The Cordillera Blanca in the Andes is the highest tropical mountain chain in the world, with peaks reaching over 6,000 meters above sea level. Here, at altitudes between 3,200 and 3,800 meters, some indigenous communities preserve three local varieties of lupin (tarwi in the Quechua language), a delicious and nutritious legume. Lupin, known locally as chocho, is grown in at least five different districts in the province of Huaylas with varying altitudes and climates. The light, sandy soil in the area is suited to the cultivation of the legume, which dislikes clay or waterlogged soils. It is not exactly clear how long lupin has been grown in the province, but its origins here date back to the pre-Colombian era. Many archeological finds, including crockery and fabrics, depict lupin plants and seeds.
The lupin plant has purple and white flowers. Each plant produces between 10 and 12 pods, each of which contain five or six seeds. These round seeds are very small and can be different colors, like white, white with a black eye, white speckled with black or pale cream. The flesh is bitter, so the beans must be left in running water for three days and three nights before being consumed.
Appreciated by the communities, the lupin is highly nutritious and used in many local dishes. The most common traditional recipe is picante, a dish of lupin beans, potatoes, yellow peppers, onion and garlic, served with toasted corn and rocoto (a type of chili pepper). Another typical dish of the province of Huaylas is ceviche de chocho, made with lupin beans, onion, tomato, rocoto, lemon and coriander. Some more recent experiments, like lupin ice cream, show the legume’s potential versatility.
Huaylas lupin is still little known outside its local area. So, the Presidium also wants to promote it in Lima and Peru’s other main cities, working particularly with chefs and local institutions. The Ancash department’s important gastronomic heritage, particularly in the Callejon de Huaylas area, and the growing interest in quality food in the country offer possibilities for the marketing of this legume and the traditional dishes and recipes based on lupin.
Caraz, Huaylas, Mato, Pamparomás and Pueblo Libre districts, Huaylas province, Ancash department
Presidium supported by
Fondo Italo Peruviano
Agenzia Italiana di Cooperazione allo Sviluppo
In collaboration with
Fondazione Albero della Vita
Isaías Pablo Huamán Figueroa