Recipe: Pisco sour

This year I decided to put the last bottle of pisco I had in my cupboard to good use and made a round of pisco sour to celebrate with friends. Generally speaking, there are three types of pisco: quebranta (the least aromatic), mosto verde or Italia (the most aromatic) and acholado (a mix of both). Quebranta and acholado are the better ones for making cocktails.

I used the classic ratio of 3:1:1:1 (pisco to egg white, syrup and lime juice), although some prefer a 4:1:1:1 ratio. I made a test run with water and stevia instead of syrup and found it less sweet and quite enjoyable. If you make your own syrup, feel free to adjust the sugar-to-water ratio according to your taste. Final note: when making more than 2 serves, it’s easier to use a blender. Just be mindful to use the minimum amount of ice to cool down the drink without watering it down too much. Salud!

Pisco sour
Yield: 1 serving

Pisco sour

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces pisco quebranta or acholado
  • 1 ounce egg white
  • 1 ounce simple syrup (or 1 ounce of water and stevia to taste)
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • a few ice cubes
  • dash of bitters

Directions

  1. Shake pisco, egg white, syrup and lime juice in a shaker, pour and garnish with a dash of bitters.

Recipe: Lupin a la peruana (Peruvian-style lupin)

I get sudden cravings for Peruvian food once in a while. One day I was fixated on pepián, a corn purée spiced with our traditional aderezo of onion, garlic and chilli. Then I remembered I had a bag of lupin flakes in my cupboard and decided to use it as the main ingredient, partially because sweet corn is very different from Peruvian white corn. I used a ají amarillo paste that I found at Fiji Market. It’s got preservatives, so it’s not as good (health- or taste-wise) as fresh or as the paste I’m used to, but it’s better than nothing. If you can’t find ají amarillo paste you can use fresh chillies made into a paste in a blender or food processor with a bit of water or oil.

Lupin a la peruana (Peruvian-style lupin)
Yield: 4 servings

Lupin a la peruana

Ingredients

  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil or ghee
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 2 tsp ají amarillo (Peruvian yellow chilli) paste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup lupin flakes
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • handful coriander leaves, chopped

Directions

  1. Heat oil or ghee in a pan at low-medium temperature. Cook onion, garlic and chilli for 5-10 minutes, until very soft and translucent.
  2. Add lupin flakes and broth. Bring to a boil and lower heat. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until the liquid has been absorbed.
  4. Turn off heat, mix in the chopped coriander.
  5. Serve with your choice of protein, rice (to make it more Peruvian!) and plenty of veggies.

Peruvian recipes – the list

It’s Peruvian Independence Day! If I didn’t have so many things on my plate at the moment (figuratively speaking), I would have organised a new Peruvian recipe to post today. But I didn’t, in part because I’m having trouble thinking of Peruvian recipes I’d like to share and haven’t posted yet. Therefore, I decided to make this year’s post a compilation of the Peruvian recipes I have posted. Keep in mind that some of them have been tweaked to accommodate for dietary requirements, so won’t be 100% traditional.

Breakfast/sandwiches:
Mixto completo (sort of)
Pan con aceitunas
Salchicha criolla (Peruvian-style pork sausage)
Triples in protein bread

Entrées:
Causa de atún
Cebiche de pulpo y pescado (with seafood from Faros Bros)
Conchitas a la parmesana
Palta rellena con camarones (stuffed avocado with prawns)
Papa a la huancaína
Pastel de choclo
Pulpo al olivo
Vegan causa

Mains:
“Arroz” a la cubana
Ají de gallina (Peruvian chicken “curry”)
Anticuchos
Arroz con pato (Peruvian duck with rice)
Arroz con pollo
Arroz tapado
Carapulcra (Peruvian pork and potato stew)
Chicken heart anticuchos
Escabeche de pescado (fish escabeche)
Estofado de pollo (Peruvian chicken stew)
Jalea mixta (Peruvian-style mixed seafood)
Locro
Locro (Peruvian pumpkin stew)
Lomo saltado (Peruvian beef stir-fry)
Majado de plátano con choros y chorizo (smashed plantains, mussels and chorizo)
Olluquito con carne
Paleo ají de gallina in the slow cooker
Paleo patita con maní (pork trotters with(out) peanuts)
Peruvian osso buco
Peruvian pork adobo
Peruvian pork platter
Peruvian-spiced Christmas turkey
Pimiento relleno (Peruvian-style stuffed capsicum)
Pork chops and Pardo’s-style salad
Seafood cau cau
Seco de carne (Peruvian beef & coriander stew)
Seco de cordero con frejoles (lamb & coriander stew and beans)
Slow-cooked cebiche de pato (duck cebiche)
Tacu tacu (Peruvian-style rice and beans)
Tallarines verdes

