As you may have realized, in Peru we eat a lot of stews, and we also eat a lot of tamales. If you want to imagine a dish that will certainly please the Peruvian palate, put a tamale and a stew together, and there you have it. Its name: Pepian de Choclo.
This recipe is from the North of Peru, an area famous for its tasty and varied cuisine, and also for the enormous size of its portions. Stocky meals that will satisfy the biggest of appetites are a must when it comes to this regional gastronomy, and nothing epitomizes this better than Pepian de Choclo.
The homey entree consists of a tamale-like corn stew, which can only be differentiated from a tamalito verde in that it’s slightly creamier (but hardly so). This is accompanied by rice, as is every other Peruvian dish, and the usual way to eat it is with a large piece of meat -either chicken, or pork, or guinea pig, or whatever you may feel like- on top. But of course, I’m a vegetarian, and today’s recipe is part of our #MeatlessMondays series, so I left that last detail out, and instead, added some cubed zucchini to the pot of bubbling corn. This not only tasted good, but also upped the health factor, as the dish doesn’t normally include more veggies in it, other than the usual onion, garlic and chili that serves as a base for most Peruvian preparations, and the corn, of course. Next time, I think I’ll also add some red bell pepper, and maybe even broccoli or cauliflower florets.
And if you don’t like cilantro, simply don’t use it. Enjoying it is what matters most.
- 2 tbsp oil
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 2 chopped garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp aji mirasol paste
- 2 yellow chili pepper, cut in thin stripes (or use in paste, as needed)
- 4 Peruvian giant kernel corns
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- ½ cup cilantro leaves
- 4 small or 1-2 large zucchini, cut in cubes
- Salt and pepper
- Blend the corn kernels and cilantro leaves with the vegetable stock until creamy.
- In a pan with oil, over medium heat, saute the onion, garlic, and 2 chili peppers, stirring until golden.
- Add the corn and coriander paste, zucchini, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, for 10-15 minutes, or until it has the consistency you desire. If it cooks too long it will get more tamale-like.
- Serve with rice, and a salad, or with a piece of any kind of meat on top.