Not being able to cook for myself everyday has definitely been one of the hardest parts of life on the road. South America has some seriously amazing food, but it also feels like I’ve eaten enough french fries for an entire lifetime. Whenever I’m lucky enough to stay in a hostel with a kitchen, I get kind of carried away. The local markets overflow with unfamiliar fruits, hyperlocal cheeses, and more types of sauce than you can shake a stick at. I’m ambitious. Sometimes, this means I create locally inspired masterpieces. Other times, I burn the dishes to hell or realize my main ingredient isn’t a vegetable at all.
My plans for Lima pretty much started and ended with eating delicious foods and taking a cooking class. Peruvian food is really having its time, so I looked forward to Lima as a kind of food haven. Chefs in Lima have started modernizing old recipes and reinventing the classics, and once uncool dishes are making a big comeback. Peru will always have its best known menu items like ceviche and pisco sours, but with more than 491 dishes, those are really just scratching the surface.
I didn’t want just any old cooking class in Lima. I wanted a really great one. And then I found YummyPeru.
Want to book your own cooking class experience in Lima? More details on YummyPeru and their cooking classes at the end of this post!
My mom and I joined the Quinoa Cooking Class, where we learned to make the obligatory pisco sours and ceviche, but also comfort foods we’d never heard of like caigua rellena with quinoa and humitas. Here’s a look at what we learned!
Pisco Sours: In Peru, I unintentionally embarked on a self-guided pisco sour tour. The cocktail is super simple with just 4 easy ingredients (pisco, lime juice, simple syrup, and egg white), but serves as a welcome reprieve from light lagers. With so few ingredients, pisco sours may be hard to mess up, but they’re also hard to get just right. It seems the trick to a perfect pisco sour is a drink that’s not too sweet, not too tart, not too eggy, and of course, very alcoholic.
Ceviche (+ a recipe!): Ceviche is one of the biggest draws of Peruvian food, and an essential dish for any cooking class in Lima. I’ve butchered (pun intended) a few previous attempts, so I was pretty excited to learn the secret behind a balanced ceviche. In short, I was doing just about everything wrong.
Want to know the secret to a perfect ceviche? It’s about rinsing the onions, carefully timing how long the fish sits in the lime, and adding condensed milk and fish stock to balance the flavor. Who would’ve thought?
Want to try out ceviche at home? Check out the recipe from YummyPeru below! I promise it’s a good one.
The YummyPeru Ceviche Recipe (4 portions)
700g fish filet
10 small limes for about 120ml of lime juice (2-3 tbs. per person)
3 tsp. of salt
pepper as desired
1 tbs. of minced red Chili, Type “aji limo” or “rocoto” or both
1 onion (150gr)
½ garlic clove
15 coriander leafs or parsley
2 tbs. evaporated milk
8 tbs. fish stock
2 threads of Yuyo (seaweed, optional)
Serve ceviche, choosing 2-4 of the following sides:
Boiled sweet potato or potato, white corn (choclo, boiled for 15 min with some drops of lime), cornnuts (cancha), plantain chips (chifles), boiled or fried cassava (yuca)
1. Squeeze the limes into a bowl and strain it.
2. Mince the red chili, the garlic, and the cilantro or parsley leaves.
3. Cut the onion in two halves and slice it into thin half circles (Julienne).
4. Remove all skin and spines from the fish filet
5. Cut the fish into strips and then into cubes that are about 1½ cm in size (½ inch).
6. Put fish into a bowl, add salt, pepper and the lime juice, stir and wait a minute.
7. Add 6 tbs of the fish stock, chili, garlic, cilantro and stir.
8. Finally add the evaporated milk, stir again and taste the marinade. Add more chili if you like.
9. Add onion, stir once more and put fish on the center of a plate, making a heap, adding also all the marinade. Put some Yuyo over the fish if available.
10. Add some sweet potato or potato slices (1cm), add the corn (kernels removed from the cob),or cut entire corn cob into 4 pieces and add to the plate.
Caigua Rellena with Quinoa: This Peruvian take on a stuffed pepper was decadent and totally fun to learn. A blanched caigua (a slender pepper) is stuffed with a mixture of beef, onion, egg, aji, olives, and everything else delicious, and served over a bed of creamy quinoa stew. Caigua Rellena has so many distinctly Peruvian elements that I’m not sure we could make it again at home, but I’d really like to try.
Humitas: YummyPeru often changes up the dessert menu, but for our class, we made humitas. Humitas are a fresh corn version of tamales, and super delicious at that. To make them, you put fresh corn through a hand grinder to create a milky puree that would be mixed with sugar, butter, cinnamon, cloves. The mixture is then wrapped in a corn husk, stuffed with raisins, and baked to create a fluffy, ultra-comforting dessert.
Other Fun: The YummyPeru motto is “Food. Culture. Fiesta.” Rather than just an experience with food, they integrate elements of Peruvian culture. Just when we thought the class was over, they had a party game for us. I’m not going to ruin the surprise by telling you what’s under that box…
YummyPeru is a new cooking class in Lima designed by the popular cooking school, SkyKitchen. Rather than sticking to just Peruvian classics, YummyPeru focuses on Peruvian comfort food and less-famous dishes that might otherwise be forgotten.
Cooking classes at YummyPeru are designed to be casual and super fun, but it was still one of the most polished cooking classes we have ever taken. The instructors, Yurac and Diego, have experience in kitchens around the world, but a genuine appreciation for Peruvian food that shines through in their recipes. Beyond offering a simple recipe rundown, the instructors were personable and offered up tips and tricks that we could use at home.
The space in Miraflores is filled with natural light, and decorated with chicha art, colorful flags, and potted plants. We’ve never really used a prettier cooking space! As we prepared each dish, we’d move from workspace to table and share the meal like a family would. All of their menus feature pisco sours and ceviche, but we got to choose between their Classic Comfort, Quinoa Comfort, or Special Comfort menus ($55) to pick our main dish.
Address: Calle 2 de Mayo 1195, Miraflores, Lima
Other Details: The classes cost $55 and are offered Monday-Saturday at 10am – 1pm / 4pm -8:15pm or Sunday 10am – 1pm
Traveling in Peru? You might also like:
- The Secret-est Foodie Spots in Lima
- Gritty is Pretty: Street Art in Lima
- Pitmasters: Pachamanca in Peru
- Here’s to Beer: A Beer Drinker’s Guide to Peru
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