Chairo de Chambi

Chairo de Chambi

David Loftus

Chambi’s Soup. In another life I would have loved to have been a photographer. Martín Chambi to be precise. Chambi was born in Puno, and his work from the early 20th century has influenced all Peruvian photographers since. This dish is the most representative from Chambi’s place of birth, and I’m sure he ate it regularly – in his honour, I’ve named my recipe after him.


Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons olive oil
500g ossobuco, (veal shank)
2 thick slices on-the-bone lamb neck
1 red onion, crushed
2 tablespoons Picante de Huevos, amarillo chilli paste
75g beef jerky, soaked in warm water for 1 hour, then drained
1 teaspoon dried oregano
150g mote or barley, soaked overnight, drained, simmered in fresh water for 3 hours, then drained
125g wheatberries
50g chuño dried potatoes
or 100g new potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 large floury potato, peeled and cut into 4cm cubes
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
100g pumpkin, peeled and cut into 4cm cubes
1 choclo corn or corn-on-the-cob, cut into 4 pieces
100g broad beans
1/4 head green cabbage, shredded
a few mint and parsley leaves, finely chopped, to serve
ground black pepper


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or casserole. When very hot, add the ossobuco and lamb neck and sear over a high heat for 5–6 minutes until well browned on all sides. Remove the meat from the casserole and set aside. Add the red onion to the pan or casserole and sauté over a low heat for 10 minutes until softened, then add the garlic, chilli paste and beef jerky and cook for a further 2–3 minutes until the garlic has softened.
  2. Return the meat to the pan and sprinkle over the oregano. Add enough water to just cover the meat. Add the mote or barley, then season with salt and pepper. Bring the liquid to the boil over a high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour.
  3. Add the wheatberries, chuño or new potatoes to the pan along with the floury potato, carrot, pumpkin and choclo or corn cob pieces. Increase the heat and bring to the boil once more, then again turn down the heat to low, partially cover the pan, and simmer for at least 1 hour until the meat is falling off the bone and tender, and the vegetables are cooked through. Keep an eye on the soup and add a little more water if it starts to look too thick.
  4. Add the broad beans and cabbage and simmer for a further 2–3 minutes until the cabbage is tender but still a fresh green. Serve the soup in large bowls, dividing the meat evenly between them, and sprinkle with a few chopped mint and parsley leaves.
Martin Morales
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