Some of my Peruvian friends were explaining to me why, in their opinion, Peruvian food is the best in the world. According to them, it's all about the seasoning, or aderezo.
When they think of seasoning, they don't just mean salt and pepper added at the end. They are talking about the ingredients you gather up before you begin, ingredients that are often mixed together with a mortar and pestle and used to season the cooking pan. Almost every recipe begins with the aderezo. Garlic crushed with salt; herbs such as oregano, cumin, and huacatay; onions, chile peppers, tomatoes - the special mix is unique to each dish. Even white rice starts with a special aderezo of mashed garlic cooked in oil, and it makes all the difference.
My favorite aderezo is what is used to make anticuchos, or grilled beef heart. It's a mix of vinegar, cumin, mild chile peppers called aji panca, salt and pepper. I like to use it for grilled chicken kebobs (anticuchos de pollo).
Some recipes with aderezo: