One of the most famous dishes of Peruvian cuisine is Rocoto Relleno. It originated in Arequipa, a city located high in the Andes Mountains. Rocoto Relleno or Stuffed Hot Pepper is a rich colorful flavorful dish that looks like a tea pot. A cap full of pepper cut from the top lends it that enticing look.
One of the main street foods, Rocoto Relleno pours out from every street corner in Cuzco, a popular Andean city. Children and adult alike can’t resist the temptation of this hot dish. Though they appear as appetizers, they can really become stomach filling especially when accompanied with a potato dish called peruanita.
Rocoto – A Peruvian pepper
Rocoto is cultivated in Peru with its origin going back to Inca culture. It has a unique appearance resembling an apple. However, when cut in half, it resembles a tomato with black seeds. It has a distinctive fruity sweet aroma. It is commercially farmed in irrigated and volcanic soils of Arequipa though it is the most cold-tolerant of hot peppers. It is similar to bell peppers but with a thicker wall that makes stuffing easier.
Preparation of Rocoto Relleno
The preparation style varies across different regions of Peru. In Cuzco and Urcos, rocoto relleno is covered in an egg batter giving it a golden color while in Arequipa it is baked in an oven lending a raw look.
The seeds and veins are carefully removed from pepper so that the empty space can be used to stuff it. The base of the stuffing is popularly formed by ground beef and hard boiled eggs. One can also include pork along with it. A mixture of onion, olives and other spices including the base stuffing is prepared. Peppers are then filled up with this stuffing and placed in a baking dish. Finally the dish is placed on top of peeled potatoes, and a slice of cheese. It is then sprinkled with milk and baked in moderate oven. It is served hot with butter on top.