Guinea Pig Recipe – Best of Peruvian Cuisine

Guinea pig recipes

Best Guinea Pig Recipes – Peruvian Cuisine

Are looking for the best guinea pig recipes, you came to the right place; below, you will find the most popular dishes of Cuy in Peru, the ingredients, and the best guinea pig recipes to prepare your first guinea pig dish.

What is a guinea pig?

The Guinea Pigs or Cuy (Cavia porcellus) are native to the South America region. Although guinea pigs’ names are common, they are not related to pigs, nor are they from Guinea.

They originated in the Andes Mountains of South America. Studies based on biochemistry and hybridization have shown that they are domesticated animals and do not exist naturally in the wild.

Guinea pigs or Cuy were originally domesticated in South America as livestock for source or meat. They were introduced to the western Emisphere in the 16th century. They are popular as pets in North America and Europe thanks to their docile nature and easy handling.

Guine Pig recipe

Traditionally, the guinea pig or cuy was reserved only for special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, weddings. However, in the last years and the development of tourism in rural areas, the guinea pig is now available at every tourist restaurant for travelers trying this delicacy.

Guinea pigs are not everyday food; we have guinea pigs only on select dates for us, the local Peruvians. My mom still prepares a guinea pig on a stick for every birthday when I visit her after a long time. The meat is high in protein, low in fat and cholesterol, and is similar to rabbit’s and chicken’s dark meat.

Guinea pig or Cuy in Peru.

Peruvians do not treat guinea pigs as pets; this is our preferred dish at special events. We even have the National Day of Cuy, celebrated the second Friday of October every year. The consumption of the animal comes from long ago; it was domesticated around 5000 BC. During the Inca Empire period, it became so popular that it was even documented in the painting of “The Last Supper” on the most famous church in the main square of Cusco, where the apostles are snacking on it.

Guinea pig or cuy is a typical dish in Peru, but it can be found in other South American countries (such as Ecuador, Colombia, and Bolivia). They are bred by the Andes’ people in their house, usually in the kitchen where they sick the warmth of the Qonchas or wood-fired stoves made of clay and straw.Guine pig recipe

There are many ways to prepare the guinea pig in Peru; depending on the region, you are visiting, it will have a typical way to prepare it. Among the most classic dishes, we have Cuy al Horno (Baked Guinea pig), Cuy Chactado (Deep fried guinea pig), Cuy al Palo (Guinea pig on a stick), Pepian de Cuy ( Guinea pig stew). I have seen pictures send by my guests that they found “cuy nuggets” in North America and Europe, but I have never tried that.

Guinea pig recipes 

Peru has around 17 million Cuyes (guinea pigs) spread worldwide; from this, the region that produces more is Cajamarca, followed by Cusco and other regions in the Andes.

Cusco and Arequipa are the most popular regions in consumption; this is mainly thanks to tourism. While Cusco is famous for the baked guinea pig, Arequipa is famous for the deep-fried guinea pig. Find below the most popular guinea pig recipes.

Cuy al Horno

Cuy al Horno (Baked Guinea pig) is popular in the Cusco region, although you will find it in almost every tourist restaurant in the country. Just keep in mind that the fresh guinea pigs are in Cusco.

Ingredients:

  • 1 guinea pigs (Cuy)
  • Huacatay
  • 3 pieces of garlic
  • Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cumin
  • 6 Potatoes
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 tomatoes
  • Cilantro
  • 2 lemons
  • Chili Rellenos (optional on the side)
  • Tallarin al Horno (Oven Baked Fettuccine) Optional on the sidebaked Guinea pig

Preparation:

Cuy: De-hair the cuy in hot water, gut, and clean it properly; you can use a tweezer to remove the remaining hair, then pat it dry.

Seasoning: In a separate bowl, mix the garlic, pepper, salt, cumin, oil, and huacatay (also know as muster wild marigold or black mint). Depending on your location, the last ingredient might not be available, but if you are in Peru, you will be able to find it at any local market, and it will give a unique taste to the cuy.

Marination: Cover the whole body guinea pig in and out with the prepared seasoning. Then, leave it for some time to marinate (recommended at least 1 hour)

Baked Potatoes: Wash the potatoes properly and add salt when is still wet, then leave to dry

Bake all Together: Place in a pan the cuy, the potatoes and put it in the oven for 1 hour. You can use butter on the pan to have a crunchy experience.

Salsa: Slices onions and wash them, slice tomatoes, add the cilantro, add salt, and lemon and mix it to taste

You can serve the guinea pig with baked potatoes, salsa and add on the side chili Rellenos or/and baked fettuccini. It’s important to know that we usually have a whole guinea pig just for 1 person. Still, we share among 3 0r 4 and accompany many side dishes like potatoes, chili, or even tortillas.

