Soups are the ultimate comfort food. And in Peru, soups carry an extra punch. From the coast, the Andes and the jungle, you will find creative and very fulfilling soups created with love and regional ingredients.
Of course, we could add many more but these are some of the all-time favorite Peruvian soups that everyone should try at least once.
Parihuela is a soup made with fish and seafood stock. It traditionally includes all the fish, scallops, shrimp and mussels you could want. The red hue is due to the stock’s base of tomatoes, cilantro, garlic and onion, and ají. This soup is full of phosphorus. Check out the recipe for this Peruvian soup here.
Green and with a bed of rice at the bottom of the bowl, aguadito de pollo is a classic post-party meal. You will find many wedding or birthday parties in Peru end in the wee hours of the night with guests gulping down the soup. It’s also known as a breakfast soup, or levantamuertos, because it will bring any person that’s hungover back to life.
The main ingredients are chicken or turkey, chicken stock, lots of cilantro, aji amarillo and vegetables like choclo, peas, and red pepper. Cooked rice is added at the end to make it heartier. Here’s the recipe.
Sancochado is a beast of a soup. So much so that its ingredients are typically served separately from the stock. Made with big chunks of cabbage, leek, parsnip, carrots, yucca, sweet potato, potatoes, corn and meat, eating this soup never gets boring. All the ingredients mentioned above are served on a plate and the flavorful stock comes separately in a bowl.
In places like El Torito in Surco, famously known for its exceptional sancochado, you can get limitless amounts of stock to finish up the mountain of vegetables and meat. What’s not to love about this dish? It’s definitely one of the top must-try Peruvian soups. Make it with this recipe.
Though this soup is a product of the fusion between Italian and Peruvian cuisine, the version that is known and loved by Peruvians doesn’t look like the soup Italian immigrants brought with them, which was made with tomato and grated cheese.
The version that many Peruvians will say they remember their grandmothers making includes ground beef, angel hair pasta, a fried egg, evaporated milk (you can leave it out, if you wish), and (in many recipes) the tomato has been replaced by ají panca. It’s a quick and easy recipe to make at home.
Shambar is a staple in the northern city of Trujillo. It’s known as the “Monday soup” because it’s mostly or only prepared on Mondays.
This powerful soup is made with a mix of wheat, beans, garbanzos, pork skin and ham, and topped off with hierba buena. The flavor is quite special and different from other soups. Have a go at preparing it with this recipe.
Chupe de camarones could easily be considered Peru’s most beloved soup worldwide. It originated in Arequipa, where river prawns are abundant and delicious, making them the star of the soup. No visit to Arequipa is complete without a steaming bowl of this rich concoction. Recipe here.
Caldo de gallina is served all over the country and it’s especially delicious and popular in markets. It’s a simple recipe but what makes this soup special is the thick, flavorful broth.
A classic hangover soup, the Peruvian version packs a punch. Along with a hearty piece of hen, you will get potatoes and noodles to slurp on. It is usually finished off with a hard-boiled egg, a drizzle of lime juice, some rocoto, and chives. Recipe here.
People who travel to Cusco often know that one of the first things you should do is eat adobo de cerdo, particularly early in the morning.
You’ll also find chicharron (pork deep fried in its own grease) at the same restaurants that serve this soup. Adobo is one of those Peruvian soups that will (magically) disappear from your plate in just a few minutes and will leave you wanting more. Make it with this recipe.
Don’t let the name discourage you from trying it. This soup is popular in markets, especially in the highland of Peru. The original caldo de cabeza is made from the stock of lamb head cooked for two hours before the rice and potatoes are added.
When served, the client can pick to have pieces of tongue, eye, ears or hooves inside the soup. It is definitely an acquired taste for many foreigners. Recipe here.
Yellow, starchy and with a very particular flavor, olluco (an Andean tuber also called olluquito) is cut into strips and cooked into a soup with either chicken or beef stock.
Sopa de olluco is typical of the sierra and lovingly cooked in homes or breakfast.
Inchicapi is a creamy chicken stock soup with peanuts and cilantro found in the Peruvian jungle. This Peruvian soup is hearty and lovely to eat at any time of day. Try it at home with this recipe.
We encourage you try these Peruvian soups before leaving the country. Siete sopas is a great option to get a taste of these if you’re in Lima.
Cover photo: www.recetasnestle.com.pe
This article has been updated from the original version published on October 26, 2017.
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