sábado, 24 de mayo de 2014

In the land of Pisco... Pisco & Cuisine: "Lomo saltado"

Pisco / Peru more than 400 years of History & Tradition (1613-2013).

Translated by Katrina Heimark


A little bit of history...

After Ramon Castilla abolished slavery on December 3, 1854, the  huge demand for workers on the costal haciendas was filled by Coolies, who were workers from India, China and other Asian countries, and who had a low level of work qualifications.

Lomo Saltado is a typical Peruvian dish, which is the product of the fusion of two cuisines which date back thousands of years, the Peruvian and the Chinese. The dish was originally called Lomito de Vaca, Lomito Saltado, and Lomito a la Chorrillana.

Saltado, in Spanish, comes from the term salteado, or sauté, which is the technique of frying food in a pan or a wok over high heat.
In those days, the dish was only prepared in the back areas or “chinganas” of the Central Market of Lima, and in the northern areas of the Lima province, such as Huacho, Paramonga, Barranca and Huaral.
The upper and middle class of Peru were against visiting these areas, and eating there was not always well-looked upon. These were the areas of the masses, led principally by the Chinese. Thus, both Lomo Saltado and Tacu Tacu, which are now popular traditional dishes, came from some peoples’ necessity to eat in lower-class restaurants, where they could eat well, but at a very low price.

In 1915, the first record of Lomo Saltado appeared in a newspaper article, and not that of a cookbook, as the cookbooks of the time did not record this dish. Only in 1928 were Carne Saltada and Lomo a la Criolla included, which have evolved into the flambéed version that we have today. The Cantonese influence can be noted in the use of the wok.

Lomo Saltado is easy to prepare, and contains a mix of flavors, where each ingredient brings an important quality to the dish.
It was originally served without potatoes, and with a lot of vegetables. Later, the potatoes were added, and were served boiled, not fried.

Today Lomo Saltado is a typical Peruvian dish, very well known, appreciated and also one of the most popular in Peru. It truly and worthily represents our incomparable cuisine.

Investigative work: History of Cuisine Course
Escuela Peruana de Sommeliers 2011

Lomo Saltado

By Chef of Cuisine - Johann Knell.

100ml of Quebranta Pisco
1 tsp of crushed garlic
2 tsp of chopped aji limo
1 kilo of beef tenderloin
½ kilo thickly sliced red onion
½ kilo plum tomatoes, cut in quarters
1 kilo white or yellow potatoes
3 finely sliced aji amarillo
Soy sauce, to taste
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Thyme, to taste
Red wine vinegar
Salt and Pepper
Oil for frying

Cut the meat into strips, approximately 1 ½ cm thick

Add enough oil to cover the base of a frying pan or wok, and heat over medium heat. Fry the garlic and the aji limo for two minutes, increase heat. Add the meat and brown. Deglaze with Quebranta Pisco and flambé. Season with salt and pepper and a pinch of fresh thyme.

Remove the meat and all juices from pan, reserving the juice to keep the meat moist.

Add a little oil to the pan, if necessary, and fry the onion until tender, approximately one minute. Season with salt and pepper.

Add a splash of vinegar and continue to sauté until the vinegar evaporates, approximately one minute. The onion should be slightly firm. Remove the onion and repeat the procedure with the tomato.

In a different frying pan, fry the potatoes until brown. Remove with a slotted spoon, dry on paper towels, and add salt to taste.

Mix the meat, onion and tomato back in the first frying pan. Add the aji amarillo and soy sauce. Cook for about half a minute. Add the French fries and mix everything carefully.  Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve immediately with white rice.

Chicken or shrimp may also be substituted for the beef, following the above procedures.



viernes, 16 de mayo de 2014

In the land of Pisco... Pisco and Cuisine "Lucuma Meringue"

Pisco / Peru more than 400 years of History & Tradition (1613-2013).

A little history…

José María Arguedas (the foremost Peruvian writer who covered  indigenous issues in Peru), told the story of how the lúcuma, a beautiful and exquisite fruit of Peruvian origin, came to be. However, there is another tale that is very similar to the story often heard in the Central Peruvian Andes, principally in Huanuco, as told by the people of Aguamiro, as well as another version from Ancash, as told by the people of Chiquian. According to this legend, the priest and father of Andean agriculture, Huatio, appeared on Earth in the ragged form of an Indian and was hated by everyone. People even threw dirt in his face. Huatio is thought to be the craftsman of the Andes and their irrigation channels.

During that time, there was a holy woman named Lúcuma. She was very beautiful, proud, and was so contemptuous that no man would pay attention to her. The story says that while she was resting in the shade of a tree called “lugma” or “lúcuma,” Huatio appeared in the form of a beautiful bird. He caused a fruit, in which he had previously deposited his semen, from the tree to fall towards the woman. Lúcuma, when she took hold of the fruit, became pregnant, even though she had never been with a man. When her son was born, she breast-fed him. After a year, when the child began to move about, he asked the men of the village to clarify which one of them was his father.

They gathered in the skirts of the PUNCHAO (which is the ancient name of the Sun. It means light, clarity, and is a location in the department of Huanuco). Since all the men wanted to marry the goddess, they arrived in their best clothing, all according to their rank. Lúcuma asked the men to tell her son who his father was. As they all kept  silent, she told her son to identify his father. He crawled to Huatio, and sat at his feet. When the child reached Huatio, who had again taken the form of a dirty and ragged Indian, the child hugged him and laughed happily. Lúcuma felt so embarrassed to have had a son by such a dirty man that she decided to leave the village and flee to the high mountains. Huatio thought that he would be able to change her mind, so he dressed himself with rich gold adornments and asked Lúcuma to look upon him. But the woman was so full of pride that she didn’t want to turn her head and look at him.
She began to walk even faster. Lúcuma reached the highest mountains and began to cry because of her misfortune. Her tears were black. It is said that her bitter tears formed an algae that is in the shape of a teardrop and is black in color. It is known today as Cushuro or Murmunta (from the Quechua word Hikunta, which means to cry bitterly), or Llullucha (from the Quechua word Llachapa, which means little man in tatters).

