I had just come down from the cool Andes Mountains into the Amazon basin town of Puerto Maldonado. It was so hot and humid you could cut the air with a machete.
Thirsty and starving we found a garden cafe and ordered the Sangria looking drink that everyone else was having. About 2 hours later I was violently ill.
It seems that the drink, Chicha is made by chewing corn and spitting it into vats... that most likely contained bacteria that my American body was not accustom too. It was decided that I should go to the big city (maybe Arequipa) for medical treatment.
For three mornings I was thrown on the back of a pick-up truck and driven to the airport just as the rain would start, and they would cancel the flight to the big city. It was the beginning of the rainy season. I knew that every morning would bring rain so I asked,
"Please, just let me die here."
|Peruvian mother and daughter in traditional dress.|
After that request I was brought to a local family who gave me a tincture made from tree bark along with endless bowls of Vegetable Quinoa Soup. I was well within a week.
Was it the tree bark, or the quinoa? Hard to know for sure. Quinoa is incredibly nutritious and has been a staple of the diets of Peruvians for eons.
|Me in Peru in the 1980's.|
Here is my version of the simple soup that I ate.
Vegetable Quinoa Soup
by Diane Balch
3 tablespoons of Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 teaspoon Poultry Seasoning mix
1 teaspoon salt and pepper
2 celery stalks
2 large carrots
1 small zucchini
2 32 ounce containers of chicken broth or vegetable broth
1/2 cup of uncooked quinoa
1) Grate by hand or with a food processor: onion, celery, carrots, and zucchini.
2) Heat oil on medium high in a large sauce pan and add the poultry seasoning.
3) Add the vegetables to the oil. Stir and let cook until they wilt. Season with salt and pepper.
4) Once vegetables have wilted and in quinoa. Stir for about one minute. Then add broth.
5) Bring to a boil, stir and let simmer for at least 10 minutes. Best if you can let it sit on warm burner with heat off for about 1 hour before serving.
Please add your Peruvian recipes to the linky below and visit my co-host to see what they are cooking in Peru today.
Next month on Oct 14th we will visit Belgium. Start checking out recipes from this countries diverse cuisine.
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