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  • Writer's pictureCecilia Tupac

Peruvian Anticuchos Recipe: Grilled Heart Skewers

Peruvian Anticucho Recipe

Discover more about Anticuchos, a unique and affordable grilled meat dish enjoyed across Peru and Bolivia. In this blog, we'll explore the history and significance of this popular street food and provide a guide on how you can make it yourself at home.

What are Anticuchos?

Anticuchos are a traditional Peruvian dish consisting of marinated beef heart that is skewered and grilled to perfection. Typically sold in the evenings on Lima's bustling streets, each vendor crafts their own special marinade, a rich blend of spices and seasonings that the meat absorbs over several hours. While beef heart is the most common form of anticuchos, variations with chicken and seafood also exist.

What is the History of the Anticucho?

Peruvian Anticucho Recipe

Deriving from the Quechua word "antikuchu," which translates to "cut stew meat," anticuchos have a rich and fascinating history. Grilling meat over open flames has been a culinary tradition in Peru for centuries, with locals historically using llama as the meat of choice. Following the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in the 1500s, beef became more prevalent, but organ meat was typically disregarded by the Spanish viceroyalty and instead given to the slaves.

Over time, the herbs and spices used in this recipe evolved, gradually transforming into the anticucho recipe that is beloved today.

How are Anticuchos Eaten?

Anticuchos are typically served with boiled potatoes, corn, and a spicy sauce. Excited crowds often queue outside their favorite carretilla (street cart) to enjoy a smoky and flavourful skewer or two.

Fortunately, the popularity of this dish means that anticucho lovers don't have to travel far. These classic beef skewers can be found in every district of the capital city, with street stalls (anticucheras) and restaurants specializing solely in this beloved dish.

Why are Anticuchos so Popular?

Anticuchos Recipe - How to make Anticuchos

What is regarded by much of the world as a cut to throw away, beef heart has become so popular in Peru that it can now be found in some of the country's most prestigious restaurants. Many adventurous visitors flock to Peru with the sole purpose of trying this national delicacy and are often highly impressed.

Whether it's the relative affordability and accessibility of anticuchos, their nutritional value, or the enticing cooking technique that has made this dish so popular, one thing is clear: anticuchos are as popular now as they have ever been. This dish remains an integral part of Peru's culinary culture.

What do Anticuchos taste like?

Anticuchos offer a harmonious blend of smoky, spicy, tangy, and garlicky flavours, complemented by the charred and juicy texture of grilled meat. Beef heart has a rich and meaty flavour and is typically firmer than other popular beef cuts, which can make this dish slightly chewy.

The unique taste of this dish comes from the marinade. Garlic, vinegar, oregano, and cumin are combined with a native Peruvian chili called ají panca, which gives the anticucho its bright red color.

How to make Anticuchos

While making Anticuchos isn't too difficult, it can be a bit messy and requires some preparation. Follow the steps below to prepare Anticuchos in your own home:

  • Prepare the Meat: Start by cleaning and cutting the beef heart, removing any of the excess fat and cut into small-sized pieces.

  • Make the Marinade and combine: Mix vinegar, aji panca, garlic, vegetable oil in a large bowl along with a range of herbs and spices including oregano, cumin, salt and pepper. Add in the beef heart into the marinade and leave it to absorb the juices for several hours (the longer the better).

  • Skewer the Meat: Add three to four pieces of beef heart onto each skewer.

  • Grill the Anticuchos: Preheat the grill to medium-high heat, and cook for 3-5 minutes per side, regularly basting with the marinade to add extra flavour. Ensure the meat is cooked inside and not only charred on the outside.

  • Add the Garnish: Anticuchos are traditionally served with boiled potatoes, corn and a spicy ají or rocoto sauce for dipping.

Peruvian Anticuchos Recipe

If you prefer a video recipe demonstrating how to make Anticuchos by a Peruvian chef, check out the video below:

Anticuchos Ingredients

Anticucho Marinade:

  • 600 gr of beef heart

  • 100 ml of red or white vinegar

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons of aji panca paste

  • 5 cloves of garlic (in a paste)

  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper (to taste)

  • 1 teaspoon of cumin (to taste)

  • 1 teaspoon of oregano (to taste)

  • Salt (to taste)

  • 1 splash of beer

  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce

  • 1 bay leaf

Rocoto Sauce:

  • 1 rocoto pepper (or 1 normal red pepper)

  • 1/4 of cup of water (approximately)

  • 1 small chili

  • Spring onions (to taste)

  • 1 red onion

  • 2 tablespoons of vinegar or lime juice

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon of oregano


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