Peruvian gastronomy is fascinating the world for its mixture of exquisite and exotic flavors, aromas and textures, a country with 3 great gastronomic regions: coast, mountains and the Amazon jungle area.

Let’s get to know in this article the best typical dishes of the Peruvian jungle, an invitation for when you travel to these Inca lands.

The first dish is one of the most iconic in the jungle: the tacacho with cecina and chorizo.

1. Tacacho with cecina and chorizo

One of the most popular in the jungle of Peru that is never lacking in the festival of San Juan celebrated in Iquitos, Yurimaguas, Pucallpa, Tarapoto and other Peruvian Amazon towns and cities, from the eve of June 24.

It is prepared based on green plantain that softens when roasted or fried. It is then crushed and mixed with lard.

This repowered carbohydrate is eaten with pork cecina (dried and smoked meat) and with sausages made with the ground meat of the same animal and various condiments.

The word “tacacho” comes from the Quechua “taka chu” which means “beaten”.

2. Chonta or heart of palm salad

The chonta tree is a palm native to the Amazon that produces one of the most nutritious fruits among plant species. Its heart, called heart of palm, contains 5% protein and is highly appreciated in gastronomy for its delicate flavour.

Amazonian Peruvians take advantage of the abundance of the palm tree, especially in the Department of San Martín, to eat hearts of palm all year round.

The chonta or heart of palm salad is a typical meal during Holy Week. Although it is available canned in supermarkets, you can also eat it fresh. You only have to wash it 2 or 3 times with water to release its strong smell. Then cut it into pieces and prepare a good salad with avocado, tomato and other ingredients of your choice.

3. Patarashca paiche

Patarasca or patarashca is a typical dish from the Peruvian and Colombian Amazon, consisting of a river fish fillet seasoned with turmeric (called palillo in the region), charapita (wild chili pepper from the Amazon jungle) and sachaculantro (cimarron coriander) . It is roasted wrapped in bijao leaves of the same size as banana leaves.

One of the most used fish is the paiche (arapaima, pirarucú), the second largest freshwater fish in the world, capable of reaching 3 meters in length and weighing more than 250 kilos.

The fish is also one of the oldest with minimal changes since the Miocene (5 million years ago).

4. Juane

In the list of typical dishes of the jungle, we must note the juane, an original recipe from Moyobamba, capital of the Department of San Martín and the first city founded by the Spanish (1540) in the jungle of Peru.

It looks like a large tamale and is also eaten during the San Juan festivities, hence its name. Although there are several types of juanes, the original is made from cassava. Rice is also very common.

It is made with pieces of chicken, pieces of hard-boiled egg and jug olives, ingredients that are wrapped in the dough and then in bijao leaves that are boiled.

Juanes are also made with pieces of salted fish and chonta and ground corn, instead of rice. In the waspa juane, ground pork is added to the rice in the dough.

5. Chicken inchicapi with peanuts

Thick and delicious Amazonian soup prepared on birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions, with the ground hens that traditional Peruvians raise in their patios.

Chicken is a less glamorous but also very tasty option when there are no free range chickens.

The word “inchicapi” comes from the Quechua words “inchik” (peanut) and “api” (soup), which results in “peanut soup”, since the recipe calls for ground peanuts.

Other ingredients are ground corn or corn flour, garlic, peppers, peppers and sachacilantro.

The chicken pieces are softened in a pot of water and separated from the broth. A smoothie is prepared with roasted peanuts, chilies, peppers and sachacilantro and is incorporated into the broth along with the garlic and corn dissolved in water. It is heated for a few minutes and served with a piece of chicken, a boiled egg and slices of yucca on each plate.

6. Humitas

It is a kind of tamale made of corn and other ingredients that is consumed in the Amazon and the Andes, which is wrapped in cob leaves called chalas and pancas.

Peruvians prepare them with fresh ground corn adding meat, cheese, raisins, spices, aromatic herbs and other ingredients to the dough.

Humitas can be savory or sweet by adding salt or sugar or another sweetener. They are prepared parboiled, baked, steamed and even microwaved.

Garcilaso de la Vega mentions the humitas in his work, Royal Comments of the Incas, published in 1609, this being one of the oldest written references to the dish.

Its name comes from the Quechua word “humint’a”. In Paraguay they are called “monkey waist” (ka’ i ku’a in the indigenous language) due to their resemblance to the primate when they are tied.

7. Suri Skewers

The cigarron or suri weevil is a coleopterous insect considered a pest that lives in the stems of coconut and palm trees, however, its larvae are an Amazonian delicacy with which the well-known anticuchos or suri skewers are prepared in Iquitos and in other cities of the region. Peruvian jungle.

