Watia, Traditional Peruvian Oven Cooked Potatoes : The Renegade Health Show Episode #851

Friday Jun 24 | BY |
| Comments (33)

This episode is just plain old cool…

When we first came to Peru and met with our Q’ero friends, they prepared a watia for us. Watia is a traditional earth oven cooked meal of potatoes – and not just any potato.

The Peruvians cook all types of varieties in these handmade “ovens.”

I think today you’ll really dig this video, because it’s a tradition that is extremely unique.

Check it out…

Your question of the day: Have you ever had watia?

Click here, scroll down to the bottom of the page and leave your comments now!

Live Awesome!

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog RenegadeHealth.com — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


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  1. Scott says:

    Looks Delicious!

  2. Dawn B says:

    I’ve had the purple potatoes a few times – even planted them in my garden this year. Never had “watia” before though. I am trying to talk my Dad into helping me build an earthen oven in the backyard.

  3. Janet says:

    Yes I have tried it! I also have tried chunyo (spelling?). Deliciouso!

  4. Excellent Kev!!
    India’s rural masses made their food in mud pots on mud ovens and their food was rich in nutrients and I think India’s is the richest traditional food with more nutrition from the point of view of health.
    Mud Ovens were healthy, tho’ sometimes blowing the winds into the fire to make a flame took some hard work and strain.
    Mud houses were there with cowdung polished on their walls. That was for protection. When they said protect from the evil eyes, today it means protect lives with cowdung coated mud houses, from raditiation effects of Fukushima!
    Mud becomes oven, goes into mud, recycled.
    We enjoyed the taste of food esp in mud pots and made on ovens of mud.

  5. April Baldwin says:

    I wonder why children just never shut up. This video would have been so much better without having to deal with annoying children yammering non-stop.

  6. Nancy says:

    Thanks, Kevin, for this mud oven video. When I studied Macrobiotics years ago we learned about types of cooking ‘fire’: microwaves, electric, gas, wood.. and the health impacts of each. The more natural the source, the better for the body. I’m guessing that mud ovens and perhaps solar ovens are tops for the more gentle and natural energy they impart to the food. I love raw, but appreciate your including this wonderful traditional cooking method.

  7. james a says:

    i subscribed to your channel after seeing this watia recipe.
    don’t know where i’ll find an oven like that:)

  8. Diane says:

    I would have loved to see them take them OUT of the oven. How did that work? Were they dirty?

  9. Brent says:

    We have something similar in my country New Zealand, where the Maori people would make a hole in the ground and place food and hot volcanic rocks or fire over it and leave to cook for the entire day.
    (Simplified explanation but check this out!)


    As the food cooks they send prayers of gratitude and ask for protection to the gods in the spirit world.

    When the British first started to settle in New Zealand they didnt know what to eat, where to get the food and how to survive in the environment.

    The Maori people had to teach the settlers how to survive so that they wouldnt starve to death.

  10. Brent says:

    Sorry forgot to meantion, they call this a Hangi.


  11. Brent says:

    PS: ok, after properly watching that youtube clip myself, you will see that this is an evolved, modernised version hence the iron bars etc…

    here is a quick link I found that compares the old way with the new.


  12. Melina says:

    I enjoyed this video. It is so neat that they simply make a oven out of what nature provides.I would have loved to see more shots of the people though (their heads were often cropped in the video). Personally, I enjoyed listening to the kids joyfully talking in the background. I was hoping they would even be included more in the camera shots. Maybe next time. Thanks, still a cool video.

  13. Sarah says:

    Potatoes from Peru are soooooo good! They have so many different varieties it would make your head spin if you were to try to learn the names of all of them! Nice video!

  14. David says:

    Have not eaten potatoes from Peru, but have eaten plenty from Kroger’s

  15. Nomi says:

    Comment # 5 re: your comment:
    “without having to deal with annoying children yammering non-stop.”

