While I was in Peru this time around, I set out to explore more than just food, I explored its products as well. Peru is such a rich country in terms of its agricultural landscape that it has brought us diversity. It is this diversity and richness in products that have allowed Peru to create the variety and abundance of dishes we have.
However, behind the dishes, lies the product. In Peru, people use a lot of natural products to condiment and prepare their food, from herbs to spices to powders and grains to sugars. Three products I discovered and learned more about during my trip this time around were Panela, Kiwicha and Maca Powder.
All three of these products are highly used in Peru, especially in the Andes region of Peru. They have tremendous health benefits and can even be considered to be “superfoods.” In my post today I explain to you what they are, what benefits they hold and how I incorporate them in morning oats “risotto.”
I personally love mornings. I think they are the best part of the day, if you make the most of them of course. One of the ways I like to do that is by getting up early. The other way is by making a delicious and nutritious breakfast!
I usually like to alternate my breakfasts between sweet and savoury and play around a lot between oats and eggs. One of my go to breakfast meals is the classic oatmeal but I like to pack it with protein and other goodies to make it a super-oatmeal bowl.
I like my oatmeal to be very dense and I like to use steel cut oats because I can get the “al dente” taste to my oatmeal. So it only made sense to craft and plate my oatmeal as a risotto!
But before we get to how to make your morning oat “risotto,” let’s explore a little more about Panela, Kiwicha, and Maca Powder.
Panela is a raw, unrefined cane sugar from Peru. It has a light and sweet molasses taste and warm caramel undertones. Panela is made by boiling and drying of the raw sugarcane juice, which not only allows for the retention of essential constituents of sugar cane such as trace minerals, vitamins, amino acids, protein and antioxidants. This process also makes Panela very aromatic and flavourful.
Kiwicha is unheard to most here in North America. It is an ancient peruvian superfood seed that resembles the popular and known superfood Quinoa. Just like Quinoa, Kiwicha has many superfood benefits. Kiwicha can come in its grain form, “popped,” and flakes. I like to use the kiwicha flakes, “Hojuelas de Kiwicha,” because they are light and almost dissolve when mixed into the base. Kiwicha adds a variety of nutrients to your bowl as it has anti-carcinogenic, anti-hypertensive, anti-oxidant, and anti-lipidemic properties. It also contains all 10 essential amino acids, is gluten-free, high in fiber, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and manganese!
Maca Powder comes from the Maca root which grows in the Andes region of Peru. The roots are pulled from the ground and laid out to sun dry for 10-14 days, after which they are processed into Maca powder. Maca is a great supplement to add to your diet as it can help you gain muscle, increase strength, boost energy and improve exercise performance. It is highly nutritious as it contains various vitamins minerals, as well as it is low in fat with a good source of carbs, protein, and fiber.
Now that you know a little more about what makes my oatmeal a little more nutritious than others, it’s time to get down to the recipe. The recipe is quite simple, just like making regular oatmeal, however there are a few add-ins at certain times during its cooking process.
The toppings can be left up to your tastes and creativity! In the winter months, I like to use nuts, bee pollen, and frozen berries. However, during the summer I like to make use of all the local produce from fresh berries to edible flowers!
*Makes 2 servings