The so-called black palm and casanga weevils have a life cycle of 120 days and cause serious damage to palm plantations. But they are also high in protein and vitamins.

Its soft texture and flavor is similar to that of chicken and they are eaten accompanied by pieces of yucca and parboiled or roasted plantain.

8. Timbuche

The timbuche or chilcano is a soup known in the Peruvian jungle as “raises the dead”, for its ability to revive people exhausted by physical or mental effort.

Its main ingredients are fresh fish, beaten eggs and sachacilantro.

Among the fish species used are piranha, catfish, mojarreta, carachama, palometa, paichi, boquichico, guasaco, lisa and combinations of all these.

There are preparations that contain 5 or 6 types of fish and are a festival of flavors.

The fish is washed, cut into pieces and boiled with water, salt and other desired seasonings. When it is cooked, beaten egg and chopped sachacilantro are added. It is accompanied with plantain and parboiled yucca.

9. churros

The churo is a freshwater mollusk that in the Amazon is a jungle delicacy and an important source of protein for native Peruvians, Colombians, Brazilians and other nations with territories in the immense eco-region.

The edible part of the churos is cut into small pieces and prepared in a stew with garlic, salt and plantains.

In Iquitos and other cities and towns in the jungle of Peru they are for sale. They are also popular in aquariums for their beauty and ability to remove detritus. When well cared for they can reach 15 cm in diameter.

The churo is also known as giant Amazonian snail, Paraná snail, apple snail, lagoon snail, moon snail, golden snail, guarura, sacha and cuiba.

10. Mamacos or domblos

The mamaco, also known as domblo, leaf cutter ant and siquisapa, is a delicacy of Peruvian Amazon cuisine, especially in the Department of San Martín.

They are usually eaten roasted and their flavor is reminiscent of pork rinds with an earthy aftertaste.

The insects begin to leave their hills when the rainy season arrives in the last quarter of the year, when they are captured. They do not cut the leaves to eat them but to make a substrate where the fungi they feed on grow.

Its main season is between October and November. They are available cooked in the markets of Moyobamba, Tarapoto and other San Martin cities, ready to eat.

11. Ripe plantain chapo

Chapo is a drink created in the Peruvian Amazon with so much energy and nutritional value that it could almost replace a meal.

It is prepared with a good amount of chopped ripe bananas and cooked over low heat, until they reach the texture of a foamy dough.

When cold, it is mixed with a moderate amount of milk to make it thick and blended. The indigenous people, who did not have a blender, learned to do it by crushing the banana with stones. If the fruit is well ripe, the chapo has a natural sweetness, but if you want it sweeter, add sugar.

Spanish missionaries who evangelized in the jungles of Peru appreciated chapo as a substitute for masato.

12. Amazon style chaufa rice

Chinese-Peruvian dish typical of the Amazon now common in restaurants in the region.

It consists of a mixture of rice, vegetables, chorizo ​​and cecina fried over high heat in a wok with oil and soy sauce.

In the Peruvian jungle they accompany chaufa rice with cocona chili and fried plantain. Vegetables include Chinese onions, peppers, grains and ginger, and the main Amazonian flavors are provided by cecina and chorizo.

This chifa-type dish can also be made with chicken, beef, and shrimp. In some recipes the rice is mixed with noodles and in others it is replaced by pearled wheat or quinoa.

The word “chaufa” comes from Cantonese Chinese and means “fried rice scramble”.

13. Purtumute

It is another of the typical dishes of the jungle that the Amazonian aborigines prepared long before border lines were established between countries and that is eaten in the Colombian, Peruvian and Brazilian Amazon.

It is a kind of very energizing bean and vegetable salad prepared with ingredients that the Amazonians have on hand. It has black and white beans. Corn and pine nuts are optional.

The beans are soaked overnight and cooked with salt until softened. A preparation is made in the pan with oil, garlic, onion, cumin, achiote and other spices to the taste of the cook and once crystallized, it is added to the bean container and cooked for a few more minutes. At the end it is mixed with cooked mote and cilantro.

14. Fried pomfret

Both freshwater and saltwater fish species called palometa are known. The one eaten in the Amazon jungle is mainly the mylossoma duriventre, a relative of the piranha and the pacu, also called pacu-clock, pacu-peva, medallion and pacucito.

The South American river pomfret is not aggressive like the piranha and likes to roam in schools. It is disc-shaped and its color is predominantly silver.

Frita is a common dish in the Peruvian Amazon that is eaten accompanied by patacones or tostones (mechanically flattened and fried green plantain), served with a sauce based on charapita chili and onion.

