One of the most consumed products in Cuzco, one that is eaten daily in household after household is the potato. Potatoes are the the basic foodstuff in the Andes but they are not only used in their natural form. From ancient times, people have turned them into freeze-dried potatoes, chuño and moraya. In this way they could preserve the potatoes long past their normal season.
Chuño and Moraya, the one dark and the other white, can be kept for long periods for time, even years. They are known by many different names. Chuño is a Quechua word that means wrinkled. Tunta is what the Moraya is called in Aymara. Neither of them really have names in English.
To make these products, you must have heavy frosts that run down the Andes Mountains. You also need sun to thaw them as well as feet and hands to help in squeezing out their water once freezing and thawing releases it from their cells.
While man people might think chuño and moraya are the same despite their difference in color, they are made differently. Chuño is a potato laid out on the ground to freeze and thaw. It turns black in the air and light. Meanwhile moraya is processed in water. As a result it leeches out the chemicals that otherwise would turn dark. Both forms require freezing, thawing, and being squeezed by people stepping on them.
In our traditional gastronomy they both are very important. Many dishes require these ingredients. Among them we find chuño soup and chuño lawa, while the moraya is present in many other soups such as the chairo, and the puchero. It is also used to accompany roast young pig, lechón, as well as many other dishes.
Here is a recipe for a dish made from Moraya.
Revuelto de Moraya (Moraya Scramble)
- — ½ kilo soaked Moraya
- — 1 cup milk
- — 100 grams cheese
- — 2 eggs
- — Salt
- — Pepper
- — 2 cloves of garlic
- — 1 onion
- Soak the moraya overnight then boil it for ten minutes. Cut it into small cubes.
- Make a dressing (aderezo) with the garlic, onion, pepper, and salt with oil over a soft flame.
- Add the diced moraya to the aderezo, the cup of milk and the cheese diced in small cubes.
- Once it is all cooked, break the eggs into the scramble, stirring it over and over on a mild flame for some ten minutes.
- Serve it in the company of white rice and a sprinkling of minced parsley.