Tag Archives: Peruvian

Peruvian Potato and Tuna Salad Rolls (Rollos de Causa Rellenos con Atún)

Causa is Peru’s version of potato salad and it’s also one of my favorites. It seems unfair to compare it to the yellow, mayo-laden, eggy stuff we have here in the US. Causa is actually more like a cold gratin with layers of creamy pureed potatoes, tuna (or chicken or crab), avocado and a garnish of tart olives and hard-boiled eggs.

The recipe I found in a newspaper article from The Olympian is excellent and seems pretty close to authentic (at least to me). Especially helpful is the explanation on how to make aji amarillo (yellow Peruvian chile) paste with dried chilies. You can find a lot of “exotic” ingredients in Portland, but it’s still rather limited compared to the selection available in bigger cities. Here in San Francisco, I can buy frozen aji amarillos, but in Portland, I only found dried, which are available at Whole Foods. In any case, the recipe lists the chilies as optional, but I wouldn’t dream of leaving them out; they’re used a lot in Peruvian cooking and also provide a very particular spice, color and heat to the food.

In making this, I should have paid better attention to the ingredients list. First, I didn’t use Yukon gold potatoes, which are a must because of the characteristic yellow color and texture they give. I used regular baking potatoes, which I found too starchy and also a lot less pretty. Also, I forgot to garnish the top with olives and boil eggs; instead I used only chopped parsley.  Another thing I did differently, on purpose, is that I didn’t make mine in gratin form, but rather made mine maki-sushi style, i.e. rolled. I’ve seen it served both ways and since there was already so much food, I think the smaller pieces fit better.

I’ll definitely be making Causa again—it’s simple, comfort kind of food, which I love, but can be dressed up to be super elegant too.

Enjoy!

Rollos de Causa Rellenos con Atún (adapted from an article found in The Olympian)

printable recipe

INGREDIENTS

Potato Paste

1 1/2 lbs Yukon gold potatoes (ca. 8-10), washed and scrubbed, but not peeled

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup lime juice, or more if necessary

1 tbsp aji amarillo paste, optional

salt to taste

Filling

2 cans tuna, drained (I used white tuna in water)

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 tbsp chives, finely chopped

1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped

1 tbsp red bell pepper, finely chopped (optional)

1/4 cup frozen corn, peas and carrots mix, thawed and drained

salt and pepper to taste

2 medium avocados, peeled and sliced thinly lengthwise

Garnish

3 hard boiled eggs, cut into wedges or sliced into rounds

6 kalamata olives

METHOD

For the Potato Paste

  1. Cook potatoes until tender. Peel when still warm, then put through a ricer. Mix riced potatoes with oil, salt and aji amarillo. Add lime juice and stir the mix until the dough is soft and well blended. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

For the Filling

  1. Add mayonnaise, thawed vegetables, chives, cilantro, salt and pepper. Mix well and add salt if necessary.

For Assembly

  1. Maki-sushi style: Line a bamboo maki mat with plastic wrap. Spread a portion of the potato paste to the edges of the mat.
  2. Then, spread filling over the potato paste, leaving 1/4 inch space at each edge. Distribute evenly 1/4 of the avocado slices on top.
  3. Roll, pulling out the plastic as you go and wrapping it around the roll to finish. Repeat for remaining paste and filling. Place wrapped rolls on a platter and refrigerate. When ready to serve, unwrap and place back on platter. Slice into 1 1/2 inch pieces, sprinkle chopped parsley on top and serve.
  4. Traditional Squares: use a square baking pan, lightly oiled. Spread half of the potato paste in it, then spread the chicken filling. On top of the chicken filling spread the other half of the potato paste. Cover the baking pan and keep in the refrigerator until serving. Causa is a cold dish. When ready to serve, cut the causa into squares. With the help of a spatula, transfer each piece to a salad plate. Once on the plate, use the slices of avocado, egg and olives to decorate each piece. Each piece should have an olive and the same number of egg wedges and slices of avocado. (I didn’t add the olives or eggs; just topped mine with more chopped parsley)

Hint: You can make your own aji amarillo (yellow Peruvian chile pepper) paste with one pound of fresh aji amarillo and 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Place aji in a saucepan with water and boil for 5 minutes. Change the water and repeat procedure twice. Cut, seed and devein ajies. You can peel some ajies to reduce spiciness. Blend with oil until you get a creamy paste.