The Lúcuma is a beautiful fruit with a green peel, yellow pulp and a shiny brown pit. The pulp is coarse and the pit is very hard and covered with an impenetrable brown film. The Indians in the region identify the description of the fruit to be similar to the description of the proud woman. It just so happens that in Peru this fruit ripens during the months of March and April, just as the Cushuro, Murmunta or Llullucha plants ripen.


Lucuma Meringue


Chef of Cuisine - Johann Knell.


3 egg whites
½ cup (200 grams) granulated sugar

For the filling:
4 peeled and segmented Lucumas.
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
For the Chantilly cream:
2 cups whipping cream
¼ cup powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 110 C (210 F). Grease and flour a large baking pan. Draw 4 circles of approximately 20 cm of diameter. Beat the egg whites with the sugar until stiff. With a pastry bag, fill the circles drawn on the pan. Bake at a low temperature for two hours, until the meringue is crisp and dry, but not golden. 

Filling: In a pot over medium heat cook the water, the sugar and the lime juice until the sugar is dissolved (aprox. 10 minutes). Let cool. When the sugar is cool enough to handle, liquefy it along with the lúcuma. Strain the mixture and eliminate all impurities.

When both preparations (the meringue and the filling) are cool enough, put the meringues on top of one another and fill with the lucuma cream. Fill a pastry bag with the rest of the lucuma cream, and fit with a wide cake decorating tip.

Over a separate bowl of ice, beat the whipping cream and sugar for the Chantilly cream. The ice will make the cream more compact. Cover the side of the cake with a fine layer of Chantilly cream. Decorate the edges and the base of the cake with tiny lucuma cream balls. Serve with chocolate sauce and garnish with chocolate curls.

This dessert can also be made with chirimoya instead of the lucuma, and with a layer of manjar blanco.

Translated by Katrina Heimark


jueves, 8 de mayo de 2014

In the land of Pisco... How can we appreciate and taste Pisco?

Pisco / Peru more than 400 years of History & Tradition (1613-2013).

Sight: Evaluate the following factors:

Pisco is a product that is the result of distillation of alcoholic vapors
 that are in a fermented must. It must be clear and without color. When these clear vapors are condensed, they must produce a liquid with the same characteristics.

Shine indicates a process of careful production. A low quality Pisco has a matted and lack-luster appearance.

There shouldn’t be any particles suspended in the liquid. Nor should there be strings or dark spots, dust in the bottom of the bottle, or stains on the liquid’s surface.

Delicately bring the cup to your nose. Inhale slowly and gradually for a short second and move the cup away. During the first “nose” one should detect a light yet clear alcoholic aroma. In other words, it should be balanced; without the aggressiveness of the alcohol, nor the dominance of chemical odors.

The taster again lifts the cup and moves the liquid around in order to oxygenate the Pisco. During this second nose, the taster now looks for aromas and smells. One must make an effort to distinguish the intensity or the volume, the nuances and quality of the aromas. One should recognize in the aroma a succession of perfumes that bring to mind fruits, flowers or spices.

Positives: fine, clean, refined, elegant, complex, distinguished, interesting
Negatives: ordinary, vulgar, simple

An agreeable sensation, clean and without defects, is what defines a good Pisco. Complexity, the richness of balanced aromas, distinguishes a great Pisco.


To begin to appreciate the taste, Pisco is placed in the mouth and after several tastes, one begins to distinguish the flavors separately.

First Swallow:
Designed to perceive the aggression of the alcohol.
Positive: harmonious, agreeable, structured.
Negative: thin, alcoholic

Second Swallow:
Designed to perceive the sensation of the structure also known as body
Positive: round, unctuous, velvety
Negative: thin, narrow, spiny, sparse

Third Swallow:
Designed to perceive flavors, taste and sensations
Positive: fruity, elegant, characteristic, noble.
Negative: rustic and plain.

Sample one more time in order to put together a general impression of the Pisco.

Translate by Katrina Heimark


viernes, 2 de mayo de 2014

In the land of Pisco... There is no reference of grape brandy distillation in America before Pisco, as far back occurs in Peru.

Pisco / Peru more tan 400 years of History & Tradition (1613-2013).

The earliest historical reference to the preparation of grape  eau-de-vie dates back to the early 17th Century. Lorenzo Huertas, renown Peruvian historian, says: “We have found what might be the oldest reference to the preparation of (grape) eau-de-vie not only in Peru, but in America: a document from 1613 mentioning the manufacturing of this liquor in Ica.” The document mentioned by Huertas is the will of Pedro Manuel the Greek, resident of Ica, whose last will stated that, among his properties, he had a Creole slave and “thirty burnay jars filled with eau-de-vie, and a barrel filled with eau-de-vie, that contained thirty little pitchers of such liquor, plus a large lidded copper cauldron used to extract eau-de-vie, and two pultayas, one with a spout and the other smaller and in better conditions.” This is the oldest information found in Peru about eau-de-vie.

However, warns Huertas, although the will is dated 1613, eau-de-vie production instruments were used in earlier years. (Research by Dr. Lorenzo Huertas Vallejos, Producción de Vinos y sus derivados en Ica, Siglos XVI y XVII [Production of wine and its byproducts in Ica, 16th and 17th Centuries], Lima, 1988.)