Cuy is referred to the animal as well as meat of Guinea pig. Though commonly this meat is known by the name ‘Guinea pig’, but neither it is a pig nor it belongs to Guinea. This animal is popularly domesticated as a source of food in Indigenous South American folk cultures.
The main reason behind the popularity of cuy as food is the quick reproduction of the animal as compared to other animals such as pigs and cattle. It is also an inexpensive meat; hence cuy recipes are highly favorable in both rural and urban cultures.
History of Cuy
Domestication of cuy was originally started in Andes. Earlier the cuy recipes were prepared in the ceremonial meals of local people residing in Andes until its popularity has increased as a socially acceptable meat in 1960’s. Since then, the breeding and domestication of guinea pie has started by both rural and urban people as a source of alternate income. Large-scale selling of guinea pig has been started in local markets in Andean highlands and even municipal fairs also include this meat as one of the variety of meats.
Culinary Use of Cuy
Being a meat, cuy is highly used in making non-vegetarian dishes. Cuy recipes are usually considered very easy to make like other meat recipes. Casserole and Fricassee are some of the options that can be adopted with cuy.
Soups and stew dishes are widely prepared with this meat in Andean mountain highlands.
Methods of Making Cuy Recipes
• Frying – This is quite acceptable method for making cuy dishes. This cooking method is also known as Frito or choctado.
• Broiling – This is the best method adopted for making cuy recipes. Broiling makes the meat tender as well as retains the juices.
• Roasting – Al horno or roasting is the traditional cooking method for cuy.
• Baking – This is the most contemporary method of making this meat and highly adopted in urban restaurants.
• Barbequing – Huatia is the term given to this cooking process and it is highly recommended for cuy cooking. Barbeque cuy recipes are popularly served corn beer.
Cuisines Commonly Making Cuy Recipes
Andean highland is the main region where cuy is fondly eaten as one of the varieties of meat. Peruvian and Bolivian cuisines are highly famous for using this meat in their regular as well as ceremonial dishes.
Regions of Ecuador and Columbia also make good use of cuy in their commonly prepared meat dishes. People of Ecuador traditionally make soup dish called sopa. This meat is immensely popular especially in Andean mountain highlands due to its affordability and quick reproduction.
Buying and Storing of Cuy
Cuy can easily be procured from the local meat shops and if needed in bulk then municipal fairs in Andes are the good option. Like other meats, this meat should also be fresh. The appearance of this meat is quiet similar to rabbit meat or dark chicken flesh.
It can be stored in freezer if storage period is longer. Prepared dishes can either be stored in refrigerator it freezer and should be consumed with in 2-3 days.
Health Facts Related to Cuy Recipes
Protein content is quiet high in cuy meat and it is relatively lower in fat and cholesterol.