Peru is a country with a number of Christmas traditions. Natives who celebrate this holiday enjoy “Noche Buena” by giving and receiving gifts and enjoying an elaborate meal. Late Christmas Eve night, Peruvian churches hold a special mass. Following this show of faith, the sky is lit with fireworks.
Traditional Christmas Food
A common Peruvian Christmas meal includes roast turkey. However, various areas prepare dishes with food abundant in specific locations. For example, coastal regions often prepare fish, and wild chicken is served in the jungle. Alongside these entrees, numerous side dishes are presented. Some of the most popular include tamales, applesauce, and panettone, a bread filled with raisins and other candied fruit. This item is sweet and is considered the ideal “Christmas cake.” Panettone is usually paired with hot chocolate, which is flavored with cinnamon and cloves.
Preparing Peruvian Tamales
The tamale is a tasty Peruvian food that is easy to assemble. Besides being served at Christmas, people can enjoy this dish for breakfast, lunch, or dinner at any time of year. When prepared correctly, it is moist and contains a slightly spicy and exotic taste. An authentic recipe usually includes Peruvian white corn, but modern chefs can use bags of frozen kernels found in any local grocery store. The outer banana leaf wrapping provides a unique texture, which complements the pork, chicken, or fish stuffed inside.
Since tamale fillings can be sweet or savory, they are extremely versatile. However, the one thing all tamales have in common is the community custom of assembling them as a group. The groundwork for Peruvian food was the way various immigrant groups came together and joined individual flavors and cooking styles to create a “fusion cuisine.” It is not uncommon for one family member to slave alone in the kitchen at the holidays but making tamales together is a great way to create a wonderful and delicious holiday tradition.
Other Tastes of Peruvian Cuisine
Besides adding tamales to a holiday feast, there are other Peruvian foods that can be prepared as well. When a person enjoys fish, ceviche is a wonderful recipe to try. It usually includes fresh raw fish that has been marinated in citrus juices and spiced with chili peppers. Paella is another popular dish made with vegetables, rice, and meat. It is prepared and served in a shallow pan.
To get a better idea of the flavors Peruvian food offers, it is wise to visit a Peruvian restaurant that serves recipes prepared with authentic ingredients. Near San Francisco, La Costanera Restaurant offers a wide menu filled with dishes that awaken the senses and provide ideas for future holiday celebrations.