Recipe for peace: Juane de Yuca (PERU)

As part of our Recipes for Peace series, each week we feature an inspiring dish to celebrate the varied - and tasty - ways in which food can play a role in building peace.

This week's recipe comes from Marlith Tenazoa Del Aguila, who runs a Peruvian catering business called Her food reflects her background, raising the profile of Amazonian cuisine. 

Marlith Tenazoa Del Aguila’s juane de yuca recipe (PERU)

Juane de Yuca is a recipe which has been passed from generation to generation in the Peruvian jungle, from the indigenous community to today's society. It is enjoyed throughout the year, especially during the elaborate San Juan Festival, which is celebrated annually by all of Peru’s jungle population in honour of Saint John the Baptist - the patron saint of the Amazon, a guardian of all the rivers of the region.

As part of the festivities, the Juane parcels are exchanged between families, friends and strangers, and everybody comes together in union to help out. For me, this is a synonym of peace. 

Ingredients for 5-8 people

  • 1 kg of yam (mashed) - this is enough for 5 medium juanes (parcels)
  • 1 fillet of white fish (e.g. seabass) per parcel
  • 6 red onions (finely chopped)
  • A few cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • 1 bunch of coriander (finely chopped)
  • Garlic and chicken stock cubes (Avecrem)
  • Oregano
  • Cumin powder
  • Pepper
  • 1 ½ cups of oil
  • Salt
  • Banana leaves
  • Cooking string

Cooking instructions

  • Marinate the fish in 1/3 of the onions, garlic, oil and spices for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile fry the remaining onions and garlic in oil, then add cumin, oregano and pepper. 
  • When this is ready, mix together the mashed yam and coriander, and then add it to the fried onions, garlic and spices.
  • Divide this yuca mix into 10 parts - 2 parts per parcel.
  • To make your parcels, lay one part of the mix onto a banana leaf. Place one fillet of fish on top, then cover with the second part of the yuca mix - so the fish is completely covered. 
  • Fold over the sides and ends of the banana leaf, and tie the parcel with string. 
  • To cook, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, and add the stock cubes. Then lower the heat to a simmer, and put the parcels in.
  • Leave to simmer for one hour.
  • To serve, open the banana leaf and place the parcel on a plate.
  • You can garnish the dish with roughly chopped red onions, tomatoes, red chillies and coriander, seasoned to taste.

Marlith has previously worked in London restaurants, including Tierra Peru in Islington, and is part of a social enterprise and roaming restaurant called Mazi Mas, which provides migrant women with the opportunity to pursue their culinary passions.  

In September 2014, Marlith presented a week of Peruvian food at our Conflict Kitchen London - an innovative pop-up restaurant dedicated to discussing peace.