Tim and I decided that one of the things we wanted to do around the world was take cooking classes to learn the local dishes. We felt this was going to be a great memory not only for us but to share with our friends and family members once we return.
We choose the Peruvian Cooking Experience for the great reviews it had, the location to the hostel, and because ceviche was one of the recipes on the menu. Our cooking lesson included ceviche, chorrillana style fish, and a pisco sour drink. We arrived at the school and met the other couple joining us, Pascal and Natasha from Norway. They were working their way around Peru in the opposite direction we were so we were able to swap stories and recommendations.
Food prep: As a group we washed, seeded, peeled, and chopped everything needed for both dishes. This is very important when making ceviche as you throw everything together and must eat it within 10-15 minutes of adding the limón (what we call limes in the States) juice to the fish. You must be ready to go.
First dish: Ceviche. Ceviche involves immersing raw fish in citrus juice to marinate. I am sure most of you that haven't tried ceviche are thinking, "Raw fish in citrus juice? Gross." Let me tell you, there is nothing raw about this dish. The limón juice cooks the fish as it marinates, which is why you must serve it within in 10-15 minutes of making. Waiting too long to serve ceviche gives you a a chewy fish that no one enjoys. Along with fish and limón juice (I used the juice of 4 or 5 limón) this dish has salt, red peppers, garlic sauce, and red onions. We made a traditional ceviche and then a spicy ceviche by adding hot pepper sauce to half the dish. We plated the dish with some fried corn and roasted sweet potatoes. The sweet potatoes here are 100 times sweeter than the ones we have in the States.
Second dish: Chorrillana style fish. Chorrillana sauce is a tomato based spicy sauce used to top breaded and fried fish. This is was my favorite dish of the day. It was spicy and had flames!
The white fish was seasoned with garlic paste and dredged in corn flour (looked like cornstarch to me) and fried. We then threw together chili paste, tomato paste, tomatoes, onions, spices and 2 shots of pisco liquor (this is where the flames come in) and a little milk to take down the heat if needed. We plated the dish with a pyramid of rice, which took a few attempts to get perfect.
Drink: Pisco Sour. After we were sufficently full we did some "shaking" and learned about Pisco Sours, the most popular drink in Peru. Pisco sours kind of tastes like a margarita.
Recipe for Pisco Sour:
Shaker with ice
1 ounce Pisco liquor
1 ounce simple syrup
1 ounce limón juice
1 ounce egg whites
bitters for a garnish
Oh and you have to have a song playing while you shake your pisco sour. Our song of choice was Shaky, Shaky, Shaky- by Daddy Yankey and our instructor made each one of us shake it. If you don't know this song.... now you do. It's a great song to mix a drink to.
Tim designed a llama with his bitters (right drink).
Overall we both had a great time in this class. It was about $25 each and we got a great meal. Both of our instructors were amazing and did a wonderful job of getting each of involved and shaking it. We would recommend the Peruvian Cooking Experience and look forward to learning how to make sushi in Japan and pasta in Italy!