Seasonal Vegetarian Delight, Yuyo Jaucha
By Hebert Edgardo Huamani Jara (translated by David Knowlton)
A seasonal dish called Jaucha (how-chaw) is only found from October through the beginning of March in Cuzco. It is one of the region’s favorites and is found presently in different streets and markets of the city. This dish is generally eaten when strong rains threaten Cuzco and is associated with water and growth. The city’s native population loves it and delights in its salty taste and great nutritional value though it is little known by foreigners, including the hordes of tourists that come to Cuzco.
Unlike most other regional dishes it is almost entirely free of fats. It is made from the greens of a plant called “nabo” which in English is generally translated as “turnip.” In Quechua the plant is called “jaucha” from which comes the dish’s name. Accompanied by boiled dried corn kernels called “mote”– and in English generally called “hominy”– slong with toasted and boiled broad beans, known as “habas”, this dish is a veritable fiesta of color. Its presentation is a delight as is its combination of flavors.
The local women who make and sell the dish must get up very early to go to the Grau Bridge in suburban Santiago to buy fresh nabo greens from people who bring them from rural areas of Huarocondo and Isucacha.
This dish gets its flavor and color from the combination of ingredients, but also from the way in which the dish is prepared. Almost always it is made over a wood fire and takes about an hour to prepare before it is placed in large aluminum pots which are then wrapped in cloth to keep the dish warm. And in this way it is transported to the markets and streets of the city for sale to the town’s inhabitants.
Though the dish is easy to prepare, eating it gives one such satisfaction that it is an unforgettable meal.
Mrs. Saturnina has prepared and sold Jaucha for more than twenty-five years from the 3rd door of the San Pedro Market every day of the week from 11 am to 3 pm. She says that she learned to make the dish when she was very young from her own mother who also made and sold Jaucha. Just like the family of Mrs. Saturnina there are many families who make a living this season by preparing this important dish that ties people to the earth’s seasons.
Without doubt, this simple, vegetarian dish from highland Cuzco ‘, will add to Peru’s gastronomic boom. But only those of us from Cuzco can make it known since, otherwise, it receives very little publicity in the face of the publicity machine from the coast.
The dish is prepared in the following way.
__The turnip greens are well washed and then shredded before being boiled in abundant to which soda has been added to keep the green’s color.
–The greens are then drained and from them are formed balls of nabo.
- The kernels of corn and the toasted broad beans are brought to a boil until they are soft.
-Potato is boiled and then cut into cubes.
-For the dressing julienned red onion, ground garlid, and ground cumin are fried in lard according to the taste of each person.
-The dressing is mixed with the nabo greens and the boiled potatoes in cubes and then some is placed on each plate.
-To this is added the white, reconstituted hominy and the broad beans.
Then the dish is served and enjoyed.
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