On weekends Cuzco fills with parties and celebrations. The city has a vibrant nightlife. But the day after, to bring back energy and comfort yourself after a night of life nothing is better than a delicious bowl of aguadito de pollo, a special kind of chicken soup.
Of course it is good everyday, especially in these days when the clouds come in and the rain falls. Nothing is better to warm your body and keep the chill at bay than this energy filled, revitalizing aguadito.
It is also easy to make. In many Cuzco homes the make this thick and rich soup from rice, chicken torn into strips, and then minced leaves of cilantro to bring its flavor and color to a peak. If you wish you can also add ají, Peruvian hot peppers.
The recipe is easy to find. It is all over the internet since this is a dish consumed throughout Peru Every day more people around the world download the recipe and make the dish in order to enjoy the delicious flavor of this Peruvian creole dish. (Here it is in English.)
No one knows exactly the origin of this soup. It seems, though, to have been born from the imagination of our creole cooks. As a result it may have begun on the coast, though it has now become an emblem of our nation. It is known and loved in the various cities of Peru.
In Lima the soup is consumed frequently, since it may well be from there. In Cuzco, it may not be as well known because it is mainly served in the chicken houses as a courtesy of the house. It comes in a small and deep bowl to accompany the main dish, the pollo a la brasa with french fried potatoes and their companion sauces. Since this rotisserie chicken has taken the country by storm from its place of origin in Lima, it makes sense to think that the aguadito comes from there as well.
There are many chicken houses scattered throughout Cuzco that offer this courtesy. Despite this fact you do not find them much in the Monumental Core of the city, where most tourists stay. There the food regime is different than in our neighborhoods where pollo a la brasa is king.
Chicken houses are seemingly everywhere. On the most traveled avenues you will always find them. In some of these they have a salad bar, and often in these they do not offer the aguadito as a courtesy. Furthermore late at night they often do not serve it.
In the chicken houses this soup is generally not made as thick and rich as when one prepares it at home.
Sometimes in my parents home, my mother will surprise us with this exquisite soup. It bears little comparison with the thin soups from the chicken houses of Cuzco.
The chicken houses prepare it from the parts of the chicken that are left over from making the rotisserie chicken, such as chicken feet, necks, and gizzards, where as at home it is made with the whole chicken.
In any case this soup is very comforting. The rich flavor of the broth, with the musky spiciness of cilantro and the sharp hot peppers awake in us hunger for it.
Should you wish a bowl of aguadito, this colorful soup is generally offered in the chicken houses on the popular streets where the local people pass by, such as Belen Street, Tres Cruces de Oro, Puente Santiago, Puente Grau, Puente Belen, and by the market of El Molino, among others.
Event hough the aguadito is not from Cuzco, its flavor, texture and its beautiful colors in the soup captivate local people.
The soup probably arrived here in the chicken houses, But now people like to make it at home, since it is simple to make and does not require a lot of time.
To have a bowl of aguadito has now become a custom in Cuzco. Tourists and local join in the joy. Nothing is better than a good bowl of aguadito in a Cuzco afternoon, evening, or earlier in the company of your love, your friends, or your family.
And on weekends, after you have spent the night partying, nothing is better than an aguadito to revive you.