Hearts on the Right Plate: Your Guide to Peruvian Anticuchos

When you talk about Peruvian cuisine, you always have two things in mind: it’s BBQ and root crops. These define not only the humble roots of Peru. It is also the influence of other countries in its gastronomy.

One of the most common components of Peruvian BBQ meats is Pollo a la Brasa. Tourists are also starting to flock for the exotic Cuy al Palo, which is a spit-roasted guinea pig.

If you want something that announces Peruvian cuisine, however, you want anticuchos. Anticuchos peruanos are quintessential street food in Peru, but what are they?

Today, we’ll look at the anticucho. What is it? What’s the history behind this sumptuous street food?

We’re sure you’ll enjoy this delicious meat dish.

1. What is Anticucho?

So, what is anticucho? In its essence, anticuchos peruanos are inexpensive meat skewers grilled in a coal fire. These meats get a simple seasoning of salt, with some vinegar or lemon juice for extra taste.

What’s so enthralling about a basic grilled meat dish? The thing is, these Peruvian meats come as either simple beef cuts or chicken sometimes. The anticucho we want, however, is beef hearts.

Anticuchos de Corazon are beef hearts cut into 5cm pieces, grilled easy over coals. These Peruvian hearts carry all the tasty and irony flavor that organs and offal have.

For those who want some extra taste, you’ll be happy to enjoy anticucho sauce. This sauce combines aji panca or dried chilis, with garlic, vinegar, cumin, and oregano. This Peruvian dish also comes with boiled potatoes, together with other veggies like white corn and carrots.

Anticucho de Corazon are not the most exotic or healthy dish out there, but people love it for a reason.

2. Understanding the History of Anticucho

Now that you know what an anticucho is, the history of anticucho de Corazon is as interesting as its meat.

The name anticucho comes from two words: anti- and -cucho. Anti- means “Andes”, while -cucho comes from kuchu or “to cut”. When you combine, the term means “Andes-style cuts”.

It sounds simple, but the oral history of these Peruvian hearts are vast. This meat dish comes from the Antisuyu region – the Inca Empire had their influence. These came into the culture during the Pre-Colombian era, or during the time of European colonization.

During this time, the rich Europeans who planted sugar and cotton and used black slaves as field workers. The hacendados, or hacienda owners, slaughtered cows for food. The offal and innards, then considered waste, went to the black slaves as meat rations.

As the black slaves need energy for a day’s worth of worth, they had to make the innards edible. They did so by masking the Peruvian hearts with seasonings like Aji Amarillo peppers, cumin, salt, and garlic. They combined these spices to create what we know today as anticucho sauce, and it worked.

Now, most of Peru enjoys anticucho as an accompanying dish to other primary meat dishes. This legendary street food is nothing short of delicious.

How to Make Anticuchos – An Authentic Anticuchos Recipe

Anticuchos Beef Hearts served on a white plate with boiled potatoes, white corn and salad
Anticuchos Peruanos

You didn’t think we’d leave you without a Peruvian Anticuchos recipe, did you? Just shop for the Peruvian ingredients below, follow the easy step-by-step directions and you’ll know how to cook Anticuchos like a pro.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb beef heart (Anticuchos), trimmed and sliced into 5cm chunks
  • 3-4 tbs aji panca paste
  • ½ cup of red wine vinegar
  • 1 head garlic, peeled
  • 1 tbs ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • desired salt & pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients (except the heart) in a blender and mix until well combined for the marinade
  2. Pour marinade over beef heart chunks in a bowl & let marinade ideally overnight in the fridge or at least 3-4 hours
  3. Skewer beef heart pieces and grill on med-high heat for 2-3 minutes on each side. Continue to baste with marinade during the grilling process.
  4. Serve with boiled potatoes, Peruvian white corn and salad!

Why Anticuchos Are A Must-Try

When you’re in Peru, anticuchos are one of the essential dishes to the Peruvian cuisine experience. Taste this delicious meat dish and enjoy the sumptuousness with its rich history. But leave room for dessert. Peru is also home to 9 Peruvian Desserts You’ll Die For.

Peruvian Foods & Drinks in the USA

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