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Peas Are a Major and Delicious Food in Cusco

We are living the rainy season right now in Cusco. Strong and light rains water the city at any time of the day or night. Our farmers are happy because the magical raindrops have come and they take charge of making the fields flourish.

Normally the farmers who live in Cusco and nearby sow their fields with potatoes, corn, broad beans, peas, and other crops. These are the classic and well-recognized foods that are raised year after year. Our people eat them as they please

All of these find their way into different dishes. For example, peas are enjoyed as part of a locro of zapallo (squash). They are green, small, and round. To cook them you first have to peel away their thin and soft shell that is also green. Inside you find 4 or 5 small balls of peas.

Squash Locro is not the only dish in which peas enter. They also form part of another delicious dish that is many people’s favorite. It is called seco de cordero, or lamb stew. In it and in many more the gentle peas add flavor.

There is also a typical dish from Cusco that is made from peas. It is called the uchu de arvejas, or pea uchu. (An uchu is a traditional dish that is made, in part, with a condiment of hot peppers.) It is similar to the meat matasca in that it has potatoes cooked in small cubes, carrots similarly cubed, and rice. However, instead of meat the pea uchu has peas. It is a delicious dish and one that only rarely will be found on restaurant menus or those of our markets. Only people who know it make it up at home.

Finally, you can make a delicious hot drink, a ponche, from peas. To prepare it you need to first dry the peas. Then you toast them and finally gind them. Once ready you make them into a ponche just as you would traditionally with fava beans.

Peas are ready for sale in the markets and stores of our city. They are sold in mounds and also by kilos. A medium sized quantity can be bought from 1/S.

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