As an alternative to fresh aji amarillo, you can use dried chilli-peppers (known as dried aji mirasol), which are easier to find outside of Peru. The procedure is similar to the fresh ajíes, just add some water when blending until you get the creamy paste.

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Lúcuma Cream Tart

Today is the last day of my Spanish “class” (not sure whether 2 students qualifies as a class). I stumbled upon this free class by chance and it’s turned out to be one of the best things I’ve done all year. It’s close to work, it’s fun and is the motivation I need to improve my Spanish speaking skills.

Anyway, in celebration of our final class, I decided to bake a tart and also to introduce my teacher and classmate to my beloved lúcuma.

The recipe is one I found on Radishes and Rhubarb—straightforward, nothing complicated about it. I tweaked it slightly for my lúcuma version (the original is for banana cream pie).

I used my springform thinking I would get a prettier and easier- to-serve tart. However, removing the crust from the sides of the pan turned out to be not so easy. As you can see in the photos, I ended up with an uneven and crumbly crust—not nearly as pretty as I was hoping for. The taste, thank goodness, is exactly what I hoped and totally makes up for any imperfections in appearance.

The  custard is all about la lúcuma: dreamy creamy thick, sweet and caramelly. I could have strained the mixture, but chose not to—I really enjoy the starchy texture of lúcuma and wanted it to stand out. As for the chantilly cream (which is just whipped cream sweetened with sugar and vanilla), it’s smooth and light and is a good contrast in texture to the custard.


In case you are wondering WHERE outside of the Andes you can find lúcuma: here in San Francisco, I know of only one place. It’s a little market on Mission, between 20th and 21st, which sells the fruit in frozen puree form and costs about $5.00 for 16 oz. Other small markets nearby have frozen passion fruit, guava and guanabana, but no lúcuma. Maybe next time I’ll try a version with passion fruit.

Enjoy!

Lúcuma Cream Tart (adapted from here via Radishes and Rhubarb)

Crust

1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers

1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter, melted

Custard

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

2 cups whole milk (I’m sure low-fat would work too)

1 cup lúcuma puree

4 egg yolks

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 bananas sliced

Chantilly Cream

1/2 cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

METHOD

For the crust:

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the melted butter, sugar and graham cracker crumbs until the crumbs are moistened and the mixture begins to clump together.  Pour the mixture into the bottom of your pie plate and, using your hand, press the crumb mixture to evenly coat the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Set aside.

For the custard:

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch.  Stir in the milk. Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat to medium low and cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.
  2. In a small bowl, lightly beat your egg yolks and then stir in the lúcuma puree.
  3. Whisking constantly, slowly add 1 cup of your warm milk mixture to the yolk and lúcuma mix.  This will temper the yolks to bring them slowly up to the temperature of the milk so that you do not create scrambled eggs. Pour into the remaining milk mixture in your saucepan. Cook and stir over medium low heat for two minutes more to thicken the custard.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract and tablespoon of butter. If desired, you can strain the custard through a fine sieve to ensure it is smooth and there is no cooked egg in the mixture.

Assembly:

  1. Cover the bottom of your prepared crust with the banana slices and pour the custard over top.  Smooth the top with a spatula and cover with plastic wrap.  Place in the fridge for 6-8 hours to allow the custard to set and the tart to cool completely. You can prepare the tart the night before if you wish.

For the Chantilly Cream:

  1. In a stand mixer or with a handmixer on high speed, beat the cream until soft peaks form.  Add the sugar and vanilla and beat about 1 minute more until firm peaks form.  Right before serving the tart, spread the top with the whipped cream and garnish with banana slices.

Taste Testing

My friend Elizabeth is a brilliant chef in the making. And as it is her dream to one day open her own Peruvian restaurant, she’s decided to hold monthly dinners to test-run dishes and drinks for friends. Taste testing? I’m happy to lend my taste-buds to the cause! (^_^)

Last week was the first of the dinners. My favorite (surprise, surprise) was the lucuma cheesecake. Elizabeth gave me the recipe, which I hope to try soon (lucuma’s already in the freezer 😛 )!

