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Peruvian anticuchos

Anticuchos (singular anticucho, Quechua for Cut Stew Meat) are popular and inexpensive dishes that originated in Peru, also popular in other Andean states consisting of small pieces of grilled skewered meat.

Anticuchos can be found on street-carts and street food stalls (anticucheras). The meat may be marinated in vinegar and spices (such as cumin, ají pepper and garlic), and while anticuchos can be made of any type of meat, the most popular are made of beef heart (anticuchos de corazón). Anticuchos often come with a boiled potato or bread on the end of the skewer. A similar dish, shish-kebab is found in Mediterranean cuisine. In Peru it is a tradition from colonial times and is linked to the procession of Señor de los Milagros.[1]


Anticuchos can be traced as far back as the 16th century, when they were first encountered by the Spanish conquistadors. It was at this time that European ingredients such as garlic were added. It was a popular dish among the inhabitants of the Inca Empire, and it is currently popular throughout most South American countries. Americanized versions of anticuchos are sometimes made of non-organ meats.

According to the text file from the National Library in Lima (Peru), it is believed that the term comes from the quechua antikuchu (anti: 'Andes' + kuchu: 'court' or uchu: 'porridge, mix'). Anticuchos texts can be tracked in Spanish of the sixteenth century, when the conquistadors arrived to Peru. At that time were added to the anticuchos some European ingredients such as beef (which would replace the llama used at the time of the Inca empire) and garlic. In this regard, the writer Erika Fetzer mentions that according to tradition, originally anticuchos were prepared with meat and flame. The Spanish strung the meat on sticks as skewers.

The Spaniards also brought enslaved blacks, which were established in Lima and the coast of southern Chico de la Ciudad de los Reyes of the Vice-royalty of Peru. They adopted this dish (or adapted from that eaten in Africa).

In those days the Spanish dismissed all kinds of offal that was considered food for slaves. The Spaniards used non-offal meats out of the desire to have a dish that was more attractive to them. The presently used recipe, with its traditional flavor, specifically uses beef heart. In Peru, the tradition continues with the traditional name and ingredients.

Peruvian Ricardo Palma's speeches, Tradiciones Peruanas were published in 1833, mentioned the sale of anticuchos at 3 in the afternoon.

Anticuchos in the Andes[edit]

The traditional anticuchos is made with beef chunks of about 5x5 cm and onions on a metal skewer strung about 40 cm long and 3 x 3 mm, roasted.

Anticuchos are commonly prepared with different types of beef and to a lesser extent with chicken, usually cut into pieces of 2 x 2 cm, strung on a skewer of no more than 30 cm long, with pieces of sausage, Viennese and vegetables such as onions, bell peppers, carrots and mushrooms alternated on the skewer, just like cooking meat on a barbecue (asado).

Usually they're seasoned with salt to taste and thick and sometimes with vinegar or lemon juice. A popular dressing is a sauce made from garlic, onion and cilantro chopped, vinegar, lemon juice and beer, the sauce is spread on anticuchos with a bunch of parsley.

Anticuchos are, usually, not the main course of a meal, but instead an accompaniment to grilled meats along with other side dishes such as; choripanes, potatoes, sausages and salads.

Variants include smaller sticks of wood of 15 cm or less are called "skewers of meat."

Anticuchos are part of a group called traditional Peruvian cuisine. The greatest consumption in Peru is in July, during the celebration of Fiestas Patrias (Independence day) in fondas and BBQs.

In Bolivia, anticuchos are made with heart meat (commonly beef or chicken), accompanied with roast potatoes and some kind of peanut sauce.


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