Guinea pig for dinner

Peruvian cuisine

Once in the Peruvian province of Amazonas I decided to look for traditional Peruvian cuisine . Half-intentionally half-accidentally I find a restaurant called Sabores del Peru in the town of  Chachapoyas. A welcoming chef and the restaurant owner Seńora Violeta invites me and my friend Camille to her kitchen. We are able to take a close look at how a guinea pig is prepared. While I would discourage sensitive people or vegetarians to continue, on the other side, all sort of exotic culinary journeys enthusiasts are welcome to proceed with the article. Today as a main course our chef recommends “Cuy borracho en salsa de nogal”, which directly translating means "Drunk guinea pig in a walnut sauce”.

According to Mrs. Violeta, is vital that guinea pig is killed in a stress-free conditions. It helps to preserve the good taste of meat. A one strong and decisive blow with hand right in the neck knocks out a guinea pig. Only then we use a knife.

Just as in the case of poultry, fur is removed by briefly soaking the guinea pig in boiling water. Then we slightly burn outside skin on the burner, gut it and prepare to fry: sprinkle with salt, natural herbs, add the soy and vinegar.

The first step is a light stir-frying with a glass of local moonshine aguardiente, hence the name “borracho”, or “drunk”. At this stage, the meat of guinea pig should wait at least two hours.

Meanwhile we taste home-made liqueur based on aguardiente with fresh blackberries and some milk blended together.

The chef suggests two guinea pig meals. Cuy Borracho, which is fried with maize flour and Chicharrones de Cuy, a breaded version, for which we use egg batter and chunio, or harina de yuca (manioc flour).

Ready guinea pig meals land on our plates together with guardiciňn (a side). In this case it is sancochadas papas

(sliced potatoes) and papas fritas (fried potatoes), as well as salad, salsa de nagal (walnut sauce) and a choice of other sauces. Buen provecho!

After our feast we become good friends with the owner. Therefore we arrange a meeting for the following day, this time we will visit the restaurant not only as guests, but also as cooks.

Together we prepare a Peruvian version of a French dish ratatulle. Once the food is ready, we sit down together comfortably at the table along with the chef and her family. We enjoy the food together. Moreover, all the other guests in the restaurant get a free sample of the dish we just prepared.

Out of curiosity I ask the chef’s daughter how often do they receive cooking guests in the kitchen. The answer comes as a surprise, “Less than a year ago we had the National Geographic team here, with all the cameras and equipment, but they just watched as we cook, so you are the first".

In conclusion it is worth to note Peruvians eat an estimated 65 million guinea pigs each year.

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