David Loftus

Fire, Stone & Earth Ancient Cooking. This dish and its cooking technique are among the oldest in the Andes and some of the best examples are found in the region of Pasco. Traditionally made to celebrate special occasions, pachamanca will feed a small gathering. You’ll need about ten large banana leaves, a pile of large stones and about five hessian sacks.


Quantity Ingredient
1kg pork belly, on the bone, cut into thick slices
8 chicken thighs, on the bone, skin on
8 large potatoes
4 sweet potatoes
1 large cassava, peeled and cut into large chunks
400g choclo corn
400g broad beans
400ml Torrejas de Sachaca, rocoto llactan sauce, to serve

For the marinade

Quantity Ingredient
300ml olive oil
100ml red wine vinegar
100ml see method for ingredients
or dry cider
200g see method for ingredients, huacatay herb paste
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
freshly ground black pepper


  1. First, make the marinade. Whisk together all the ingredients in a small jug and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Put the pork belly and chicken thighs in a large bowl and pour over the marinade. Rub the marinade into the meat. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge overnight. Remove the meat from the fridge at least 1 hour before you start cooking.
  3. Prepare the pit. Dig a 60cm-square and 50cm-deep hole, reserving the removed earth. Moisten the sides of the hole, patting to make them firm. When the sides are dry, use kindling and a few logs to make a fire in the bottom. Put a metal grate or rack over the top of the hole and cover with 15–20 large, clean stones or pebbles (each needs to be about the size of a large fist). You will need enough stones to (eventually) almost fill the hole. Allow the stones to heat up for about 30 minutes until very hot.
  4. Wearing fire-proof gloves, pile the hot stones onto a metal tray. Remove the grate or rack and put a single layer of stones at the bottom of the hole on top of what remains of your fire. Cover with a layer of banana leaves. Brush the marinade from the meat and place it on top of the banana leaves. Cover the meat with more banana leaves and add another layer of hot stones. Put the potatoes, sweet potatoes and cassava on top, then more banana leaves. Pile in the corn and broad beans and cover with a final layer of banana leaves and a few hessian sacks so that everything is completely covered. Cover over with the reserved earth to fill the hole and leave for 2 hours until everything is cooked.
  5. To serve, remove the earth carefully, then the sacks. Remove the cooked food layer by layer to warm serving platters and serve immediately with the rocoto llactan sauce.
Martin Morales
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