The funny thing about this juice is that the name tells you nothing, however everyone in Lima (possibly in Perú) knows exactly what to expect. The taste of a classic jugo surtido is, I’m sure, ingrained in the memories of millions of limeños who have ever set foot in a juguería (juice bars). When I was growing up, the best juguerías could be found in mercados (markets). Popular flavours were papaya, lúcuma con leche (lúcuma and milk), fresa con leche (strawberries and milk), plátano con leche (banana and milk), surtido and especial (surtido plus algarrobina and egg). I hated lúcuma until my mid-20s, the other single-fruit ones were common at home and especial was too intense for me. Therefore, surtido was my go-to choice.
Last time I went to Tienda Latina to buy food for my birthday I noticed they had sliced and pre-cooked ripe plantains in the freezer. I grabbed a bag without even asking for the price and started thinking what to do with them.
It didn’t take me too long to decide: I wanted to make a version of majarisco, a dish from the North of Perú that features plátano majado (smashed plantains) and seafood. To keep things simple, I used frozen mussels and chorizo (also bought at Tienda Latina) for this version.
Majado de plátano con choros y chorizo
Yield: 5-6 servings
- 500g frozen pre-cooked plantains (or 500g fresh plantains, sliced and cooked in fat)
- 500g chorizo
- 1-2 Tb fat of choice (I used ghee)
- 1 onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 Tb chilli paste (I use Peruvian ají panca but any kind will do)
- 1kg frozen mussels
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup fish (or vegetable) stock
- 2 Tb apple cider vinegar
- salsa criolla
- Smash plantains with a pestle or similar heavy object.
- Slice chorizo.
- Chop onion and garlic, cook in fat on medium heat until soft. Add chilli paste.
- Add chorizo, stir until completely cooked.
- Add plantains, stir.
- Add mussels, wine, fish stock and vinegar, reduce until a thick sauce is formed.
- Serve with greens and salsa criolla, garnish with coriander.
Yes, vegan. Before you think I’m crazy for bastardising one of my national dishes, let me explain. I made this version for an assignment for which I had to modify a recipe for social (i.e. religious, ethical, etc.) reasons. I thought of causa because I know people make vegetarian versions all the time (not me, I love it with seafood) but I have never seen a vegan version out there. Not only I had to ditch the main protein, but also the eggs used as garnish and in the mayo. I combined a few vegan soy-free mayonnaise recipes I found online and the result was awesome! Also so much easier to make than regular mayo. I served this vegan causa to a bunch of friends and everyone (including Alvaro) liked it.
Yield: 8 servings
- 8 (1500g) floury potatoes
- 4 Tbsp (60ml) ají amarillo (Peruvian yellow chilli) paste
- juice of 4 limes
- 4 Tbsp (60ml) macadamia oil
- 1/2 cup (80g) finely chopped red onion
- 500g white mushrooms
- 1 Tbsp (15ml) olive oil
- vegan mayonnaise (see below)
- 1 ripe avocado
- 4g salt
- 8 (20g) black (preferably botija) olives
- 1 (65g) heart of palm
- 3/8 cup (50g) raw cashews
- 2 Tbsp (30ml) avocado oil
- 2 Tbsp (30ml) water
- juice of 1/4 lemon
- 1 tsp (4ml) apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 tsp (1g) salt
- 1/4 tsp (1g) mustard powder
- cherry tomatoes
- Blend the mayonnaise ingredients.
- Place the chopped onion in a small bowl with the juice of 1 lime and season lightly with salt. Set aside to marinate while the potatoes cook.
- Cook and mash the potatoes, let cool down. Mix with chilli paste, juice of 3 limes, macadamia oil and salt.
- Slice mushrooms and sautée in olive oil. Let cool down, mix with mayonnaise (method below).
- Oil a ring mold. Press half of the mashed potato mixture into the bottom of the pan. Cover with the mushroom mixture in a smooth layer. Top with slices of avocado. Layer the other half of the potato mixture on top and smooth the potatoes with the back of a spoon. Top with slices of hard-boiled eggs and olives.
- Serve chilled with lettuce leaves and cherry tomatoes.
Last day in Lima. Four weeks went in a breeze but we were kind of ready to get back to work and study (and away from traffic and chaos!). We spent the first half of the day with my family, having lunch at my aunties’. If you don’t know much about me you probably know I’m obsessed with food and wear mostly black, but I bet you don’t know my sisters and I were raised, to a large extent, by my aunties (and uncle, who died in 2008). Mum had a full-time work, so we had breakfast and lunch next door at my aunties’ and did our homework there most of the time, until dinner time. I even moved for a period of time perhaps looking for a bit more independence and/or breakfast in bed on weekends.
