The typical dishes of Puno are the reflection of the mixture of the Inca culture and the Spanish culture. Many of its dishes are similar to those of Bolivians, Argentines and Chileans.
Indigenous to the Andes, kaniwa (Chenopodium pallidicaule) is a highly nutritious and extremely hardy plant that continues to be cultivated in the Andean highlands of Peru and Bolivia for its edible grains (technically seeds) and leaves.
Often compared to quinoa, which belongs to the same genus, the gluten-free seeds of this pseudo-cereal grains are relatively small in size and are characterized by a color that ranges from dark red to chestnut brown or black. Although the seeds are tiny, they pack high amounts of protein and are an excellent source of fiber, essential amino acids, antioxidants, and a wide range of beneficial vitamins and minerals.
Kaniwa seeds are appreciated for their nutty and mildly sweet flavor, a slightly crunchy texture, and their high versatility. They can be used as an ingredient in various soups, stews, salads, pilafs, desserts, and beverages, or enjoyed with curries or stir-fries in place of rice.
The Huatía is a typical dish of Puno and other Departments of Peru, that is prepared in a furnace of earth. It is usually done during the months in which it does not rain -mayo and August-, because it is necessary that the earth is dry. In order to prepare the earth furnace first a hole has to be dug and in the place stones are placed that later will be heated with firewood. There they cook potatoes, cassava, sheep's meat or fish. Everything that is placed in the oven must be wrapped in thick paper and once there the oven is buried, that is, the hole is filled with earth and there is left until ready to eat.
The Cancacho is a typical dish that can not be missed in the fiestas of Puno. For preparation a pork or lamb is taken and licked with oil, garlic, chili, lemon and cumin a day before cooking.
El Chairo is a soup prepared with lamb meat and chalona (dried meat).
Huarjata or broth head
This dish is prepared with a head of pork or lamb. This should be chopped into pieces and put in a pot with water, onion, garlic and salt. Then the potatoes and the chuños are added.