A little about South American Cuisine

From the high energy, high protein, meat loving Argentineans & their Asado to the refined cuisine of the fish loving Peruvians, South America has it all as a continent that has given the world some of its favorite staples: Chocolate from Hondurus and Mayan, Vanilla from Mexico, Chilies from Equador, Tomatoes that are native to Mexico and Argentina, Corn and Peanuts.

And in keeping with the vivaciousness of its people and its cultures, the South American cuisine is complete with vibrant colors: brilliant greens, purples and reds that tango with your taste buds!

Yet it’s not about “Food for Food’s sake”.

South Americans don’t just consume food to be sustained. They eat to party, to reconnect with family and friends and to mourn as a fundamental part of the social structure.

SAG-1

Adobo Spice Mix

This mix of oregano, paprika, chilli and thyme is the base of the famous Chimichurri sauce for barbequed meat – also used as a marinade.

Aji Pepper

Also known as the ‘Peruvian chilli’, its flavour is fruity rather than spicy, being more capsicum than chilli. Aji pepper has a subtle but distinctive flavour and is often dried and ground into powder. (See also Chillies)

Beans

Big in Brazil where the African influence is most concentrated, black and red beans are a favourite for Brazil’s national dish, Feijoada Completa.

Cassava

A root vegetable closely related to potato, the cassava makes flour and great chips.

Chillies

Indigenous to South America, chillies are used to fire up so many dishes all over the continent….and now, the world! There are many species of chilli within the capsicum family. Some of the more common varieties include Jalapeño, Habanero, Poblano, Rocoto and Aji Pepper. (See also Aji Pepper)

Coriander

Known in Spanish as ‘Cilantro’, coriander features prominently in South American cuisine and is an essential ingredient in Pebre.

Meat

South America, particularly Argentina, is a meat-lover’s paradise. Mostly, meat is barbequed. The most popular cuts are the vacio (flank steak), and spare ribs. Other favourites include chinchulines (chitterlings) and mollejas (sweetbreads). The chorizo sausage is also a must.

Plantain

In the banana family, plantians tend to be firmer and lower in sugar content than regular bananas. Cooked while it’s green, the Colombians love them and make Patacones (fried plantain) as a side dish.

Potato

The potato was first cultivated in South America between three and seven thousand years ago. Papa Amarilla is the yellow potato of Peru – a delicacy. Papa Seca is the dried potato of the Andes. Chuño is a freeze-dried potato from Bolivia, which when dried look like little stones. They are also used to make flour. Sweet Potato is also thought to have originated in South America and is still very much part of the diet across the continent today.

Quinua

Quinua (or quinoa) has been cultivated in the Andean highlands since 3,000 BC. It has a light, fluffy texture when cooked. A mild and slightly nutty flavor makes it a perfect alternative to rice or couscous. Cooked quinua is excellent in hot casseroles and soups, stews, in stir-fries, or cold in salads.

Mate

Make it h3. The second cup is always better.