Soups:
Chilcano de pescado (Peruvian fish broth)
Menestrón
Paleo chicken and mussel aguadito
Sancochado
Sopa criolla (creole soup)

Sides/salads/sauces:
Huancaína sauce
Puré de espinaca (spinach mash)
Salsa criolla
Solterito de queso

Desserts:
Alfajores
Chapana (Peruvian cassava dessert)
Leche asada
Lúcuma cheesecake
Lúcuma coconut mousse
Lúcuma coconut mousse v2.0
Paleo crema volteada
Paleo tres leches cake
Suspiro de limeña

Drinks:
Chilcano de Pisco
Jugo surtido (“assorted” juice)
Kombucha chilcano
Lúcuma smoothie

Enjoy and felices fiestas patrias!

Recipe: Gluten-free torta de galletas (biscuit cake)

My aunties didn’t bake a lot, so when it was time for cake they often made torta de galletas, a layered biscuit “cake”. I have vivid memories of me helping make the icing in their vintage stand mixer and, most importantly, licking the icing off the beaters. Of course, I also helped assemble the cake and waited patiently until the next day, when the biscuits had absorbed all the moisture and the cake had a much better structure.

My auntie Sumi passed away a few weeks ago. She was a great cook and she was a very kind, loving auntie. It was hard to think of a particular dish that reminds me of her because I’m pretty sure she cooked the bulk of the food my sisters and I ate growing up. Then I remembered I had copied one recipe from her notebook before moving to Australia, the recipe for torta de galletas.

The original recipe uses margarine and 1kg (!) of icing sugar for the icing. It also uses regular caramel (made by boiling a can of condensed milk), which I figured would be way too sweet. I used butter and a more reasonable amount of coconut sugar for the icing, and made the caramel with coconut milk and pitted dates. I also used gluten-free vanilla biscuits, which I found out crumble a lot more than regular biscuits, making the assembly process a bit more fiddly. The end result wasn’t as good as my auntie’s but it did remind me of her.

Gluten-free torta de galletas (biscuit cake)
Yield: about 16 servings

Torta de galletas

Icing:

  • 250g butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder (or coffee or liquor) diluted in boiling water
  • 1 egg

Caramel:

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3/4 to 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Layers:

  • 150g shredded or dessicated coconut
  • 250g chopped walnuts
  • 1 kg vanilla biscuits
  • 2 cups of milk (any type)

Directions

Icing:

  1. Whisk all ingredients together (you can use a mixer, food processor or do it by hand).

Caramel:

  1. Soak the dates in boiling water for 10 minutes.
  2. Drain well and blend with coconut milk and vanilla.
  3. Heat in a saucepan until thickened to a spreadable consistence.

Layers:

  1. Count the biscuits and divide the total by 6 or 8. The result will be how many biscuits you will use per layer.
  2. Form a layer of biscuits soaked in milk.
  3. Spread caramel on top of the biscuits, topped with walnuts and coconut.
  4. Add a layer of biscuits soaked in milk.
  5. Spread icing, topped with walnuts and coconut.
  6. Continue until you have 6 to 8 layers of biscuits (should end with icing).
  7. Refrigerate overnight to allow the biscuits to absorb the moisture.

Recipe: Locro (Peruvian pumpkin stew)

I’m sure there are a million locro recipes out there because it’s fair to say this is an everyday staple in almost every Peruvian household. The way I make it is not the way my mum makes it, nor the way my aunties make it, nor the way my mother-in-law makes it. This is one of the few dishes Alvaro insists on keeping meat-free, with a fried egg (or three) on top. Works for me.

