The Starches that Fuel the Peruvian Diet

No Peruvian meal is complete without a starch. Though famous for the hundreds of potato varietals, many other starchy items such as corn, wheat, rice, and pasta, have become a fixated part of the Peruvian diet. Oftentimes, a typical dish will serve two starches such as rice with pasta, or potatoes with white bread. The vast majority of these starches lack pigment (e.g. white rice and white pasta), and many of these items are served fried and/or are heavily salted. Converting products such as brown rice into white rice turns the food item into simple sugars and removes the bulk of the fiber and nutrients. Though undeniably tasty, a return to unadulterated products (e.g. whole grains, brown rice) could help keep blood sugar levels from spiking, which is especially important in Trujillo which has a high prevalence of Type II diabetes.

Woman in a corn field.

Woman in a corn field.

Cancha: Fried corn. This is a classic snack found at restaurants and bars.

Cancha: Fried corn. This is a classic snack found at restaurants and bars.

Papa amarilla in Cajamarca. This is the most popular and pervasive potato in Peru. It is also the starchiest.

Papa amarilla in Cajamarca. This is the most popular and pervasive potato in Peru. It is also the starchiest.

Corn and tamales (made of corn) in a stroller.

Corn and tamales (made of corn) in a stroller.

Corn products sale in the market in Chachapoyas.

Corn products sale in the market in Chachapoyas.

Rice with pasta. It is not unusual to pair carbs with carbs in Peru.

Rice with pasta. It is not unusual to pair carbs with carbs in Peru.

Boiled corn with butter is a popular street snack. The kernals are thick and juicy.

Boiled corn with butter is a popular street snack. The kernals are thick and juicy.

Corn, corn, and corn for sale.

Corn, corn, and corn for sale.

Picarones (i.e. fried pumpkin dough)

Picarones (i.e. fried pumpkin dough)

Potatoes found at 3500 meters above sea level. Beautiful and rarely consumed by the majority of Peruvians.

Potatoes found at 3500 meters above sea level. Beautiful and rarely consumed by the majority of Peruvians.

Potatoes from the Andeas.

Potatoes from the Andeas.

Pancake breakfast with coca leaf tea on Lake Titikaka. There were no accompaniments to the cooked dough.

Pancake breakfast with coca leaf tea on Lake Titikaka. There were no accompaniments to the cooked dough.

More fried dough. These vendors are everywhere in Trujillo.

More fried dough. These vendors are everywhere in Trujillo.

Peruvian hamburgers- The buns dominate all of the contents. 

Peruvian hamburgers- The buns dominate all of the contents. 

Fried pumpkin dough

Fried pumpkin dough

In the bus station, these are for sale. I had to ask the store owner to confirm that it was literally just a white hot dog bun with strawberry jam. 

In the bus station, these are for sale. I had to ask the store owner to confirm that it was literally just a white hot dog bun with strawberry jam. 

Fancy breads using heirloom grains from Chicha in Arequipa.

Fancy breads using heirloom grains from Chicha in Arequipa.

Humitas, a traditional cheese-filled tamale from Cajamarca, made of maize, with more corn (mote) on the side.

Humitas, a traditional cheese-filled tamale from Cajamarca, made of maize, with more corn (mote) on the side.

Juane, a typical dish from the jungle. This dish is mostly rice- don't be deceived by the bit of chicken and olives.

Juane, a typical dish from the jungle. This dish is mostly rice- don't be deceived by the bit of chicken and olives.