We arrive in the morning at the hotel Los Horcones de Tucume, situated just 30 minutes outside of Chiclayo in Northern Peru. Helena is there to meet and greet us. She will be our teacher for our cooking class and will tell us everything about the Mochica Cooking, which is called La Pachamanca, and which consists in cooking ingredients that had been marinated for at least two hours in a clay pot in a big adobe oven.
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1.Each one of us gets his / her apron and have a look at the ingredients: sucking pig, hen, chicken, camote (sweet potatoes), platanos (plantains) and peppers. The boys start to puncture the hen and the chicken so that the marinade can penetrate easily. They then stuff them with rosemary and bay leaves as a bouquet garni.
2. We prepare the marinade in a big salad bowl : Chicha de jora (made out of fermented corn), salt (actually quite some salt), pepper, garlic puree and puree of spicy yellow pepper (aji), oregano, bay leaves, parsley, cilantro and some fresh basil.
3. Now we prepare in a big clay pot (like the ones that you can find in Huancas, close to Chachapoyas) the ingredients: on a bed of parsley we put the pieces of the sucking pig, the hen and the chicken. On top we pour the marinade and cover generously with basil, cilantro and rosemary.
4. Cover and let marinade for at least 2 hours ! A Pachamanca cooking class is fun for the whole family !
In another clay pot we put the sweet potatoes and the plantains, still with their skin. The peppers will be cooked aside in still another pot, and we will use them to make a Aji-Salsa with peppers.
As we are only 4 people, we won’t cook in a big hole in the garden, like for the traditional Pachmanca, but in a traditional adobe oven. It is already heated up with wood and after the 2-hour marinating time, we put our three clay pots in the oven for cooking. We close the oven in front as well as the aeration on the side.
Two hours later, we open the oven again, the smell is fantastic ! Helena puts all the ingredients on nice serving dishes and we enjoy a great lunch in a calm and relaxing ambiance.