Huacatay is a popular herb used in Peruvian dishes, -mostly in the Andes-, that imparts its characteristic flavor to many soups and stews. It’s hard to think of the delicious and nutritious Locro, without the aroma of this herb, for example; and you can enhance a simple Ají Sauce with some chopped huacatay leaves.
Of the mint family, huacatay is also called “black mint”, and just like mint, it has a very pungent aroma and flavor, so it´s wise to use sparingly. A few leaves go a long way.
It’s not easy to find fresh huacatay leaves outside of Peru, but you can easily buy it in paste, and use this instead to give the particular huacatay taste to the dish you’re preparing. Remember that it should give a nice and subtle flavor to the dish, not overpower it, so use just a little and increase according to your taste.
Even though it is usually added to savory dishes, I recently had a very daring camu camu juice with huacatay leaves in it. I thought I was not going to like it but it was just the opposite, I loved it!