South American cuisine takes inspiration from foreign influences, like those of Africa, China, and Hispanic nations. Thus, not only does it share similar recipes with these countries, but it also makes unique renditions of their dishes. Such is evident in a Peruvian menu that showcases Peru’s fantastic flavor palette, with hints of other cuisines.
For instance, yuca fries or yuquitas fritas are a beloved side dish not just in Peru but also in other South American countries like Brazil and Cuba. That is only one example. Keep reading if you want to know more and discover other Peruvian side dishes!
Huancayo is a commercially bustling Peruvian city that sits high in the mountains. However, it’s more than just business that thrives in the area. It is also known for its papa a la huancaina, a dish of boiled potato slices covered in a unique, cheesy, and spicy Huancaina sauce. Although often eaten as an appetizer, you can serve this as a side dish to grilled meats.
Another potato side dish from Peru is salchipapas or hotdogs and fries. Like papa a la Huancaina, salchipapas are used more for another purpose than being a side dish. That is, it’s often sold as street food or snack in the country. But don’t let that dissuade you! You can use this as a side dish, especially as it has French fries that you can dunk into tasty, rich entrees.
Speaking of fries, why don’t you taste these yuquitas fritas or Peruvian yuca fries? Yuca, known as cassava or manioc, is a common root crop in South America; thus, this recipe is famous not just in Peru but also across the continent. It’s an alternative to classic French fries. You can dip it into various sauces, with the most recommended being aji amarillo hot sauce.
Like yuca, plantains, which look like large bananas, are abundant in South America. Thus, they are usually used as an ingredient in South American dishes or sliced and fried as a side. You can follow this recipe for the latter, which is effortless because you don’t need another ingredient besides the sliced plantains and oil. However, you can serve it with condiments for more flavor.
Tamales are often associated with Hispanic countries, especially Mexico. However, this dish has made its way worldwide, and other countries have come up with different versions, like Peru’s tamalitos verdes. As the name implies, they appear smaller than regular tamales. They also have a distinctive green color from spinach and cilantro. It’s also wrapped in a green corn husk, unlike the usual Mexican tamales.
If you’ve never had or seen purple-colored rice, prepare to be blown away by arroz al olivar or Peruvian olive rice. Such a deep hue is courtesy of black olives, which are this dish’s main element and are abundant in Lima, Peru. Besides the olives and rice, there’s also oil, garlic, raisins, bell peppers, ground pepper, and pecans in the ingredients list. Thus, expect this dish to be flavorful and textured.
Another rice dish you can enjoy from Peru is arroz chaufa, their rendition of the famous Chinese fried rice. Like the latter, many ingredients go into this dish: chicken, eggs, onions, garlic, and bell peppers. While all those taste terrific, the soy sauce mixture gives arroz chaufa its deep umami flavor and dark color. Such a mixture includes sesame oil, cumin, ginger, sugar, and soy sauce.
When you first look at a tacu tacu, you’d think it’s a beef patty; however, there’s no meat in it. Instead, it’s made of beans and leftover rice, so it’s an innovative way to transform extra food. Besides the rice and beans, it has onions, garlic, coriander, annatto, oregano, adobo, and ham concentrate, so you get a meaty taste even without the meat. Serve with steak, seafood, eggs, and plantains!
Dinner rolls, garlic bread, French bread – these are just a few pieces of evidence of how great bread is a side dish. Thus, if you’re serving Peruvian meals, try it with a basket of warm pan de anis on the side. These spiral-shaped rolls are distinct for their anise flavor, which is sweet and slightly spicy. The aroma of these rolls, though, is unlike any other – very tempting, much like licorice.
Peru has a selection of salads to make your meal taste healthy and fresh. Among them is ensalada de pallares, or Peruvian lima bean salad in English. The beans are named after one of Peru’s biggest cities, so it’s no surprise they made a salad out of it. The flavors are fresh, spicy, and zesty, and the textures are incredibly chunky because the beans aren’t pureed.
Most potato salads are tossed together, with no care for appearance, but causa rellena or Peruvian potato-chicken salad is nothing like that. The layered look makes it extraordinary, so you’d have to invest some effort to achieve it. You’ll also set aside time for it to chill and solidify, but that’s what makes it a perfect side dish for spicy Peruvian meals or hot summer days.
There are many versions of chopped salad worldwide, and Peru jumped on that trend with its solterito. It may also be known as corn and lima bean salad, as these two are classic elements of this dish. However, with this recipe, you can use edamame instead of lima beans. But if you want to stick to tradition, feel free to set aside the edamame for the beans.