It's fair to say that Peruvian food is enjoying a moment in the limelight as the UK has woken up to its many qualities – healthy, flavoursome and great for showing off with at dinner parties.
To mark the launch of his excellent new book Lima (out now, £25, Octopus), we asked Michelin-starred chef Virgilio Martinez (owner of two LIMA restaurants in London, as well as the famous Central in Peru) to pick the five recipes from his homeland that he thinks every man should have in his locker.
1 Ceviche de Conchas y Tomates (SCALLOPS AND TOMATOES)
The sweet-acidic taste of the tomatoes is a perfect partner for
the scallops in this recipe, and the tomato flavoured Tiger’s Milk
will give a final sweet-spicy touch to this delicate dish.
250g cherry tomatoes
1 recipe quantity of Tiger’s Milk
Complete Recipe, but prepared
using 120ml lime juice and
2 tablespoons Tiger’s Milk Base
300g very fresh scallops,
shelled and cleaned
fine sea salt
coriander flowers (if available)
or leaves, to garnish
1 To skin the tomatoes, bring a saucepan of water to the boil.
Put some cold water and ice in a bowl. Score a small cross
in one end of each cherry tomato. Add the tomatoes to the
boiling water and leave for 10 seconds, then transfer to the
iced water but remove almost immediately. Using a paring
knife, remove the skin.
2 Put half of the tomatoes in a blender and blend for 2
minutes, then strain the juice through a fine-mesh sieve.
3 Follow the method on page 75 to prepare the Tiger’s Milk,
then add 5 tablespoons of the tomato juice to the blender with
the other ingredients and blend for 3 minutes. Pass through a
fine-mesh sieve and adjust the seasoning adding more salt if
necessary. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator.
4 Cut the scallops in half.
5 Mix the reserved tomatoes with the Tiger’s Milk mixture,
then spoon into a serving dish and arrange the scallops
6 Garnish the scallops and tomatoes with coriander flowers,
if available, or leaves and serve immediately.
Leche de Tigre – Base
Tiger’s Milk Base
100g celery, roughly chopped
100g onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled
but left whole
3cm piece of fresh root ginger,
2 tablespoons fine sea salt
1 teaspoon sugar
100g coriander stems
1 Place all the ingredients except the coriander stems
in a blender and blend until puréed.
2 Add the coriander stems to the purée, then leave
to marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour before
removing and discarding the coriander.
3 Cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to use.
2 Pulpo con Quinua Blanca y Puré de Aceituna Botija (OCTOPUS WITH WHITE QUINOA AND BOTIJA OLIVES)
1 octopus, cleaned
(without the head)
240g white quinoa
2 tablespoons olive oil,
plus an extra 2 teaspoons
½ white onion, diced
2 small garlic cloves, chopped
50g Parmesan cheese,
180g Peruvian black
fine sea salt and freshly ground
borage flowers, to garnish
1 Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to the boil
over a high heat.
2 Meanwhile, place the octopus in a large bowl and rinse
under cold running water until the water in the bowl
is clear and the octopus skin feels clean, with no traces
of grit. Transfer the octopus to a chopping board and cut
the tentacles from the body.
3 When the water is at a rolling boil, add the tentacles,
stirring gently – they will curl up. Reduce the heat to
a gentle simmer, place the lid on top but partially open
and cook for 1 hour. Then turn the heat off, cover the pan
tightly with the lid and leave to stand for a further hour.
4 Carefully transfer the tentacles to a baking paper-lined
baking sheet, cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hours.
5 When ready to serve, rinse the quinoa in cold running water
until the water runs clear, then drain.
6 Place the quinoa in a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid
and add water to cover by 5cm. Cover with the lid and
bring to the boil over a medium heat. Stir, re-cover and
reduce the heat to low. Cook for about 15 minutes – the
quinoa is ready when you can see a little ring on the outside
of the grain and it is soft. Rinse in cold water, then drain well.
7 Heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil in a separate saucepan
over a medium-high heat and sauté the onion and garlic
until transparent. Add the cooked quinoa gradually, stirring
constantly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
8 Add the Parmesan, stirring until it has melted and mixed
in completely. Keep warm.
