Ocopa Arequipeña con Raíces

Ocopa Arequipeña con Raíces

David Loftus

Arequipa Dip & Roots. Doña Gladys, from the picantería La Lucila in Arequipa, patiently and slowly made the dip for this dish for me using a traditional batán millstone – a kind of large pestle and mortar. Here, we quicken things up with a food processor. If you can’t get hold of oca tubers (native to the Andes, for an authentic touch), feel free to use any combination of root vegetable.


Quantity Ingredient
1kg root vegetables, choose from parsnip, carrot, beetroot, celeriac, sweet potato and oca
3 tablespoons olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

For the ocopa sauce

Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
4 confit garlic cloves, crushed
6 amarillo chillies or medium-heat red chillies, deseeded and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon Picante de Huevos, panca chilli paste
60g peanuts
500ml evaporated milk
or 250ml full-fat milk, mixed with 250ml single cream
a bunch huacatay
or a small bunch each of mint, coriander, tarragon and parsley, leaves picked
4 cream crackers
40g queso fresco or feta, crumbled


  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  2. Peel the vegetables, then cut them into thick chips or wedges. Put all the vegetables, except the oca (if using), in a large roasting tin and drizzle over the olive oil. Season with plenty of salt and pepper. Turn the vegetables over until they are completely coated in the oil, then roast in the oven for 45–50 minutes until the vegetables are tender and lightly charred around the edges. If you’re using oca, boil this for 10 minutes until tender, then add to the other vegetables in the oven for the last 10 minutes of cooking.
  3. Meanwhile, make the ocopa sauce. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a low heat. Add the onion and sauté for about 8 minutes until softened, then add the garlic, chilli and chilli paste and sauté for 2–3 minutes more until the confit garlic has given out its flavour but hasn’t taken on any colour. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool. Put the mixture in a food processor or blender with the peanuts, milk, herbs, cream crackers, and cheese. Season with salt and pepper, then blend until smooth and creamy.
  4. Serve the root vegetables piping hot with the sauce on the side.
Martin Morales
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