The Ambassador of the Republic of Peru, Jorge Castañeda, introduced four new Peruvian cookbooks at a special event hosted at the Embassy of Peru in Delhi on 27 April. The evening was dedicated to celebrating Peruvian cuisine, known the world over for its range of flavours and gourmet-grade uniqueness.
The purpose of launching these four Peruvian cookbooks, according to the event’s organisers, was to introduce Indians to the diversity of Peruvian cuisine. But theorising about food is one thing, and putting those theories in practice is another. So the launch event was followed by a cooking demonstration and dinner session, the better to give visitors a real taste of Peruvian delicacies.
The four cookbooks feature the choicest of traditional Peruvian dishes, many of them based on staple ingredients like rice, corn and potato. We are given a sense of how the cuisine has evolved over the years, becoming one of the best and most celebrated in the world. According to embassy officials, 10 restaurants out of the top 50 in the world are known for serving Peruvian specialties.
“The Embassy of Peru is pleased to showcase our exciting journey of being one the most awarded cuisines of the world through this cookbook launch. These cookbooks include some of our emblematic Peruvian dishes using kitchen staples like potatoes, corn, rice, fish and poultry products”, says Luis M. Cabello, Economic and Commercial Counselor of Embassy of Peru in India.
World Travel Awards, an international hospitality forum, has recognised Peru as the “World’s Best Culinary Destination” for six consecutive years. This recognition helped place Peru over and above other international gastronomic giants like France, Italy and even India.
Peru’s cuisine actually has a lot of similarities with Indian food. Not exactly in terms of the taste, but in terms of the variety of ingredients used—corn, rice, spices, lemon. Another unique aspect of this South American genre of cooking is its inventiveness. Not only do the dishes come in great variety, the ingredients themselves are available in numerous types. For example, Peru has more than 4,000 varieties of potatoes. One of the cookbooks launched in Delhi is entirely dedicated to “Potato in Peruvian Cuisine”.
At the cooking demonstration on Friday, the chef presented three delicious dishes which were made using Indian ingredients. The first of these was Ceviche, made with chunks of raw fish, marinated in freshly squeezed lime or bitter orange juice, with sliced onions, chili peppers, salt and pepper. This was followed by Peruvian Quinoa Salad, a healthy vegetable salad with incredibly nutritional ingredients that will pump you up in no time. Quinoa is a fairly new type of grain and has become all the rage in Peru.
The third dish was La Causa, an elite Peruvian delicacy made with a combination of yellow potato, ground yellow aji pepper and lemon juice.
After the demonstration, the best part of the event came when we were asked to taste the food. Seven delicious Peruvian dishes were up for sampling, followed by dessert. The food was appetising to look at, and flavourful on the palate. Authentic Peruvian food goes best with Pisco, Peru’s national drink, which contains sugar syrup and lime.
“Taking into account that Peru has been considered the World´s Best Culinary Destination by the World Travel Awards for the last six consecutive years, the diffusion of Peruvian recipes—food, desserts and beverages in India is a key initiative for the promotion of the rich Peruvian gastronomy by the Embassy of Peru”, Jorge Castañeda, Ambassador of the Republic of Peru, tells Guardian 20.
Peruvian cuisine is also considered one of the healthiest in the world. Organic ingredients are central to their food philosophy, and superfoods are becoming a national obsession. These Peruvian cookbooks, available for sale at the Embassy of Peru Delhi, open up a new gastronomic world for Indian foodies.