Typisch bolivianische Nahrungsmittel (Quinua, Chuño, Charque, Maís, Coca, Chicha)
PLATOS TÍPICOS (Altiplano, Valle, Oriente)
Chuño (from Wikipedia, original here)
Chuño is a freeze-dried potato product traditionally made by Quechua and Aymara communities of Peru and Bolivia, and is known in various countries of South America, including Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile. It is a five-day process, obtained by exposing a frost-resistant variety of potatoes to the very low night temperatures of the Andean Altiplano, freezing them, and subsequently exposing them to the intense sunlight of the day (this being the traditional process). The word comes from Quechua ch'uñu, meaning frozen potato (wrinkled in the dialects of the Junín Region).
The existence of chuño dates back to before the time of the Inca Empire, based on findings of that have been made of the product at various archeological sites. Specifically they have been found at Tiwanaku, site of a culture which developed in the Collao Plateau, a geographic zone which includes territories of Peru and Bolivia.
After harvest, potatoes are selected for the production of chuño, typically small ones for ease of processing. These small potatoes are spread closely on flat ground, and allowed to freeze with low night temperatures, for approximately three nights.
Between the freezing nights, they are exposed to the sun, and they are trampled by foot. This eliminates what little water is still retained by the potatoes, and removes the skins, enabling subsequent freezing.
After this, they are exposed to the cold for two additional nights.
The final step is drying in the sun. The result is now called chuño, also known as papas secas. In Bolivia, white chuño is also called tunta. Among the varied uses of tuntas in traditional cuisine, one is as an accompaniment to Christmas celebration dishes. Called "picana", the tunta is cut in the middle, a piece of white cheese is inserted, and it is steamed.
Black chuño is that which is obtained directly from freezing, trampling, and refreezing. The product is not washed or exposed to water again; after freezing and trampling it is simply sun-dried.
Once dried, and with minimal care in storage, the product can last for a long time, even years.
Consumption is varied, from desserts to prepared dishes, as well as chuño flour, which is an essential ingredient in many dishes of Peruvian cuisine. "Chairo" is one of the most traditional Bolivian soups and it's made with chuño, meat and lots of vegetables.
«Tunta» o «chuño blanco» (white chuño)
White chuño is obtained by "washing" the frozen potatoes. The "washing" may take various forms. In Perú, the frozen potatoes are transported to a river, and deposited in pools. In Bolivia, the potatoes are spread on blankets or straw and constantly sprayed with water to moisten them.
Quinoa (from Wikipedia, original here)
Quinoa comes from the Andean region of South America, where it has been an important food for 6,000 years. Quinoa is generally undemanding and altitude-hardy, so it can be easily cultivated in the Andes up to about 4,000 meters. Even so, it grows best in well-drained soils and requires a relatively long growing season. In eastern North America, it is susceptible to a leaf miner that may reduce crop success; this leaf miner also affects the common weed Chenopodium album, but C. album is much more resistant.
Similar Chenopodium species were probably grown in North America before maize agriculture became popular. Chenopodiums were also used in Europe as greens. Fat Hen (Chenopodium album) which has a widespread distribution in the Northern Hemisphere, produces edible seeds and greens much like quinoa, but in lower quantities. Caution should be exercised in collecting this weed, however, because when growing in heavily fertilized agricultural fields it can accumulate dangerously high concentrations of nitrates.
The Incas, who held the crop to be sacred, referred to quinoa as "chisaya mama" or "mother of all grains", and it was the Inca emperor who would traditionally sow the first seeds of the season using 'golden implements'. During the European conquest of South America quinoa was scorned by the Spanish colonists as "food for Indians", and even actively suppressed, due to its status within indigenous non-Christian ceremonies.
Maize (from Wikipedia, original here)
Maize (Zea mays ssp. mays) is a cereal grain that was domesticated in Mesoamerica. It is called corn in the United States, Canada, and Australia, but in other countries that term may refer to other cereal grains. It is called mealies in southern Africa. Hybrid maize is favored by farmers over conventional varieties for its high grain yield, due to heterosis ("hybrid vigor"). Maize is one of the first crops for which genetically modified varieties make up a significant proportion of the total harvest.
While some maize varieties grow 7 m (23 ft) tall at certain locations, commercial maize has been bred for a greatest height of 2.5 m (9 ft). Sweetcorn is usually shorter than field-corn varieties.
Coca is traditionally cultivated in the lower altitudes of the eastern slopes of the Andes, or the highlands depending on the species grown. Since ancient times, its leaves have been used as a by the indigenous people of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, and northern Argentina; it also has religious and symbolic significance. Since the 1980s, the cultivation of coca has become controversial because it is used for the manufacture of the drug cocaine, which is illegal in most countries for recreational use, but legal for medical uses, i.e., nose and throat anaesthesia.
