Quinoa is a very important food in Cuzco and has a wonderful flavor. It is used to make a great variety of dishes, among which are found soups, main dishes, and also desserts.
It is wonderful that with quinoa you can make up a complete lunch and other dishes as well. With the passage of years ever more dishes are appearing. In our gastronomic fairs in Cuzco our different provinces come to introduce new dishes, new names, and new flavors made with quinoa.
In every market of the city you will find quinoa. Each of them sells it in its different forms and prices. In some markets the caseras, the vendors, tend to sell it in pre set plastic bags and in others they sell it by the kilo. Some women sell it in stands while others sell it while sitting on the ground.
Some restaurants add quinoa to their list of dishes, their menu or carta as we call it. Generally these are soups, main dishes, or both. These are the most well known and fairly easy to make. On the other hand, in Cuzco’s homes and gastronomic fairs many different dishes with quinoa are made up, such as chaufa of quinoa (a dish like a fried rice) and pesque of quinoa. They also make quinoa cakes and quinoa breakfasts.
Some years ago quinoa had a double use. People would soak it to take out the saponins. They would cook up the quinoa and use the soaking liquid to wash their clothes. This grain is still raised in Cuzco and in our provinces. It is one of our main products, along with potatoes and corn.