Cuy Chactado

The guinea pig is coated in seasoned flour and deep-fried in vegetable oil until it becomes crunchy; in some restaurants, the chefs will use a big stone to deepen the pan for the guinea pig to be easily broken up. The deep-fried guinea pig is then served with potatoes and salad. This is called the Arequipa style

Ingredients:

  • 1 Guinea pig
  • 1/2 k of flour
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cumin
  • Oil
  • Potatoes
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 tomatoes
  • Cilantro
  • 2 lemonsCuy Chactado

Preparation:

Cuy: Depilate the guinea pig using hot water, remove the internal organs, wash, then pat it dry.

Seasoning: Mix the pepper, salt, cumin, oil, and rub the guinea pig in and out. Then cover the guinea pig in flour and put it in hot oil until it is crispy (it takes about 10 minutes).

Potatoes: You can add baked potatoes or fried slices

Salsa: Sliced the onions and wash them, slice tomatoes, add the cilantro, lemon, and mix it with salt to taste

Serve the guinea pic with potatoes, salsa, and other side dishes you like.

Cuy al Palo

Cuy al Palo or Guinea pig on a stick is typical to Peru, and it’s the most common way the locals prepare. In the countryside, the villagers don’t have access to an oven, so the best way to prepare is to roast in front of their “Qonchas” or wood-fired stoves. This style is possible to see in all the Sacred Valley, and it’s available for travelers.

Ingredients:

  • 1 guinea pigs (Cuy)
  • Huacatay
  • 2 pieces of garlic
  • Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cumin
  • 6 Potatoes
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 tomatoes
  • Cilantro
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 piece of wood to use as a stick (Washed and clean)
  • Chili Rellenos (optional on the side)
  • Tallarin al Horno (Oven Baked Fettuccine) Optional on the sideCuy al Palo

Preparation:

Cuy: Use hot water to remove hair from the cuy, then clean the internal organs properly. Use tweezers to remove the remaining hair and then pat it dry.

Seasoning: Mix garlic, pepper, salt, cumin, oil, and huacatay (also known as “John Henry,” Southern Marigold, or Black Mint) in a separate bowl. Depending on your location, the last ingredient may not be found, but if you are in Peru, you can find it in any local market; this ingredient gives a unique taste to the cuy.

Marination: Cover the entire guinea pig with the prepared seasoning from inside to outside. Then, please leave it to marinate for a period of time (at least 1 hour is recommended)

Baked Potatoes: Wash the potatoes properly, add salt when it is still wet, and then leave to dry. Then, it would be best if you baked the potatoes or you can get deep in oil.

Roast the guinea pig: Skewer the cuy and grilled on the fire; you must turn the stick from time to time until it is crispy and ready.

Salsa: Wash the tomatoes, onions and cut into slices, add coriander, and lemon, mix to taste with salt

You can serve the guinea pig with baked potatoes, salsa, chili Rellenos, or/and baked fettuccini. It’s important to know that we usually don’t serve a whole guinea pig for one person, but we have to share it and add side dishes such as potatoes, peppers, and even tortillas.

Pepian de Cuy

Pepián de cuy is a stew made from guinea pig meat with corn and seasoned with peppers, onions, and peanuts.

Ingredients:

  • 01 guinea pig
  • 02 yellow potatoes
  • ½ kilo of rice
  • 1 Onion
  • Roasted peanuts
  • Oil, salt, pepper, garlic, to tastePepian de Cuy

Preparation:

Cut the guinea pig into four pieces, fry it lightly, then bring it to a pot where it is cooked with corn, onion, garlic, pepper, and salt. Before removing from the fire, add roasted and ground peanuts to give it a pleasant flavor. Served with rice.

Pachamanca.

Pachamanca is a traditional way of cooking meat, vegetables, and fruits, we use hot stones, and all the ingredients are buried underground. This style has been around for centuries and is very popular in Andean communities. Due to its difficulty, this dish is prepared only for big celebrations and select dates.

At TreXperience, our chefs will prepare Pachamanca in every alternative trek of 3 days or more. During the Inca Trails, we do not prepare this dish due to fire restrictions.

The first step for Pachamanca is to create a small stone oven with a rock. To make this, first, you need to gather the rocks, wash them, prepare a circle on the ground, and built the oven carefully.

Once the oven is ready, you must start heating the rocks in the oven with a constant fire; the approximate time is about 3 hours until the rock become white.

Once the rocks are hot enough, you must place all ingredients between the rocks and bury them with enough soil that not air must come out. This will allow the meat to cook very fast and will keep its moisture. The cooking will take around 45 minutes.

Once the pachamanca is ready, remove with a shovel the soil on top and carefully remove the meat and vegetable, and you can serve.Cuy ala Pachamanca

Ingredient:

Meat: You must marinate the meat; one day before is better with spices depending on what kind of meat you desire. You can place guinea pig, alpaca, beef, lamb, fish, chicken, duck, turkey, and others. Also, you can put cheese in a pot.

Vegetables: Beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, fresh corn

Fruits: Bananas, pineapple

When it is time to open the oven, all the family will gather around to taste the meat; the cuy has a unique flavor when cooked in a Pachamanca. You can serve the pachamanca with salsa and preferred sauces.Guinea pig recipe - Pachamanca

 

Best guinea pig recipes – Written by Juan Coronel – Adventure Tour Guide and Travel Expert

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