Peruvian delights

The three-day Peruvian Gastronomic Festival, at the onset of this festive season, was an ultra-modern initiative taken up by Hyatt Regency in association with the Embassy of the Republic of Peru.

At Café, one could relish a sumptuous menu, featuring traditional Peruvian delights that include raw papaya tiradito with scallops pisco and pomegranate seeds; sea bass with walnut tiradito; lobster medallions with coconut and lime; octopus with chilli; shrimp with avocado and orange; and choritos a la chalaca with mussels, onion and sweet corn to name but a few, only at Rs 1,850.

Any Peruvian food experience is incomplete without ceviche — a famous Peruvian coastal staple that embodies simplicity with its raw selections of premium fish and seafood, marinated in freshly squeezed citrus juice and spiced with different ingredients, including onions, sea salt, pepper and freshly chopped herbs. Ceviche comes from a variety of cultures that settled in Peru, and some variations of the dish are influenced by Japanese
cuisine.

Executive chef Marin Leuthard joined hands with guest Peruvian chef Bruno Andres Santa Cruz from Park Hyatt Istanbul and Metrolife found about the ‘Inca’ (Peruvian) ingredients in the menu from Chef Bruno.

He says, like any other culture, “For Peruvians, food is the main part of bonding, enjoyment and family get together. Serving in big plates, sharing and dining together has been our culture since ages.”

The taste of all Peruvian chilies and vegetables are the prime inca ingredients. All of them have a strong taste and flavour. The chillies are not as hot as Indian spices, but have a strong flavour.

“Our cuisine has a lot of influence from Spain followed by Italian, Chinese and Japanese cuisine. Menu for Delhi has been prepared keeping in mind the people here who have a strong inclination to spicy flavours,” Chef Bruno tells Metrolife.

Talking about staple Peruvian food, he says that potato topped with chillies with milk sauce and dishes cooked on low-flames are some of their staples, while rice pudding and rice cooked with cinnamon sauce, sweetened milk and served with raisins serve as desserts.

“Chilli-based sauces are the prime ingredient of most Peruvian dishes. The main seasoning of the incas, peppers, remain hugely influential in modern Peruvian food. Prime examples include the hot rocoto pepper and capsicum baccatum, better known as ají amarillo,” he says.

Chef Bruno, who has a strong base in Peruvian food, has over the years become an expert. Having had the opportunity to travel and adapt himself to cook various regional cuisines, in this menu as well, he has created his own interpretations of dishes with a
Peruvian base.

“When I first came to India, the first thing I tasted was chicken tikka masala which was my favourite till the time I tasted biryani and rogan josh, which are my current favourites,” he says.

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