Peruvian purple potato papa a la huancaina

Peruvian purple potato papa a la huancaina

By
From
V is for Vegan
Serves
4

I spent three months in Peru, one of the world’s most interesting countries. Unlike most tourists, I spent some time up in the north, at a place called Kuelap, a first-century ruined city at the top of a remote hillside. Rumour has it that tall white people inhabited it, possibly Vikings. This is way before the Spanish arrived and hundreds of years before the Incas.

This Peruvian dish is from a little-visited inland town, Huancayo, to which you can take a train from Lima. It’s one of the highest-altitude train rides, almost 5,000 metres in places, in the world. When I embarked upon this journey, 25 years ago, it looked like a bus or tram on a very narrow train track. The back of the carriage was stored with oxygen tankards in case people could not cope with the thin air.

Ideally, this classic Peruvian recipe uses yellow chillies (aji amarillo), but they aren’t easy to get hold of. I used an online resource (www.vivaperu.co.uk), but you can substitute with any fruity, pale chilli sauce.

Use the best potatoes you can buy: most impressively, purple potatoes such as Purple Majesty by Albert Bartlett, or rich, waxy yellow Yukon Gold potatoes, or a mixture of both.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
4 large purple potatoes, unpeeled
1 teaspoon aji amarillo paste
1 garlic clove, very finely chopped
250ml soya cream
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 lime, juiced
sea salt

To garnish:

Quantity Ingredient
lime wedges
sprigs coriander

Method

  1. Put the potatoes into a large saucepan, cover with boiling water, add 1 tablespoon salt and cook over a high heat. Purple potatoes cook a lot more quickly than white, in maybe half the time, so keep an eye on them. Once the potatoes are cooked, drain and leave to cool. Then slip off the skins and cut into 1.5 cm slices.
  2. Meanwhile, put the aji amarillo paste, garlic, soya cream, nutritional yeast, lime juice and 1 teaspoon salt into a blender and process until smooth. Pour into a small saucepan and heat until warmed through and slightly thickened.
  3. To plate up: first pour the sauce onto the plate, then add the purple potato slices. Garnish with lime wedges and coriander and serve.
Tags:
Vegan
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