Traditional Food

Colorful Parrot Sauté (Saltado de Loro), one of Cuzco’s Traditional Dishes

One colorful dish that is traditional in Cuzco is the saltado de loro, the parrot sauté.  Never fear all you friends of parrots; no birds are sacrificed in the making of this dish.  It takes its name from the bright green color of a kind of greens here called turnip greens, nabo.   Though it is also called yuyo jaucha (or jaucha greens), parrot sauté is just so much more intriguing.

This is a seasonal dish that is served when the rains fall. When they come turnip greens spring up, large and brightly colored. People cut the greens to make this delicious dish.

There are two versions of this dish, one vegetarian and the other accompanied by morcilla, blood sausage.  Both versions require the company of corn, either mote (once dried, boiled corn) or choclo (fresh corn).

Eating Saltado de Loro in the Market (Photo: Wayra)
Eating Saltado de Loro in the Market (Photo: Wayra)

The women who sell this dish in Cuzco’s markets and streets go out very early in the morning to buy fresh greens in the markets.  The people who bring in the greens also get up very early to have the freshest leaves ready in the markets for their clients.

If they make the dish with morcilla then they must go to the closest slaughterhouse.  We call each of a camal.  There they buy cow blood.  They boil it and make it to congeal it in order to use it with the turnip greens.

On traditional stoves, either the larger fogones or the smaller conchas, they bring potatoes to a boil over intense heat.  Then they cook the sliced green.  Both are kept hot in pots wrapped with cloth .  They also prepare the corn and, if they are using it, the morcilla. Then the women go out to sell the food.

From early in the morning on Saturdays and Sundays these months, the women who sell parrot sauté set up in the markets to sell this delicious dish.

P.S.  You can find a recipe for the vegetarian form of this dish in an earlier article of ours here.

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