Rural Peru takes centre stage in Martin Morales’ book Andina
- Credit: Dave Brown
Martin Morales’ book explores the ancient culinary traditions of his native Peru. He tells Emma Bartholomew there’s plenty more to unearth in the future
The food of Andina – Martin Morales’ two Peruvian restaurants and his new cookbook – is bang on trend.
Ingredients like quinoa, almond milk, amaranth and lucuma all populate the shelves of modern health food shops like Planet Organic.
But Martin’s ancestors “have been doing this stuff for thousands of years,” he told me as we sat in Andina in Shoreditch High Street, which opened four years ago.
Born in Peru – a country three times the size of France - Martin moved to London with his dad aged 11. He now returns three times a year, on the hunt for new ingredients and recipes.
While his first book, Ceviche: Peruvian Kitchen, showcases the food of the capital city Lima, he has just published his second.
Andina: The Heart of Peruvian Food celebrates his love for the rural, more wholesome and traditional food of the mountainous Andes.
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“If you go to Lima you have a wonderfully chaotic fusion of different cultures in one cuisine,” said Martin. “But if you go to the Andes that’s where it all started a thousand years ago, and we have got to tell these stories. Tradition is really beautiful. There’s so much depth in story telling and also in flavour and that’s what’s moved me so much.”
While part of the book shares recipes behind the fusion food served in Andina and its sister Soho restaurant Casita Andina, it also details how to make traditional dishes from the Andes’ 11 regions. Finally Martin pays homage to the picanteras – the ladies who run picanterías.
“This is our version of a picantería,” said Martin. “It’s a family-run restaurant created for the community and at the heart is a woman. Woman have always made an impact on my life from my grandmother and aunts who taught me how to cook. In Peru these ladies have been left behind in the excitement over the story of Peruvian food, and I wanted to pay homage to them.
“It’s by no means a complete book because there are hundreds of recipes in the Andes,” added Martin. “This is just the beginning of what we are presenting, and what customers are discovering. There’s a long way to go yet.”