Ocopa from the Quechua Oq’pa is a smooth, spicy sauce made from Huacatay leaves (Tagetes Minuta), roasted peanuts, aji mirasol (sun-dried chili peppers), soda crackers, garlic, evaporated milk (see full list of ingredients below), and served as a starter with boiled potatoes, hard-boiled egg, black olives on a bed of lettuce.
This dish is originally from the city of Arequipa where the majestic Condor flies and the Misti (volcano) sleeps.
The original recipe of yesteryear comes before the arrival of the Europeans. It was prepared without any dairy products and was transported in small pumpkin containers to be consumed during trips and labor work.
In those days, the sauce was made grinding all products with stones (Batan). There are still some rural towns in the mountains that uses ancient technique, but nowadays Peruvians use a blender to get the right consistency.
Covering potatoes with this sauce is a true delight. Imagine the results when parwns are also included!
You can find the recipe below, and remember that you can taste this wonderful Peruvian preparation during the Flavors Peru 30 course guided sampling menu.
Ocopa’s Ingredients (For 6-8 servings):
8-10 Ajies mirasol Sun-Dried Chilli Peppers
1 Fried onion
2 Garlic Cloves
Three soda crackers
200 Grams of white cheese
Oil in the necessary quantity
1 twig of Shame
1 sprig of cilantro
3/4 cup of evaporated milk
3 Tbs. Roasted Peanuts
Roast the aji mirasol, wash it thoroughly and remove the veins, cover with water, and bring the fire to boil. When it breaks the boil, remove, change the water and repeat the operation for three times (so isn’t too spicy).
Heat 1/4 cup of oil, add the ground aji, onion, garlic, cilantro, and shame. Cook for a few minutes. Blend the milk with a mixture of aji, peanuts, cookies, fresh cheese, and add oil. There should be a semi-thick cream. Cover a platter with lettuce leaves, arrange the parboiled and halved potatoes, bathe with the sauce and garnish with the boiled eggs.