountains like Cuzco, Junin, Huaraz or Ancash you have to try the traditional Pachamanca! If that is not the case and you are going to be in a city in the coast, you only have to ask for a country restaurant there it is served so that you don’t miss it!