Recipe: Simple huancaína sauce

This is the quintessential Peruvian sauce, originally the main ingredient of papa a la huancaína (Huancayo-style potato), but nowadays used as a sauce to serve alongside pretty much anything. I like to serve it with cassava chips, made by boiling frozen cassava and then frying it in butter.

The original recipe has the following ingredients: ají amarillo (Peruvian yellow chilli), queso fresco (Peruvian feta cheese), evaporated milk and soda crackers. I used to sautée the chillies with onion and garlic but this is optional. I now omit the crackers to make it gluten-free and lower carb and use ají amarillo paste because I can’t find fresh ones in Sydney. Also, Australian feta is closer in flavour to its Peruvian cousin than the Greek or Danish varieties.

Simple huancaína sauce
Yield: about 1 cup

Huancaína

Ingredients

  • 200g Australian feta
  • 1/2 cup cooking cream
  • 1 tsp ají amarillo paste

To serve – any or all of the following:

  • boiled potatoes
  • boiled and fried cassava
  • Peruvian corn kernels threaded in toothpics

Directions

  1. Blend all sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor to your desired level of chunkiness.
  2. Serve with starchy things to dip in sauce.

Recipe: Two dips with CO YO

As promised, here’s a recipe featuring the wonderful coconut yoghurt CO YO. Serve with cucumber slices, on top of salad greens, or however you prefer.

Trout and tuna dips
Yield: about 1 cup each

Trout and tuna dips with CO YO

Ingredients

Trout & beetroot dip

  • 100g beetroot
  • 100g smoked trout fillet
  • 4 tablespoons natural CO YO
  • 1 gherkin, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon gherkin liquid
  • 1 tablespoon minced dill

Curried tuna dip

  • 185g can tuna in springwater
  • 8 tablespoons natural CO YO
  • 2 gherkins, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Directions

Trout & beetroot dip

  1. Cut beetroot in chunks and steam until soft (20-30 minutes).
  2. Mash beetroot and trout with a fork, add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

Curried tuna dip

  1. Drain tuna and mash with a fork, add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

Recipe: Sweet potato fries

I love sweet potatotes. My favourite way of eating them is to cube them and roast them in the oven for a few hours until they dry out and become crunchy. I heard once that crunchy food = fun food and soft food = comfort food. I could not agree more.

I’ve tried making sweet potato fries before but because of the high water content, they don’t turn as crunchy as regular potato fries. I thought drying them out in the oven before frying them would do the trick, and it did, although they didn’t remain crunchy for too long. They were still delicious. We ate them dipped in macadamia oil aioli, as a side to beef/bacon bugers with beetroot and pineapple and a big-ass salad.

Sweet potato fries

Sweet potatoes, after drying in the oven

Sweet potato fries
Yield: depends!

Sweet potato fries

Ingredients

  • sweet potatoes
  • ghee, butter or bacon fat
  • sea salt

Directions

  1. Cut sweet potatoes in “fries” shape.
  2. Bake in the oven at 180° for approximately 30 minutes. They should be fully cooked and have a dry surface (see photo above).
  3. Heat fat in a pan and fry the sweet potatoes until browned and crunchy.
  4. Sprinkle with sea salt and enjoy.

Recipe: Cauliflower fritters

As time passes by, I crave more and more dishes that I grew up eating and not caring about too much. I took them for granted and was more excited about the school kiosk’s empanadas, apple pie and chocolate cake or the Saturday post-shopping restaurant meals. But now I regret not having spent some time watching my aunties and mum preparing their food repertoire, because I’d love to know the recipes by heart.

One simple dish that my aunties used to have ready for us when we got back from school were torrejitas de coliflor (cauliflower fritters). They served them as a main with white rice and a ultra simple yet delicious dipping sauce made with Chinese soy sauce and American mustard. Last week I called them to ask for the recipe but sadly they haven’t prepared them in a long time and didn’t remember proportions.

I decided to give it a shot anyway. And I made them gluten-free/Paleo/Primal (trying to get back to 90% clean eating). I got a recipe for fritter batter from the web and I messed up the quantities for the coconut oil and milk. But they turned out good, so that’s the recipe I’ll use from now on.

Cauliflower fritters
Yield: 8-10 servings as an appetizer, 4-6 as a main
Batter adapted from this recipe

Cauliflower fritters

1 head cauliflower
6 tablespoons coconut flour
3 teaspoons salt
3/8 teaspoon baking soda
6 eggs
6 tablespoons coconut oil
3 tablespoons coconut milk
Chinese soy sauce (or other kind)
American mustard (or other mild mustard)

Sift coconut flour.

Melt coconut oil.

Mix coconut flour, salt and baking soda.

In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, add coconut milk and coconut oil.

Mix dry and wet ingredients and stir until the batter is smooth.

Slice cauliflower in 1/2 cm thick tree-like thingies.

Spread batter on cauliflower bits, fry in non-stick pan for a few minutes on each side, until nicely browned.

For the dipping sauce, start with a proportion of 4:1 soy sauce to mustard. For example: 4 tablespoons soy sauce and 1 tablespoon mustard. Whisk until completely blended. Taste and adjust.