Recipe: Papa a la huancaína

Ok, this is kind of a cheat post. I’ve given this recipe before, but in a different context. I posted the recipe of the sauce and its multiple uses, but this time I wanted to show the basic use of the sauce, the entrée that started it all: papa a la huancaína (potato with huancaína sauce). The origin of the dish and some other miscellaneous information can be found in that previous post, so I’ll go (almost) straight to the point.

The classic combo is to eat papa a la huancaína as an entrée for arroz con pollo. However, Alvaro has fond memories of him and his dad eating it paired up with tallarines verdes, so that’s how we ate it this time (well, not quite, they used to eat both in the same plate). The recipe for the main will be posted tomorrow.

Papa a la huancaína

Yield: 6 servings

Papa a la huancaína

3 medium-big potatoes (any kind that’s good for boiling)
1 large or 2 medium chillies (preferably yellow), plus 1 tablespoon powdered Peruvian yellow chilli, or 3 – 4 jarred Peruvian yellow chillies or whatever chillies you want *
1 small red onion
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons canola or other neutral oil
2/3 cup evaporated milk
4 soda or water crackers
200 gr queso fresco, haloumi or Australian feta
6 lettuce leaves
1 egg
6 black olives

Wash potatoes (use a brush to remove dirt), place them in a pot and cover with cold water and salt. Bring to a boil, set heat to medium and cook until tender. Peel potatoes and slice (1-1.5cm thick).

Hard-boil egg and slice.

Coarsely chop the chillies and onion. Smash the garlic with the blade of your knife. Heat the oil over low heat, add chillies (including the powdered), onion, and garlic and cook for at least 10 minutes.

Transfer the contents of the pan to a blender or food processor, add milk, crackers and cheese. Blend until smooth. Alternatively, don’t process the cheese, but crumble it with a fork or grate it finely and add to the rest of the ingredients by hand.

Adjust the seasoning (if using Australian feta you won’t need any salt), if you find the sauce it’s too salty add a bit of milk accordingly. If the sauce ends up being too thin, add more crackers.

Once the potatoes and sauce are cold (the sauce can be eaten chilled or at room temperature), serve potato slices on top of the lettuce leaves. Top with sauce, a slice of egg and an olive.

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