Pollo al maní
Now that a few decades have passed, things have changed a bit. Now my aunty who had me using her bed while she slept in an uncomfortable foldable one is in charge of cooking. She made her now famous pollo al maní (chicken in peanut sauce) with cassava and rice, which was delicious. And as if we didn’t need more food, mum also made carapulcra (dried potato, chicken and pork stew), equally tasty. Given the humongous amount of food (and carbs!) I did the sensible thing and did not eat a grain of rice.
Dessert was one of my mum’s favourites: agar-agar jelly with chancaca (panela-type cane sugar) syrup.
Agar agar jelly
After packing, we spent time with Alvaro’s family, which is way bigger and younger than mine. We had a Peruvian-style BBQ with chicken, chorizo, anticuchos (marinated beef heart), potatoes, corn, avocado, salad, etc. Good times.
On our second last day in Lima we got to hang out with my brother-in-law again. My sister was still in the US, so it was only the three of us. Alvaro had been nagging me with his arroz con pato cravings long before we arrived to Perú so I did a bit of research and Don Fernando seemed to be a good place to get it. We were received with complimentary leche de tigre (the juice from cebiche), cancha (toasted corn kernels) and chifles (plantain chips).
Complimentary leche de tigre, cancha and chifles
This is a Northern restaurant, and besides seafood and the aforementioned arroz con pato, this region is well-known for its chicha de jora (a fermented corn beverage). It looks like cloudy apple juice and tastes a bit like kombucha. I’m not sure about its alcohol content but it’s not that high, I think.
Chicha de jora (S/. 10, 4.21)
We started with a mixed platter called ronda Don Fernando, which contained tiradito (sliced raw fish marinated in lemon juice, with rocoto), cebiche, chinguirito (dried fish cebiche), and pulpo al estilo muchame (octopus with olive oil, garlic and oregano). The four dishes are divided by mashed cassava. Yum.
Ronda Don Fernando (S/. 58, $24.42)
We thought the arroz con pato (rice with duck, cooked with coriander, pumpkin, chicha de jora, etc.) was okay but not outstanding. We chose breast over maryland because we were told it had more meat, but thought the meat portion was on the skinny side.
Arroz con pato (S/. 35.80, $15.07)
At this point we were satisfied but not full. We ordered a piqueo with another two staples from the North: tamalitos verdes (made with corn and coriander) and seco de cabrito (baby goat stew with coriander). Very tasty, I’d say better than the arroz con pato.
Piqueo de tamalitos verdes y seco de cabrito (S/. 29.80, $12.55)
That night we went to the Buddhist centre for the last time. There weren’t many people around because a bunch had gone to Europe for a summer course, but we got to hang out with some of our friends, with some nibbles and wine. One of Alvaro’s friends from high school met us there and then we went for a late dinner to one of those cheap sandwich shops that are so popular among party animals. Its name is Koko Lucho and, believe it or not, it was my first time there.
Alvaro had his last jugo de lúcuma of the trip, and we shared a salchipapa. This one was called “la combi” (public transport van), that came with smoked frankfurter, BBQ chorizo, Huacho sausage, scrambled egg on top, potato chips and salad. Now you know why people come here after a night of drinking.
Jugo de lúcuma
Salchipapa “la combi” (S/. 20, $8.42)
General Garzón 1788, Jesus María
+51 1 2610361 / +51 1 4632656
Av. Aviación 3790, Surquillo
One day we were brave enough to go to Barranco. Not because it’s a bad neighbourhood, but because it would take forever to get there, given the crazy traffic conditions in Lima. Anyway, we made it on time to Las Vecinas Eco Bar, a healthy cafe that had good reviews. Once there we weren’t very excited with the menu, so it was only drinks for us while we waited for our friend Julio. Alvaro’s limonada de granadilla (granadilla limeade) was great, especially because it didn’t have any sugar. There was panela on the table for those who like their beverages sweet.
Limonada de granadilla, americano
Once Julio arrived we went across the corner to Isolina a Peruvian restaurant that a friend had recommended. The vibe alone was better than in the other cafe, and the menu was short but promising.
