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March 01, 2023 4 min read

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 ofherbs 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 ratherwarm 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, sincePeruvian 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, checkhere.
  • Chincho: Also a Peruvian Herb, it has a characteristic flavor and smell perfect for the preparation of soups and infusions.
    • Muña: Muña is a mint-like herb native to the Andes region of Peru. It has a refreshing, menthol-like flavor and is commonly used in teas and infusions.
    • Sacha culantro: Sacha culantro is a leafy herb commonly used in Peruvian stews and soups. It has a very strong, pungent flavor similar to cilantro but a slightly sweeter taste.
    • Huira huira: Huira huira is a type of wild marjoram commonly used in Peruvian cooking. It has a strong, spicy flavor and is used in dishes such as carapulcra (a potato and meat stew) and adobo (a marinade for meat).
    • Huacapurana:It is a type of tree bark commonly used in Peruvian cooking as a spice. It has a spicy, woody flavor and is used in dishes such as ají de lengua (a beef tongue dish) and chupe de camarones (a shrimp chowder).
    • Paico:It is a herb commonly used in Peruvian cooking as a flavoring for soups and stews. It has a slightly bitter, licorice-like flavor and is also used in tea infusions.

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    These are just few of the many herbs that are used in Peruvian cuisine. If you are interested in trying out some Peruvian recipes, we recommend experimenting with these herbs to create new and exciting flavors in your cooking.

    Many of these herbs can be found at specialty food stores or online retailers specializing in Peruvian cuisine. By incorporating Peruvian herbs into your cooking, you can add a unique and flavorful twist to your dishes, leaving your taste buds wanting more.


    Where can I find Peruvian herbs?

    Many Peruvian herbs can be found at specialty food stores or online retailers specializing in Peruvian cuisine. You can also try growing some of these herbs at home if you have access to the seeds or plants.

    What are some other herbs commonly used in Peruvian cuisine?

    In addition to the herbs listed above, Peruvian cuisine uses herbs such as parsley, oregano, and thyme.

    Can Peruvian herbs be used in other types of cuisine?

    Yes, many of these herbs can also be used in other types of cuisine. For example, aji amarillo can add flavor and heat to Mexican and Southwestern dishes.

    Are Peruvian herbs healthy?

    Many Peruvian herbs are believed to have health benefits. For example, muña is said to aid digestion, and huacatay is said to have anti-inflammatory properties.

    How should Peruvian herbs be stored?

    Peruvian herbs should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Some herbs can also be stored in the refrigerator or freezer to extend their shelf life.

    Are Peruvian herbs challenging to find outside of Peru?

    Some Peruvian herbs can be difficult to find outside of Peru, but many specialty food stores and online retailers carry a variety of Peruvian herbs and spices. If you cannot find a specific herb, you can also try substituting a similar herb or spice.

    What are some popular Peruvian dishes that feature these herbs?

    Some popular Peruvian dishes that feature these herbs include ceviche (with culantro), ají de gallina (with huacatay), and lomo saltado (with aji amarillo).