Thursday, September 18, 2014
A palliative from your Jewish grandmother when you are sick, or one of many preparations from Campbell's for when you are lazy, this soup goes down easily.
Except when it doesn't. Every culture has their chicken soup, but not everyone can eat it like a local. Or, at least I can't.
I first ordered a dieta de pollo in Puno, Peru. The delectable simplicity of angel hair pasta and a few carrots and greens makes this soup a soothing meal. For Peruvians, soup is a just a starting point - a kick starter.
Copying other diners I added some diced chili peppers from a plate of condiments. They looked colorful, small and innocuous, just something to brighten up the bowl. What I didn't mimic was the removal of the peppers from the stock.
Busy talking, my soup became so spicy hot that I had to ask the waiter to bring me a new bowl. At the time, my very first bowl of dieta de pollo, cost around $1 so I could make a tourist's mistake and still have lunch.
Aji amarillo and aji rocotto, have been ingredients in Peruvian foods since ancient times. The capsaicin content of chili peppers has been linked to anti-bacterial, anti-carinogenic and anti-diabetic benefits and too much makes your mouth go numb. Chili peppers are high in Vitamin C. Whatever benefits you want to derive, less is more.
Pepper power comes from slowly acquired tolerance.