A Lesson in Peruvian Cuisine

By Caitlin Lally, Marketing and Communications intern

“Ooh, it’s spicy, but delicious,” Patty Huang exclaimed after taking a bite of the still warm Rocoto Relleno she and and her friends helped prepare.

Among Awamaki’s sustainable tourism program, we also arrange cooking classes for those interested in learning about authentic Peruvian cuisine. 

Two dishes unique to the country include Papa la Huancaína and Rocoto Relleno, which four tourists from Taiwan, including Patty, learned how to make in their hands-on experience with Ollantaytambo local Tina.

Shortly after exchanging the traditional besos when greeting one another, Tina, (far right) led the group to el mercado/the market to explain what produce she purchased for the meals they were about to prepare. Tour guide Katie, (far left), provided translation from Spanish to English for the group.

Upon arrival to Tina’s house, just a brief walk from the market, Shen, (right) and Patty began peeling and dicing zanahorias/carrots that would be added to the mixture for the Rocoto Relleno/Stuffed Peppers.

Once sliced and deseeded, the peppers were boiled up four times to reduce the spice. While these rocotos/peppers are extremely hot at first, the final dish has only a hint of picante.

Meanwhile, the tourists worked to peel the papas/potatoes that appear in the dish Papas la Huancaína.

After describing the process of making the crema/cream for the Papas la Huancaína, Tina offered the group a sample of what they would taste in the final dish.

With the stuffing complete, Tina demonstrated how she fills the rocotos/peppers that have been boiled a total of four times.

Now stuffed, the peppers are cooked one final time with dough sealing the opening.

The final presentation of los Rocotos Rellenos/Stuffed Peppers cool down before being served.

Papa la Huancaína is plated and topped with a slice of tomato and hard boiled egg.

The guide and tourists say “Salud,”/ “Cheers,” before indulging in cena/dinner.

While sipping mate/tea after eating, the tourists reflected on their experience learning how to cook traditional Peruvian meals. While shopping and exploring the Incan ruins are valid ways to spend the day in Ollantaytambo, the tourists valued taking an Awamaki cooking class for an alternative perspective into the live of the locals.