Quinoa UNA LondonPhoto by Pablo Sosa

Know your frijoles from your farofa and your quinoa from your caipiroska

Latin American cuisine has hit the mainstream. From Peruvian pop-ups to Argentine steak houses, capital cities across the globe are embracing the Latin vibes.

But ingredients from this vast and varied continent often get a little confused.

You may have just about mastered the pronunciation of quinoa (ki-nowa, keen-wa?) but is it a seed or a grain? It looks remarkably like Moroccan couscous… Chimichurri, all-one-word? Some sort of dance or hot sauce. And Tiger’s Milk is milk from a Peruvian tiger drizzled on raw fish?

To help Londoner’s decipher this South American samba, Argentine chef Martin Milesi brings a round table event to road test the best flavours on offer. UNA, or One, is a single table inside the St Pancras Clock Tower where diners are taken across the Americas with a seven-course locally sourced tasting menu. Opening with a twist on Spanish sangria gives you a chance to mingle with other guests and climb the original tower as dusk falls over London’s skyline.

Here is Martin’s handbook of LatAm favourites:

MEATY

Asado is a type of barbecue from southern South America. Argentina, Chile and Uruguay roast their signature cuts of beef on an open wood fire, never charcoals.

Churrasco is Brazil’s version of the above.

Ceviche is from the Pacific coastal areas down the left hand side of Central and South America. Fresh raw fish coated in Tiger’s milk (citrus juices and chilli peppers) is topped with onions and coriander. UNA breaks down the different ingredients to mix in your own way.

ON THE SIDE

Farofa is from across the continent. This salty cassava flour almost looks like sawdust and is toasted and sprinkled over meat or used to soak up juices from stews. Brazilians mix with hard-boiled eggs, olives and onions to go alongside beans and rice.

Frijoles are from Mexico. Black or brown beans typically refried or served as a stew. Also popular in Cuba, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. UNA prepares mini black frijoles balls with roast pork.

Quinoa is from the Andean highlands. This staple wheat-free grain from Bolivia, Ecuador & Peru is only cultivated 2,500m above sea level and its seeds are boiled. UNA prepares a quinoa risotto with creamy mascarpone cheese.

SWEET TOOTH

Brigadeiro from Brazil. Bite-sized chocolate truffles made from condensed milk and sprinkled with hundreds and thousands. Beijinho de Coco is the coconut version covered in coconut flakes.

Martín Fierro is a desert from Argentina and Uruguay. Quince jam – called membrillo – served with slices of hard cheese. Named after the famous gaucho in a novel by José Hernandez. Cubans do a similar version with soft cream cheese.

AND TO DRINK…

Caipiroska is from Brazil. A sugary lime cocktail served with vodka instead of cachaça – used in the more traditional Caipirinha.

Pisco Sour is originally from Lima, Peru. A colourless or yellow tinted brandy shaken up with lime juice, egg whites, syrup and Angostura bitters. The Chilean version is similar but excludes the bitters and egg whites.

Sangria is a wine-based fruity cocktail from Spain and Portugal. UNA serves their version with Argentine sherry, orange peel, fresh mint and a drop of brandy.

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