Locro (Peruvian pumpkin stew)
Yield: 4 servings

Locro

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp ghee or oil
  • 500-600g pumpkin, peeled and cubed
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 – 1.25 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 0.5 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 tsp ají amarillo (Peruvian yellow chilli) paste
  • 0.5 cup green peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 200g goat feta cheeese
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano

To serve

  • white rice
  • 4 olives
  • 4 fried eggs
  • coriander leaves

Directions

  1. Peel and cube pumpkin and potatoes.
  2. Heat the ghee or oil in a saucepan at medium-low temperature.
  3. Add onion, garlic and ají amarillo. Cook for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
  4. Add pumpkin and potatoes. Cook for another 4-5 minutes, then add stock and bring to a boil.
  5. Simmer for 30-40 minutes, until pumpkin and potatoes are falling apart. Feel free to mash them up as much as you want.
  6. Add corn and peas, cook for another couple of minutes.
  7. Turn off heat, add cheese, season with salt and pepper.
  8. Serve with white rice, topped by a fried egg and garnish with an olive and coriander leaves.

Recipe: Chapana (Peruvian cassava dessert)

This is not a super well-know Peruvian dessert but is as authentic as it can get. In fact, apparently it’s been around for way longer than the popular desserts that appeared when we were a Spanish colony.

I’m usually biased toward chocolate when it comes to sweets, but this is an exception. I think this is in part because there are childhood memories attached to chapana. I recently learned this is one of my father-in-law’s favourite desserts, too. I guess we have more in common that what I thought :)

Frozen grated cassava

Chapana is made with grated yuca (cassava), chancaca (basically cane sugar that has been boiled and solidified in a block) and aniseed. It’s wrapped in banana leaves and after cooking it acquires a chewy consistency. Grating cassava is a pain in the ass, so when I found frozen cassava in an ethnic shop (can’t remember which) I bought it immediately with cassava in mind. I used coconut sugar instead of chancaca for a hipster version (and also because I don’t know where to buy chancaca in Sydney!), adjusted the ratio (usually 1:1) to make it less sweet and did my best in wrapping the parcels (I’m very sloppy with that kind of things).

Chapana

Chapana
Yield: 4 servings

Chapana

Ingredients

  • 450g frozen grated cassava
  • 200-225g coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp aniseed
  • banana leaves
  • kitchen twine

Directions

  1. Thaw cassava in the fridge overnight.
  2. Wipe the banana leaves clean.
  3. In a bowl, mix cassava, coconut sugar and aniseed.
  4. Divide mix in 4 parts and wrap each in banana leaves in a rectangular pillow-like parcels, wrapping the leaf over itself in 2-3 layers without breaking it if possible.
  5. Tie the parcels with kitchen twine.
  6. Fill a pot with enough water to cover the parcels and bring to a boil.
  7. Pop the parcels in the pot and boil for 30 minutes.
  8. Fish the parcels out of the water and let cool down enough to unwrap and enjoy.
  9. Chapana is usually eaten warm, although some people enjoy it cold or at room temperature.

Recipe: Pimiento relleno (Peruvian-style stuffed capsicum)

Full disclaimer: this in not an authentic Peruvian recipe. The traditional dish is called rocoto relleno, rocoto being a special type of Peruvian really really REALLY hot chilli that I haven’t been able to find fresh in Australia. You can find them jarred but IMO it’s not the same. They jarred version is wet and soggy, characteristics that are particularly unappealing when talking about vegetables you’re about to stuff.

*Real* Peruvians (i.e. not my husband) like their food spicy, so they don’t mind their rocoto relleno to have a bit of a kick. Wimps and kids might prefer to have their rocoto boiled multiple times in water, vinegar and sugar to minimise the heat or have pimiento (capsicum) instead of rocoto.

Rocoto relleno is a dish typical to Arequipa, the white city. The filling is the almighty Peruvian filling based on beef mince, onion, garlic and chilli. The cheese in traditional recipes is paria, a salty fresh cheese. The closest substitution I’ve found here in Australia is sheep and/or goat haloumi. Rocoto relleno is commonly served with a side of pastel de papa, basically a potato bake. I recommend serving it with a leafy green salad instead.