    Makes the milk of human kindness go sour.

  16. sans says:

    So cool. I love this world wide web. We get to share so many great customs and information. In your travels to Peru, have you ever tasted fresh yacon. I am growing it here in CT at Urban Oaks Organic Farm in New Britain. It’s so delicious. And I have to mention your spanish is getting better!

  17. Ryan Newby says:

    Very Very Interesting and Mind Opening

  18. Remember growing up, my father was an outdoors
    person. Every chance he had we left for places
    unknown. We had a few pots, all what we did
    was what nature provided just like the mudoven where we baked our potatoes and vegetables. It was delicious. My father didn’t
    want us to grow up spoiled and be grateful what nature offered us.

  19. Janet Doane says:

    Never tried Watia, but it seems like an ingenious way of cooking food – it makes sense too with potoatoes that have grown in the ground, that are then cooked there too. Do they cook other things in earth ovens? Thanks for showing us something unique!

  20. June says:

    Hi Kevin!!

    I tried mud potatoes around 30+ years ago, when a peruvian friend coworker brought some of them to taste, in and ethnic Christmas party. they were so delicious that, after that party, she brought some at work often. I never made that.

  21. chris lu says:

    In Fall, in Taiwan when the rice fields are lying bare after harvest, the local Taiwanese also make exactly the same kind of earth-clay oven in the same dome-like shape and cook all kinds of vegetables in them. The food was really great and is also meant to be really nutritious because of the minerals and nutrients that come from the soil. Tasty, but I still prefer RAW!!

  22. Samantha says:

    I hope to have waita when I go to Peru in 2 days……I love the warm and wonderful Quechua people…..it was wonderful to see that you have received Rites Kevin, Munay to you and your espuosa……Buenos noches…….

  23. Gen says:

    No, I’ve never had watia but it looked so yummy! I have had beans baked in the ground though. Recently I bought some purple asparagus from Peru, which could be eaten raw or cooked and was delicious either way.

    Thanks for educating us and making us want to go there!

  24. I have eaten, and grown, Purple Peruvian potatoes, but have never baked them in a mud oven.. I have baked russetts in a similar manner–i.e. dig a hole, make a fire in it. When it’s done burning throw in the potatoes and cover them with the dirt taken from the hole. They’re yummy!

  25. Nope, I’ve never tried one, but they look delicious!

  26. Karen Beattie says:


  27. My landlady is Peruvian. Her mother is 93 and cooks wonderful Peruvian food on traditonal American appliances. They are from Lima. There is a comminity garden in Berkeley that has a mud oven also an environmental group has one on 64th and San Pablo not too far from you. I had tomales from 64th St at their fair last month, yum. Never had watia but I have made baked potatoes in my fireplace.

  28. Maritharose says:

    What’s the skinny on the skins? Wondering why they peeled them. Aren’t they missing out on alot of nutrients or does the cooking process turn the skins black and unappealing? I always eat potatoes with the skins on. Saves time, too.

  29. Gini says:

    I loved hearing the children talking in the background and the way you interacted with them. Great video. One of my cooked foods is sweet potatoes but have not baked them in the ground. I hope to try it.

  30. Nihacc says:

    No, but I’m curious 🙂

  31. Lorraine Lott says:

    Never tried it yet. But really wonderful video.
    When you were in Peru was there a popular berry or nut that you discovered?

  32. margot says:

    thanks kevin and annemarie. i loved the video. and thankyou to brent for the hagi video link.

  33. Coshana says:

    I enjoyed Watia in May when I was in Peru. We were served it at a school after we handed out school supplies to the needy students. The watia was served with a green hot sauce which was heavy in Cilantro and was fantastic. The reason you peel the potatoes is that they roast them straight out of the ground (unwashed) so it is their way of eating only the clean part of the potato.

    Thanks for posting all these videos Kevin and Ann Marie. What an excellent snapshot of another countries traditions!

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