#5 Date selected: 23/2/16 Date completed: 26/2/16
Country selected: Peru
Dining Selection: COOKED OWN
What was on the menu:
- Lomo Saltado (Sauteed Beef Tenderloin)
- Confetti Quinoa
- Pisco Sour
Tuesday 23rd February 2016 8.38pm
Peru! I’m a bit excited about this one! For a start it is the first time the challenge has ventured away from Africa and the Middle East. I also categorically LOVE the South American food that I’ve tried before. I’ve been known to cook a Peruvian chicken on the BBQ before so hopefully I can find something just as tasty to add to my repertoire.
In previous posts I’ve taken to adding a few general facts from Wikipedia about each country I’ve selected. This has mostly been because I’ve had little to no idea of where they were, let alone any of their history or culture. Peru is different. I’m sure I could even point it out fairly quickly on a map if I tried! I do like the ‘tidbits’ I’ve discovered about each country however so I think I might continue this for the time being.
When I think of Peru, I think of The Andes and the Inca. I also think coffee & chocolate but I’m pretty sure that goes for almost every South American country for me! A few facts I didn’t know are:
- Peru is the 5th most populous country in South America
- The poverty level sits around 25.8%
- The country has made leaps and bounds in improving the water and sanitation sector. They’ve increased water coverage from 30% in 1980 to 85% in 2010.
- For centuries, the country has had different nationalities decide to call Peru home. As a result it has formed a multiethnic nation that includes Amerindians, Europeans, Africans & Asians
- The diverse culture also influences Peruvian dishes and the cuisine blends Spanish and Amerindian food with influences from Chinese, African, Arab, Italian and Japanese cooking.
Friday 26th February 2016, 8.06pm
If Peru is anything like it’s food, then book me a ticket! I usually only manage a small amount of each dish I make. Instead of leaving it and eating later as I usually would, I had not one, but two full servings. This one was nothing sort of delicious!
There were plenty of recipe options online for Peru so I spent quite a while deciding what I felt like. I settled on a 2 course dish with a cocktail.
Lomo Saltado is what I’ve dubbed the ‘Steak and Chips’ of Peru. Its English translation on the recipe is Sauteed Beef Tenderlion – a fairly bland name. The dish itself is anything but however. The beef is marinated in soy sauce. Tomato, yellow sweet chilli and red onion in balsamic. They’re stirfried with more soy and some red wine vinegar and then mixed with freshly made French fries, lime and coriander (or cilantro for those in the Northern Hemisphere). It’s to die for!
It’s traditionally served with rice but practically every dish I’ve done thus far has contained a rice element and I’m getting a little weary of it. I was craving a healthier side dish. Luckily for me Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-WAH) is very common in Peru and I was able to find a recipe for ‘Confetti Quinoa.’ It’s simple and very tasty. It also goes very well with Peruvian Steak and Chips. In addition, it’s incredibly healthy and vegan-friendly so will go down a treat with any of your hipster friends.
Peru happens to be the first country I’ve selected (that I’m aware of anyway) that has a national cocktail. Being an Aussie, who are generally pretty partial to a nip of alcohol from time to time), I leaped at the chance to give this a try!
A Pisco sour is ice, lemon juice, sugar syrup, egg white and Pisco alcohol, blended and topped with a couple of drops of Angostura bitters. It took me a little while to find some Pisco – and even then I had to opt for the Chilean version. It was worth it though. The Pisco Sour is wonderfully refreshing and goes beautifully with the rest of the meal. Be careful though – it’s surprisingly potent and will creep on you very quickly!
This winning combination is definitely going on my list of recipes to try again. But for now I think I’m going to go mix myself another Pisco Sour!
Before I do, however, I had better pick the next country from the jar…..