Those that read this site regularly know that I’m a big fan of tucupí negro (also called ají negro, or tucupí preto in Brazil), a fermented and reduced sauce produced by many indigenous Amazonian communities. This ancestral food product was believed to have no monetary value, but over the last several years, the culinary community has discovered it and demand is growing.
In Peru, Malabar and ámaZ chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino and his NGO Despensa Amazónica, have been working with the Bora-Huitito community of Pucaurquillo to develop a commercial version of tucupí negro, which is being sold in stylish 200-milliliter bottles, as well as creating a network of restaurants to buy the product and experiment with it. This act is changing the economy of this community and as word spreads other Amazonian communities are following their lead.
None of this matters if no one realizes how delicious tucupí negro is and doesn’t buy it, however. So, to create awareness, 20 of the best restaurants around Lima are serving dishes made with tucupí negro throughout the month of November. Here are some of the examples of what they’ll be serving:
Header image of smoked eggplant with tucupí negro from Mayta.