Cooking class – A truly authentic experience in Lima
Lima is considered the world capital of Peruvian gastronomy, with luxury restaurants that have been awarded Michelin stars and unique recipes that all Peruvians we have met are proud of. Because we spent a short time in Peru, we chose to discover the creativity of traditional cuisine by taking part in a cooking class, an authentic experience in the capital on the Pacific Coast.
We chose Haku Tours, an NGO that helps the people living in the border areas of Lima, called “shanty towns”. We spent a few hours together, during which time we learned many secrets of Peruvian cuisine, cooked in traditional clay pots, nibbled on snacks that we made together, ate fruits we had never heard of before, and drank a delicious Chicha Morada whose main ingredient is purple corn.
Our favorite Guided Tours
The class started in the morning when we met our guide in the reception of the hotel where we stayed in Miraflores. A perfect culinary experience begins with choosing the right ingredients, so we had the opportunity to first go to the local market, where our chef was waiting for us to go shopping.
Walking through the market we discovered a very colorful place, with farmers coming from all over the country, eager to sell their products. Due to its different geographical regions, Peruvian agriculture is very rich and interesting, that reflecting on the culinary diversity. There are many varieties of fruits and vegetables found only in Peru, cereals considered “superfood” and many local cocoa or coffee plantations.
Tips & Tricks
In Peru, there are almost 4000 different types of potatoes and each can be cooked according to a different recipe. Also, corn is grown throughout the country ( in coastal, mountains, and jungle regions) and is found in over 55 varieties, more than anywhere in the world.
In the market, the locals greeted us with a smile on their faces while the sellers, proud of their products, insisted on convincing us to taste their fresh fruits, vegetables, or homemade drinks. So we spent 45 minutes just tasting fruits ( lucuma and cherimoya became immediately our favorites) and choosing the ingredients needed for what we were going to cook.
From the traditional recipes that we could prepare, we chose for the main course Lomo Saltado which consists of stir-fried beef with onions, tomatoes, and aji ( a hot pepper sauce, but not spicy), and as garnish french fries and rice. For starter, we prepared Papa Rellena, meaning mashed potatoes stuffed with chicken breast and vegetables, served with Salsa Criolla.
The whole day spent with the guys from Haku Tour was an authentic and perfect experience in Lima. Besides the fact that we learned to cook delicious traditional dishes, we learned a lot of interesting things about Peruvian traditions and the local lifestyle.