It is easy to prepare and a healthy source of protein, B vitamins, healthy fats, and minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and magnesium.

15. Majaz Stew

The common paca, known in Mexico as tepezcuintle, in Peru as majaz, and in other Latin American countries as lapa, is a rodent with delicious meat that lives near freshwater bodies and has historically been an appreciated food for Latin American aboriginal communities. It can reach 12 kilos of weight and its white and delicate meat is low in fat.

Peruvians prepare majaz stew by browning the meat pieces in a pot and then seasoning them with salt, pepper, cumin, garlic, vinegar, and soy sauce.

The meat is removed from the pot; then a mixture of water and garlic is prepared and left to boil before putting the prey back in and finishing cooking.

The most common accompaniments are parboiled yucca, fried plantain, granulated rice, lettuce, tomato, onion and cucumber salad.

16. Cassava fritters

Cassava or cassava is native to the Amazon and has been cultivated in South America for several thousand years. It is a staple food of the rural towns of South America that is eaten parboiled and fried. It is also served as a dessert to which caramelized paper is added.

A buñuelo is a fried flour dough that can be sweet or salty. For the sweet cassava buñuelo, the tuber is peeled, parboiled, cut into pieces and crushed until obtaining a dough to mix with other ingredients, which in most Peruvian recipes are sugar, salt, beaten egg, baking soda and anise seeds. .

The final dough is made into balls that are fried in hot vegetable oil to make them crispy.

17. Motelo al kio n

The morrocoy of the jungle is called in Peru, motelo, also called Amazonian morrocoy and yellow-footed tortoise. It is native to South America, lives in the humid tropical forests and is the largest of the subcontinent’s land turtles, reaching 45 cm in length and weighing up to 15 kilos.

Despite the fact that the species is in a vulnerable situation and the transport of live specimens and the sale of meat is limited or prohibited in several Latin American countries, motelo al kion (ginger) continues to be a traditional dish in the Peruvian jungle.

18. Camu camu ceviche

Camu camu is a tree that grows wild in soils flooded by Amazonian rivers, whose citrus fruit has up to 16 times more vitamin C than orange pulp.

Due to this very high concentration of ascorbic acid, camu camu is used in Peru as a substitute for lemon in the preparation of the national dish: cebiche.

The camu camu ceviche was invented in Iquitos, the main city of the Peruvian Amazon that, together with Manaus and Belén del Pará, formed the triangle of main protagonists of the legendary “Rubber Fever”.

Camu camu is sold frozen and vacuum packed, which makes it easy to prepare the famous “tiger milk” for ceviche.

19. Maiden’s Sweat

Sweating is a cooking method in which vegetables, tender meats and mixtures of both are prepared over a very low heat so that the components release their water content and slow cooking occurs.

It is an excellent way to cook fish, since the fine and sensitive meat retains all its delicacy, flavor and nutritional power, without added fat.

Maiden sweat is a typical dish from the Peruvian jungle region prepared with one of the largest catfish in the Amazon rivers.

Maiden sweat is seasoned with lemon and eaten with parboiled yucca or white rice.

The Research Institute of the Peruvian Amazon has a project underway to turn the damsel into the flag fish of the fish farming activity in the Department of Ucayali.

20. Watermelon Dessert

This refreshing and exotic dessert is prepared in the low jungle of Peru, especially in Contamana, a city in the Department of Loreto, capital of the Province of Ucayali.

It feels very good in the Amazonian heat, especially in an area where it is summer all year round, since the average temperature of 27 °C hardly varies throughout the seasons.

The seedless watermelon pulp is blended with white sugar, condensed milk and heavy cream. Then unflavored gelatin is dissolved in a water bath and mixed with the watermelon mixture, stirring very well.

Finally, a film of vegetable oil is applied to a whole mold or one that leaves a hole in the center, the mixture is added and it is frozen for 4 hours or until it reaches the desired hardness.

Typical dishes of the jungle: drinks to accompany

To accompany these exquisite typical dishes of the Peruvian jungle with also traditional drinks, you have the chapo, the aguajina and the masato. The first of these is based on ripe banana and milk, while the aguajina is a concentrate of the aguaje fruit (moriche) diluted in water and sweetened with sugar.

Another popular drink is masato. It is prepared with fermented yucca that is left to rest until the starch is transformed into sugars.

Which of these typical dishes of the Peruvian jungle do you prefer? Share this article so that others also know the rich gastronomy of this exotic part of Peru.


See also:

  • Also read our guide on the 40 typical Peruvian dishes that you must try
  • Read our guide on the 12 tourist places in Peru most visited by foreigners
  • Click on our guide to know the 30 best tourist places in Peru that you have to visit sometime in your life

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