We started with a jug of chicha morada, which tasted exactly like the one my mum made on my birthday when I was a kid.
Chicha morada (S/. 20, $8.42)
Plates were expensive for a reason: they were gigantic, designed to share. We ordered pepián de choclo con chicharrón de costillar de cerdo (corn stew with fried pork ribs), which was awesome. I liked the texture of this pepián better than the one at La Picantería, and the dish had great taste.
Pepián de choclo con chicharrón de costillar de cerdo (S/. 65, $27.37)
To round up lunch, we ordered ensalada mixta (mixed salad) that was also generously served and well dressed.
Ensalada mixta (S/. 15, $6.32)
We skipped dessert and moved to an organic cafe that Julio recommended: La Bodega Verde.
This cafe again had better vibe than the first one, and, most importantly, wifi. It was social media catch-up along with another americano for me, a jugo de lúcuma y plátano (lúcuma and banana juice) for Alvaro and carrot cake and coffee for Julio.
Jugo de lúcuma y plátano (S/. 11, $4.63)
Café americano (S/. 7, $2.95)
Carrot cake (S/. 11, $4.63)
As we all needed to go to Miraflores later, we walked alongside the coast line for a bit of fresh(er) air and to prep our guts for our next eating appointments. Being away from the chaos of the city for a few hours was one of the highlights of this trip for me.
That night we met friends from uni for dinner at Edo Sushi Bar.
Chris, Alvaro and I had some drinks while waiting for Kathy and her husband Giancarlo. The walk from Barranco had stimulated our appetite, so we also ordered tuna nigiri and usuzukuri estilo nikkei (seared tuna slices with “acevichado” sauce).
Sake, green tea
Usuzukuri estilo nikkei(S/. 35, $14.74)
For our “main” course, Alvaro and I shared sashimi moriawase (12 fish cuts and 9 seafood cuts) and the good old seaweed salad.
Sashimi moriawase (S/. 53, $22.31)
Seaweed salad (S/. 19, $8.00)
The others shared two paquetes (packages), the first with 8 sashimi cuts, 10 sushi pieces and 20 maki pieces (S/. 109, $45.89), and the second one with 6 sashimi cuts, 8 sushi pieces, 10 maki pieces, and 1 hot dish (S/. 109, $45.89). In both you can mix and match. The hot dish they chose, panceta con puré de wasabi (pork belly with wasabi mash) was a winner.
Panceta con puré de wasabi
The sweet end of the meal was tempura de plátano (banana tempura), served with vanilla ice cream.
Tempura de plátano
Las Vecinas Eco Bar
Domeyer 219, Barranco
+51 1 4773253
Av San Martin 101, Barranco
La Bodega Verde
Jiron Mariscal Jose Antonio de Sucre 335A, Barranco
+51 1 2478804
Edo Sushi Bar
Calle Berlin 601, Miraflores
+51 1 2432448
Sometimes it’s all about seeing the glass half full. What was meant to be lunch for two (me and my best friend from school Jessica) turned into Alvaro and me visiting her and her husband, who broke his Achilles tendon playing soccer. Since lunch had to be takeaway, we went to the local market for a jungle food fix.
Alvaro and I shared a ronda Tarapotina (S/. 30, $12.77), which came with tacacho (mashed plantain and mixed with fried pork), cecina (dried cured pork), chorizo, juane (seasoned rice and chicken cooked in banana leaf), and maduro (fried ripe plantain). Not super healthy but very flavourful.
Tacacho, cecina, chorizo, maduro
That night we went for dinner with my niece (who is 21 now!) and her boyfriend. We went to Gaston Acurio’s Peruvian burger joint Papachos. Yes, burgers are trendy in Lima at the moment, too. We started off with some drinks: limonada de kión y menta (ginger & mint limeade), characato with chicha de jora (fermented corn drink), pisco, maíz morado (purple corn), pineapple, cloves and mint, and pituco with Campari, vodka, strawberry juice, orange and lemon. Quite sweet but enjoyable.
Pituco (S/. 25, $10.65), characato (S/. 16, $6.81), limonada de kión y menta (S/. 7, $2.98)
The thing I had been craving for weeks before the trip was a Salchi Papacha with frankfurters, chorizo, two fried eggs and 5 sauces on the side (different type of chili sauces, fruity ketchups, etc.). It was as massive as its description (and price) suggest, and my craving was fully satisfied.