Good fresh samples of the dried leaves are uncurled, are of a deep green on the upper, and a grey-green on the lower surface, and have a strong tea-like odor; when chewed they produce a faint numbness in the mouth, and have a pleasant, pungent taste. They are traditionally chewed with lime to increase the release of cocaine from the leaf. Bad specimens, usually old or stale leaves have a camphoraceous smell and a brownish colour, and lack the pungent taste.
In the Andes, the indigenous peoples have been chewing the leaves of the coca plant for millennia. They traditionally carried a woven pouch called a chuspa or huallqui in which they kept a day's supply of coca leaves, along with a small amount of ilucta or uipta, which is made from pulverized unslaked limye or from the ashes of the quinoa plant. A tiny quantity of ilucta is chewed together with the coca leaves; it softens their astringent flavor and activates the alkaloids. Other names for this basifying substance are llipta in Peru and the Spanish word lejía, lye in English. Many of these materials are salty in flavor, but there are variations. The most common base in the La Paz area of Bolivia is a product known as lejía dulce (sweet lye) which is made from quinoa ashes mixed with anise and cane sugar, forming a soft black putty with a sweet and pleasing licorice flavor. In some places, baking soda is used under the name bico.
The practice of chewing coca was most likely originally a simple matter of survival. The coca leaf contained many essential nutrients in addition to its more well-known mood-altering alkaloid. It is rich in protein and vitamins, and it grows in regions where other food sources are scarce. The perceived boost in energy and strength provided by the cocaine in coca leaves was also very functional in an area where oxygen is scarce and extensive walking is essential. The coca plant was so central to the worldview of the Yunga and Aymara tribes of South America that distance was often measured in units called "cocada", which signified the number of mouthfuls of coca that one would chew while walking from one point to another. Cocada can also be used as a measurement of time, meaning the amount of time it takes for a mouthful of coca to lose its flavor and activity. In testament of the significance of coca to indigenous cultures, it is widely believed that the word "coca" most likely originally simply meant "plant," in other words, coca was not just a plant but the plant.
Coca was also a vital part of the religious cosmology of the Andean tribes in the pre-Inca period as well as throughout the Inca Empire (Tahuantinsuyu). Coca was historically employed as an offering to the Sun, or to produce smoke at the great sacrifices; and the priests, it was believed, must chew it during the performance of religious ceremonies, otherwise the gods would not be propitiated. Coca is still held in veneration among the indigenous and mestizo peoples of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia and northern Argentina and Chile. It is believed by the miners of Cerro de Pasco to soften the veins of ore, if masticated (chewed) and thrown upon them (see also Cocomama). Coca leaves play a crucial part in offerings to the apus (mountains), Inti (the sun), or Pachamama (the earth). Coca leaves are often read in a form of divination analogous to reading tea leaves in other cultures.
The activity of chewing coca is called mambear, chacchar or acullicar, borrowed from Quechua, or in Bolivia, picchar, derived from the Aymara language. The Spanish masticar is also frequently used. Even today, chewing coca leaves is a common sight in indigenous communities across the central Andean region, particularly in places like the mountains of Bolivia, where the cultivation and consumption of coca is as much a part of the national culture similar to chicha, like wine is to France or beer is to Germany. It also serves as a powerful symbol of indigenous cultural and religious identity, amongst a diversity of indigenous nations throughout South America. Bags of coca leaves are sold in local markets and by street vendors. Commercially manufactured coca teas are also available in most stores and supermarkets, including upscale suburban supermarkets. Mate de coca, sometimes called "coca tea" is consumed in many South American countries.
Coca is used industrially in the cosmetics and food industries. The Coca-Cola Company used to buy 115 tons of coca leaf from Peru and 105 tons from Bolivia per year, which it used as an ingredient in its Coca-Cola formula (famously a trade secret). The cocaine itself does not end up in the drink nowadays, but the non-drug containing flavourings are still used. The cocaine is generally sold to the pharmaceutical industry where it is used for various anaesthetic procedures.
Chicha is a fermented beverage brewed by the indigenous people of the Andean region, dating back to the Inca Empire when women were taught the techniques of brewing chicha in Acllahuasis (feminine schools). It is traditionally prepared from a specific kind of yellow maize (jora) and is usually referred to as chicha de jora. It has a pale straw color, a slightly milky appearance, and a slightly sour aftertaste. It is drunk either young and sweet or mature and strong. It contains a slight amount of alcohol, 1-3%.
Typical bolivian dishes (List from Wikipedia, altered)