The Menu


Steamed Mussles with Pico de Gallo


Fried Potato Croquette Filled with Sweet Ground Beef and

Topped with an Onion Salsa and Fresh Yellow Chili Sauce

Peruvian-style Creamy Seafood Chowder

Lucuma Cheesecake Topped with Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce and Served with Lucuma Ice Cream


Lucuma Cheesecake

I made this amazing cheesecake TWO WEEKS AGO, but never got around to posting the recipe. Why? Because my life has been crazy (not fun-crazy; I mean, crazy-crazy). I was moving out, then I wasn’t. Now I moving out for sure, which means I have to find a sub-letter my roommate and her boyfriend approve of AND find a new home. Actually, I’m OK with the situation now. I’ve decided that I have a choice: sink or swim. So I’m swimming/doggy-paddling through this whole upheaval of hearth and home, and seriously, this decision has made all the difference. I think I’m going to be OK!

Anyway, this cheesecake is not just any cheesecake, it’s LUCUMA (my new favorite fruit—forever and ever)

Lucuma is a sub-tropical fruit native to Peru and is known for it’s sweet potato-like flesh and caramel/maple syrup-reminiscent flavor. It is now grown in other South American countries, but it is definitely not available here in San Francisco. Mission Market (Mission and 22nd) carries it in frozen form apparently, but only occasionally. (Not right now—just checked and was told that it wouldn’t arrive until April)

Photo courtesy of http://www.elportalperu.com

The recipe is from Yanuq, a website I mentioned in a previous post as being a great source for Peruvian recipes. I wasn’t all too pleased with ingredient amounts or method. (I’ve made cheesecake many times before, so this time I know it wasn’t me.) Despite following the instructions to a tee, my crust was glued stuck to the cake pan bottom, which made it nearly impossible to slice. Then again, there wasn’t much slicing going on, rather, a lot of scooping. As soon as I removed the springpan form, the filling starting oozing and collapsing. I blame it on the gelatin; it totally failed me. The next time I make this, I will use a butter-based graham cracker crust rather than egg-white. I will also investigate other no-bake cheesecake recipes for filling ingredients and amounts.

I wish I had a beautiful picture to show you, but I don’t. First, because I was so busy playing hostess that I forgot to take a picture. And second, because it wouldn’t have been worth it anyway—too ugly. Oh well, at least it tasted good. No, it tasted out-of-this-world incredible—creamy, smooth and tangy from the cream cheese and rich and caramelly from the lucuma. It was like eating a great, big piece of Peru. Yum!

Enjoy!

Lucuma Cheesecake (adapted from Yanuq – Cooking in Peru)

INGREDIENTS

Crust

3 egg whites

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup sugar

1 cup ground pecans or almonds

1 cup graham crackers, crushed

1 tsp vanilla extract

Filling

4 lucumas, halved, pit removed and flesh scooped out

1 can evaporated milk

1 cup sugar

10 1/2 oz. (300 g) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tbsp confectioners’ sugar

1 sachet unflavored gelatin

1/4 cup water

METHOD

Crust

  1. Whip egg whites until stiff in mixer. Add baking powder.
  2. Add rest of ingredients folding carefully with spoon or spatula.
  3. Transfer mixture to a 10-inch (20 cm) removable bottom cake pan, previously buttered and floured. Bake in a preheated oven 350° F (175° C) for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and separate borders from pan with a knife. Cool. Leave in pan.

Filling

  1. Process lucumas with evaporated milk until thick and creamy.
  2. Add gelatin diluted in 1/4 cup water.
  3. Beat cream cheese with sugar and fold into lucuma mixture.
  4. Whip the cream with confectioners sugar until thick and add to lucuma mixture.
  5. Pour cream on top of pecan crust. Cool in refrigerator until cheesecake sets.
  6. Remove sides of pan and decorate with chocolate shavings and cream. Serve with a light chocolate sauce.

Peruvian Style Arroz con Mariscos with Papas a la Huancaina y Salsa de Cebolla Peruana

Traditional arroz con pollo is made with chicken—duh— but I adapted it for my two hungry Pescatarian girls at our monthly roommate dinner.

I have Dennis’ mom, Ana, to thank for the recipes and mi Guapito to thank for the translations!

For more Peruvian recipes, Yanuq is a great source. I found the recipe for the onion salsa there.

Note: The aji amarillo chiles used in these recipes are Peruvian yellow chiles. They should be pretty easy to find frozen in any Latin American grocery store. As for the choclo (large-grained white corn), I couldn’t find it fresh, but did find it dried. Worked OK here, but obviously fresh is best.