Salchi Papacha (S/. 34, $14.48)
Bruno had a hamburguesa clásica (classic burger) with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and Cheddar cheese. He said “yes” to the “achorada” version (supersized 300g patty) and couldn’t finish the plate.
Hamburguesa clásica, achorada (S/. 36, $15.33)
Besides the salchipapas, Alvaro and I also shared a hamburguesa Papacha with blue cheese, bacon, sauco (a berry) ketchup, onion ring (didn’t notice that one when ordering!), lettuce, and tomato, served without a bun and with sweet potato fries. Huge serving, great flavour. We did finish it. Oink!
Hamburguesa Papacha (S/. 36, $15.33)
Mercado de Magdalena
Last week in Lima and we still had people to see and things to do. Our friends Marlene and Jaime, who lived in Sydney for a while, had been away on holidays, but luckily came back before we left. We had lunch with them at La Picantería, one of the restaurants we really wanted to try. We had been at chef Hector Solis’ other restaurant Fiesta before, so expectations were high.
The restaurant is located in a low SES suburb and mimics a traditional “picantería”, only with better cuisine and higher price tags. As always, we were welcomed with a bowl of cancha.
Drinks-wise they had jugo de granadilla (granadilla juice). If you go to Peru and see it in the menu, do yourself a favour and order it.
Jugo de granadilla
We ordered a bunch of food to share. Sardines are not a typically served with causa (spiced mashed potatoes), but I really liked the causa de sardinas.
Causa de sardinas (S/. 29, $12.36)
The cebiche was made super fresh with great quality fish but for some reason it wasn’t my favourite.
Chita a la parrilla (grilled chita – chita being the name of the fish) was much better than the cebiche IMO. Lots of flesh, awesome flavour. It came with yuca frita (cassava chips) and arroz con choclo (rice with corn).
Chita a la parrilla
We also had pepián de choclo, ají amarillo y queso de la casa (a corn-based stew, with yellow chili and cheese) that came in a massive salad bowl. Check the size in the photo below, with my iPhone 4 as a reference. This version of pepián was way more fluid and smooth than the homemade version, which texture I prefer, but the taste was great.
Pepián de choclo, ají amarillo y queso de la casa (S/. 29, $12.36)
The last dish, which we couldn’t finish, was pata al horno en su jugo (1/2 roasted female duck with jus), served with arroz con pallares (rice with lima beans) or arroz con choclo (rice with corn).
Pata al horno en su jugo
What to do when you are absolutely stuffed but the restaurant manager sends complimentary dessert because they know the chef friend you’re eating with? We ended our meal with several spoonfuls of crema volteada (crème caramel), and our friends enjoyed the torta de galletas (biscuit cake).
Torta de galletas
Francisco Moreno 388 esquina con Gonzales Prada, Surquillo
+51 1 2416676
Sunday was quality time spent with my family. My aunties bought costillas de chancho al cilindro (pork ribs cooked in a cilinder) from a nearby restaurant. They also got a plate of seco de cordero con frejoles (a lamb & coriander stew, served with beans and rice) for us to try. I had also requested mum to make caigua rellena (stuffed caigua, green pod-like vegetable), one of my favourite home-cooked dishes.
Costillas de chancho al cilindro
Seco de cordero con frejoles
Everything was delicious and we didn’t need any dessert but who can say “no” to granadilla, especially when you can’t find it in Australia?
In the evening we had a late lonche (afternoon tea) with tamales (the orangey one made with dry corn and yellow chili, the green one made with fresh corn and coriander, both filled with chicken, and wrapped in corn husks) and chapana (made with grated cassava, cane sugar and aniseed, wrapped in banana leaves).
Tamal criollo, tamalito verde
As I discovered in this trip, my in-laws live surrounded by pretty good places to eat. There’s not one but three pollo a la brasa (charcoal chicken) restaurants, of which we visited La Leña. They sell other stuff but we were there to get our pollo a la brasa fix. It’s served with chips and your choice of salad: ensalada mi esposa (lettuce, tomato, carrot, radish and peas) for me and ensalada cocida (cooked green beans, beetroot, peas, carrots and broccoli, served on lettuce) for everyone else.
Ensalada Mi Esposa
People say the thing to drink when eating pollo a la brasa is Inca Kola (the national soft drink), but we disagree. For us, chicha morada is better, either regular or frozen (like a slushie).
Chicha morada frozen
That night we went again to the Buddhist centre and had salchichapas (fried frankfurter and chips) in the canteen as dinner.