Pimiento relleno (Peruvian-style stuffed capsicum)
Yield: 4 servings

Pimiento relleno

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp ghee or oil
  • 250g beef mince
  • 250g pork mince
  • 1 medium red onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 2 tbsp ají panca (Peruvian red chilli paste – you can sub any chilli paste)
  • 4 large capsicums
  • 4 olives, pitted
  • 2 boiled eggs, halved
  • 8 slices (about 240g) sheep and/or goat haloumi cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to a moderate-high temperature (180-200°C)
  2. Heat the ghee or oil in a saucepan. Add meat and brown.
  3. Add onion, garlic and ají panca. Cook until meat is fully cooked and onions are soft.
  4. Cut the top off each capsicum and carefully remove the internal membranes and seeds.
  5. Fill each capsicum halfway with meat, add 1 olive, 1/2 boiled egg and cover with more meat.
  6. Top filling with 2 slices of cheese and cover with the capsicum “lid”.
  7. Pop in the oven until the capsicum is soft but not soggy and the cheese has started melting. Serve with a green salad.
Estofado de pollo

Recipe: Estofado de pollo (Peruvian chicken stew)

This is one of those dishes that I used to hate as a kid and now I crave when homesickness kicks in. I think the main reason I dreaded it was that my mum or aunties cooked it too often.

I think mum has forgotten my aversion to estofado because she didn’t tease me when I asked for her recipe last time I spoke to her. Turns out that her recipe is simpler than what I imagined, and I managed to make it taste virtually the same. Except that now I like it :)

Estofado de pollo (Peruvian chicken stew)
Yield: 6-7 servings

Estofado de pollo

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp ghee or oil
  • 1.85kg chicken drumsticks
  • 1 red onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1.25 cups chicken broth
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 2 medium potatoes, diced
  • 0.5 cup frozen peas
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Heat the ghee or oil in a pot. Season the chicken drumsticks with salt and pepper and brown. Reserve.
  2. Lower the heat, add more ghee or oil if needed and cook the onion and garlic for 5-10 minutes until very soft and translucent.
  3. Add the tomato paste, chicken, chicken broth, carrot and potatoes. Stir, cover and cook until the chicken is done, about 20-30 minutes.
  4. Add the peas and check the seasoning.
  5. Serve with white rice and/or vegetables.
Anzac biscuits

Recipe: Better (gluten-free) Anzac biscuits

It’s been ages since I’ve eaten Anzac biscuits because they are definitely not gluten-free and. I know there are several paleo versions floating around in the interwebs but oats are such an important ingredient in this particular cookie that IMO they don’t deserve to be called Anzac biscuits at all.

Back when I reintroduced oats in my diet to follow the Chinese doctor’s nagging recommendations, I tried a few brands of gluten-free (by US standards, which are less strict than Australian) and uncontaminated oats. I didn’t have any issues with any of those so I use them regularly. For this recipe I used this brand of Australian uncontaminated oats. To learn more about oats, gluten and contamination click here.

I also bumped up the protein content by adding some whey protein powder and used a relatively low amount of unrefined sweeteners (coconut sugar and maple syrup), hence the name “better Anzacs”. Don’t be fooled though, these are still treats!
Hope you’re having a great Anzac Day!

Better (gluten-free) Anzac biscuits
Yield: about 14 medium chunky cookies

Better Anzac biscuits

Ingredients

Dry ingredients

  • 1 cup uncontaminated oats
  • 1/2 cup plain whey protein isolate
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Wet ingredients

  • 75g butter
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C (fan-forced works best).
  2. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Mix wet ingredients in a saucepan and melt on the stove (or place them in a bowl and melt in the microwave).
  4. Pour wet ingredients over dry and mix well with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.
  5. With your hands, make golf-sized balls with the batter, pressing firmly to make sure everything sticks together. Place on a tray lined with wax paper and flatten with your hand.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes depending on your taste (20 minutes will yield darker and crunchier cookies).
  7. Let cool down and enjoy.

Recipe: Puré de espinaca (spinach mash)

This is such an easy and middle-class recipe that I’m almost ashamed of posting it. But it brings warm memories of my childhood and of food from home. Eat with roast chicken, burger patties, fried eggs… whatever you fancy!

Puré de espinaca
Yield: 4-5 servings

Puré de espinaca

Ingredients

  • 0.5 kg potatoes
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 0.5 cup chicken broth or milk
  • 1-1.5 cups spinach
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Peel, cube and cook potatoes.
  2. Mash potatoes while hot, add butter and mix.
  3. Heat up broth/milk, pour over spinach in a blender and blend until puréed.
  4. Add spinach mix to potatoes, mix well and season.