A few items in these recipes may be new to you. If you have trouble finding ingredients, be sure to ask at your local grocery — many markets have Latin American sections. Or online, try: store.amigofoods.com or latinmerchant.com
Aji is a hot pepper particular to Peruvian cooking. It packs a strong kick, but it’s mellowed by a round, sweet flavor. Aji is often sold in jars as a puree. Substitute by pureeing one roasted red bell pepper and one roasted jalapeño.Maiz Cancha is a traditional Peruvian snack made from large dried corn kernels. Give them a quick fry for a toasty, crunchy, popcorn-like flavor (although they won’t puff up like popcorn).
Queso Fresco is a fresh, lightly tangy farmer’s cheese. A mild feta is a good substitute.
Yuca, also spelled yucca, is a root vegetable, also called cassava, manioc, and madioca, depending on where you are in South America. Yuca plays the same role as potato — mashed, fried, boiled, or stewed.