The varied Peruvian Food is well known for the fresh and great flavors their dishes have, however you may have encountered a Peruvian recipe and found different kinds of herbs with weird names that you have never seen. Knowledge is power, that is why, in order to learn how to use these herbs, we will make a brief introduction to the herbs used in the Peruvian gastronomy, and the role they have in Peruvian Food.
Let’s start with some basic knowledge!
First of all we must consider that Peru is a country from South America, located near the Equator, which means, it is a country with a rather warm climate and without actually seasons more than rainy season and droughts. That is a great factor to consider when talking about the herbs used in the gastronomy, since this climate facilitates the growth of plants at any moment of the year and facilitates the introduction of plants from other countries. This will play an important role, since Peruvian Food is the result of the combination of different cuisines.
Use of the herbs in the Peruvian Cuisine
Usually, the herbs used in Peruvian food are characterized for their strong smell and fresh flavor. On a daily basis they are used as part of the sauces preparation in some Peruvian dishes and for enhancing the flavors. Some special dishes depend a lot on the taste acquired from the different herbs, such as the pachamanca soup, a national dish of Peru.
With this on mind, we shall now get to know the 5 most used herbs in the Peruvian Food:
- Parsley (Perejil): A rather common herb in most countries all around the globe, it is used to elevate the flavor on different dishes such as meat, chicken, fishes, soups and salads. It is usually chopped really small and added to the preparation when it is almost ready or as a decoration on the plate.
- Coriander (Culantro): Also known as cilantro or pebre is one of the most used ingredients in the different Peruvian recipes. Thanks to its great aroma and fresh taste it is used in form of paste or just chopped for the preparation of sauces or salads. It is used for giving many dishes their characteristic green color, such as the Green Rice with Seafood (Arroz verde con mariscos)
- Basil (Albahaca): Known for its flavor and aroma, it has been introduced in Peru and used in different recipes. It can be used for preparing sauces such as pesto, which is used in many preparations in the Peruvian Food. It can be also used for giving the dish a great aroma.
- Huacatay: It is an originally Peruvian herb, used as a condiment in the elaboration of different sauces and soups. Usually for the preparations, only the leaves are used, forming a thick paste similar to the pesto made with the basil. If you want to get to know more of this herb paste, check here.
Chincho: Also a Peruvian Herb, it has a characteristic flavor and smell perfect for the preparation of soups and infusions. It is part of the ingredients used in the preparation of the pachamanca, a national dish from Peru.