Arroz con Mariscos (Mixed Seafood Rice)

Recipes courtesy of Ana / Translated by Dennis

Serves 6.

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 lbs mixed seafood (I had tilapia and shrimp at home, so that’s what I used.)

3 cups rice

1 large red onion

1 large clove garlic

6 aji amarillo chiles, deseeded, deveined and minced, divided

1 red bell pepper

1 large carrot, peeled

1 ear large-grained white maize (Peruvian corn / “choclo”), husk removed and kernels sliced off the cob

1/2 cup green peas, frozen or fresh

3 bunches fresh cilantro

3 1/2 cups water, divided

1 dark beer

salt and pepper, to taste

1 bay leaf

olive oil

4 limes (2 for juice, 2 sliced into wedges for serving)

METHOD

  1. Drain the seafood well and pat lightly with a paper towel to dry. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top. And then in a hot skillet, lightly fry in a little olive oil until no longer translucent (about 1 minute). Remove to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Dice the onion, pepper and carrots into roughly the same sized square pieces. Wash the rice. Set aside.
  3. In a blender, combine the cilantro, water and 1/2 the minced aji amarillo chiles. Mix until completely blended.
  4. In the same pot used to fry the seafood, fry the onions, garlic, remaining chiles and a little salt and pepper in olive oil. Pour in the cilantro mixture and allow to cook down for a few minutes before adding the entire bottle of beer.
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, allowing the alcohol to evaporate.
  6. Add the seafood and a little more salt and pepper to the pot. Cover and cook for about 2 minutes (be careful not to overcook). The liquid should be a little salty.
  7. Once the seafood is just cooked through, remove it and in the same pot, add the rice, fried vegetables, corn and peas, plus 2 1/2 cups water.
  8. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes or until the rice is tender.
  9. Squeeze in the lime juice. Serve with onion-lime salsa and huancaina sauce.

Papa a la Huancaina

Papa a la Huancaina Sauce (Potatoes with Aji Amarillo-Cheese Sauce)

Recipes courtesy of Ana Yi / Translated by Dennis Yi

Serves 6.

6 medium potatoes, scrubbed

6 aji amarillo chiles, deseeded, deveined and chopped finely

200 g queso fresco (Latin American fresh cheese), crumbled

1 medium purple onion

1 clove garlic

1/2 pkg saltine crackers

1/2 can evaporated milk

1/3 cup oil (I used olive oil)

salt and pepper to taste

the juice of 1 lime

boiled eggs, sliced into wedges, to serve

METHOD
  1. Boil the potatoes, skin on.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, fry the chiles, onion and garlic in a little oil until golden. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  3. Put the cooled pan contents into a blender, along with the oil. Blend.
  4. With the mixer turned on, gradually add in the cheese and evaporated milk. Once combined, add in the saltines, salt and pepper and lime juice. Blend until thoroughly mixed. If too thick, add a little more milk.
  5. Peel the hot, cooked potatoes and then cut into thick slices. Place into serving dish and pour the sauce on top. Serve with sliced boiled eggs and fresh onion-lime salsa (see recipe below).


Fresh Onion Salsa (from Yanuq – Cooking in Peru)

INGREDIENTS

1 medium onion

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 aji amarillo, deseeded, deveined and minced finely

juice of 1/2 lime (or more, according to your taste)

salt

pepper

1/2 tbsp parsley, chopped

METHOD

  1. Finely slice the onion and quickly rinse with water.
  2. Put the onion in a bowl and combine with the remaining ingredients.

Delicious Peru

I’m back.

Ten glorious days of stuffing my face with as many Peruvian culinary delights as possible—now that is my idea of vacation. My body is a little mad at me (and was really pissed on the flight back home) for being such a glutton, but I don’t care. It was worth it.

I’ve posted pics of my favorite food memories. (Photo-quality was not my main priority when I took these—obviously.)

Papa a la Huancaina (Potatoes with Aji Amarillo Cheese Sauce)

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Pollo Relleno

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Ceviche Mixto

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Arroz con Mariscos

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Ceviche de Pejarreyes

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Tamal Verde

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Chicharronnes

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Choncholi y Rachi Rachi

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Lomo Saltado

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Pachamanca

(I realize that this post is REALLY LONG because of the photos, but I couldn’t get the pictures to appear next to each other. (Does anyone know how to do this???)