8,000 YEAR-OLD BARBECUE STYLE – Ancient Inca Food in Peru!
Published – 08/04/2019 1:00 pm
Pachamanca is an underground hot stone oven style of cooking from the Andes mountain regions of South America.
There is evidence that humans in the region have been cooking pachamanca for over 8,000 years, and it was a common way Inca’s prepared food as well! It was a huge honor to have this opportunity to have a traditional, no shortcuts, pachamanca when I was visiting Cusco, Peru.
From Cusco, Peru, it was about an hour drive. We met with Julio, the leader of the small Quechua community, and he brought us to the village, high in the mountains, and an incredibly beautiful place. We were immediately met by the amazing community, beautiful people, who welcomed us in and showed us their immense hospitality.
The first step in prepared in a pachamanca is heating hot stones, but they have to set up the stones in an absolutely genius stone structure in order to build a fire and heat the rocks. They showed us the entire process as I watched in awe. The rocks must be heated for 4 – 5 hours before they are ready to cook.
When the pachamanca was heated and ready, they first tossed on the variety of potatoes, then the meat (including alpaca) which was marinated in spices and wakatay (Peruvian black mint), then layers of rocks, fava beans, and then covered the entire pachamanca with an herb to seal it in. Finally they covered it with earth to seal in all the smoke and steam. It was astounding and beautiful to see them as they prepared the entire pachamanca, an ancient Peruvian cooking tradition.
Moraya – Ancient Inca technique of freeze drying potatoes – In addition to the pachamanca, they also made a soup made with moraya, an Inca technique of free drying potatoes to preserve them. The soup was delicious, and so warming.
The pachamanca was absolutely delicious, all the ingredients sort of steamed and roasted at the same time. Some of the ingredients were charred from the hot stones, which added to the incredible flavor. And along with the delicious food, the experience of being able to watch them load and unload the pachamanca, was something I’ll never forget.