9 Heat a sauté pan until hot, add the 2 teaspoons olive oil and
cook the tentacles until the skin is slightly charred. Keep warm.
10 Place the olives in a blender and blend for 3 minutes, then
pass the olive purée through a sieve and set aside until you
are ready to garnish the dish.
11 Arranged the cooked quinoa in a line across the dish and
top with the seared octopus pieces, then garnish with the olive
purée and borage flowers.
3 Pierna Adobada de Cordero Orgánico (SPICY ORGANIC LEG OF LAMB)
This is another take on a classic roast, using lamb with a Peruvian
touch. The achiote adds a bright colour to this
roast, but will not change the flavour of the dish.
400g annatto (achiote) paste or
ground annatto (achiote) seeds
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
juice of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon chilli powder
1 Ají Limo chilli or jalapeño pepper
2 tablespoons cumin seeds,
toasted and ground
2 tablespoons clear honey
1 teaspoon crushed black
1 white onion, chopped
1 organic lamb of leg, about 2kg
fine sea salt
1 Mix all the ingredients except the lamb together in a
stainless-steel bowl until a paste forms. Add the lamb and
thoroughly coat with the paste. Cover and leave to marinate
in the refrigerator for 3 hours.
2 Preheat the oven to 190°C, Gas Mark 5.
3 Scrape away any excess paste from the lamb, then place
in a roasting tray and roast for about 1¼ hours or until
cooked to your liking.
4 Remove the lamb from the oven, cover loosely with foil
and leave to rest for 15 minutes before serving.
4 Queque de Algarrobina (BLACK CAROB POUND CAKE)
This simple pound cake becomes an indulgent coffee-time
favourite by adding an extra portion of black carob syrup. The
syrup, called algarrobina in Peru, looks like black treacle and
is made from the hard pods of a native tree which can also be
ground into a kind of sweet flour or used to make beer. Carob is
a highly nutritious vegan product and is also delicious.
225g unsalted butter,
at room temperature,
plus extra for greasing
330g plain flour, plus extra
340g granulated sugar
4 extra-large eggs, at room
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
170ml buttermilk, at room
½ vanilla pod
110ml algarrobina (black carob
syrup) or carob molasses, or
black treacle for the topping
1 Preheat the oven to 170°C, Gas Mark 3. Grease a 18cm ring
tin/mould, then sprinkle with flour and tap to remove
the excess flour.
2 Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a freestanding
electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat for
about 5 minutes on a medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat
in the eggs, one at a time.
3 Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda
and salt into a large bowl.
4 Add the buttermilk to a separate bowl. Split the vanilla pod
in half lengthways, scrape out the seeds from inside the pod
into the buttermilk and mix together.
5 Add the dry ingredients and buttermilk alternately to the
cake mixture, combining them well.
6 Pour the cake mixture into the prepared ring tin/mould
and smooth the top. Bake for 45 minutes–1 hour until a
skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
7 Leave the cake to cool in the tin/mould for 10 minutes
before turning out on to a plate. Top with the black carob
syrup or molasses, or black treacle.
5 Cuento del Diablo
25ml pisco Quebranta infused
with chillies (see Virgilio’s Tip)
35ml Triple Sec
20ml ready-made strawberry
20ml freshly squeezed
10ml grenadine syrup
3–4 ice cubes, for chilling
2 small red chillies, to garnish
Infuse the pisco with 5 fresh, red
Ají Limo chillies (see page 83),
seeds and veins removed, in the
same way as for Chamomileinfused
pisco Italia (see page 42)
for 2–3 weeks. How long you
leave it to infuse depends on
how spicy you wish the pisco
1 Add all the ingredients except the ice cubes to a shaker
glass or Boston cocktail shaker, shake and then stir.
2 Add the ice cubes to a Martini glass and swirl until the
glass becomes frosted, then discard the ice. Pour the mixture
into a Martini glass.
3 Make a short lengthways cut in the stalk end of each chilli
to one side of the stalk and place on the rim to look like devil’s
horns. Serve immediately.