Scientist believe the potato began it’s career in food culture between 2000 and 3000 BC and continues today with many different colors, flavors, sizes and textures. Scientists also think all potatoes have originated from the Andes in Peru; well over 100 cultivators can be found in just one valley. Some of the oldest archeological finds were located around Lake Titicaca.
The Papa Perricholi (white potato) is now one of the more popular potatoes sold in Peruvian markets. As this particular potato doesn’t turn brown after peeling, it’s ideal uses are for commercial kitchens and restaurants.
In Peru the potatos is a staple food. With so many varieties, some potatoes have been used for haute cuisine. They are used often for eating, but also ceremonial uses such as weddings, baptisms and funerals as well. Some are even made into what’s known as potato alcohol.
One of the weekend trips vor Spanish students in Cusco is a trip to the Potatoe Park. The “Peruvian Potato Park” is made up of 6 different Quechua communities and covers much land. This organization is dedicated to the conservation of all different kinds of potatoes; especially the more traditional kinds which aren’t cultivated as much in today’s market. In this park – located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, next to Pisac – one can meet with farmers, cooks and also enjoy the food in the restaurat on site, called “Papamanka” which overlooks this massive park.
If you’d like to try out your own Peruvian potato recipe at home, here’s something you might enjoy! This Papa Rellena (Stuffed potato) is one of the dishees that our Spanish in Cusco prepare during the Free Peruvian cooking classes.
Papa Rellena (stuffed potato)
2.2 lbs Papa Perricholi, Salt, Pepper, Flour, 4 eggs (1 fresh, 3 hard boiled) 6 tablespoons oil, 1/2 lb ground beef, 1 cup chopped onion, 1 garlic clove minced, 1 teaspoon paprika, 6 seedless olives (cut in 1/4th), 1/2 diced tomatoes, 1 teaspoon minced parsley and 1 teaspoon minced cilantro
This dish is typically served with white rice and Peruvian “aji”: an onion creole sauce.
If you are interested in knowing more about the booming Peruvian cuisine, next to free cooking classes, AMAUTA also offers the program Spanish classes & Peruvian Cuisine, which combines your Spanish classes with a unique and delicious cooking experience.