I’d long heard about this dish, but I didn’t try it until I visited the fabulous Huancahuasi Restaurant in Huancayo recently. Local chef Dave Zavala recommended the dish, and then suggested topping it with cheese. It’s quinotto-style (like a risotto but with quinoa), only creamier and more indulgent. You can eat it just as it is, or as a side for a stew. — Martin Morales, author of Andina
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1/2 Teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 Cup white quinoa, cooked
- 3/4 Cups single cream or evaporated milk
- 7 Ounces queso fresco or feta, cubed
- 3 1/2 Ounces Cheddar cheese, grated
- A handful of mint leaves, finely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for about 10 minutes until softened and lightly golden. Add the garlic and cumin and cook for 2–3 minutes more until the garlic has softened but not browned.
Add the quinoa and the cream or evaporated milk to the pan. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and simmer very gently for about 5 minutes, then add the queso fresco or feta, folding it through the quinoa mixture. When the cheese has warmed through, remove the pan from the heat.
Preheat your grill to its highest setting.
Transfer the quinoa mixture to a large ovenproof dish, or divide it between 4 individual serving dishes and sprinkle the Cheddar over. Put the dish or small dishes under the preheated grill for about 5–7 minutes until the cheese turns golden brown and is bubbling. Sprinkle with the chopped mint and serve immediately.
Recipes excerpted with permission from Andina: The Heart of Peruvian Food by Martin Morales (Quadrille November 2017)