Recipe: Ají de atún with lupin flakes

Ají de atún is a lesser-known version of the traditional Peruvian chicken stew ají de gallina. It uses canned tuna instead of chicken, which makes it cheaper and easier to prepare. This dish was in semi-regular rotation at my aunties’ so I assumed it was fairly common, but it turns out Alvaro had never heard of it. I haven’t asked where they got the recipe from but I bet it came from the Nicolini cookbook.

Ají de atún is normally made with white sandwich bread and evaporated milk. I could have used gluten-free bread but decided to go one step further and make the dish more nutritious by using lupin flakes instead. I might post a more traditional (but gluten-free) recipe in the future, so keep your eyes peeled. For now, I leave you with the higher protein, higher fibre, lower carb ají de atún.

Ají de atún with lupin flakes
Yield: 3 servings

Ají de atún with lupin flakes


  • 1 (425g) can tuna in springwater or brine
  • 1 tbsp ghee or oil
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp ají amarillo paste (or other chilli paste)
  • 3/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 4 tbsp lupin flakes
  • 4 tbsp cream
  • salt to taste
  • parsley, chopped

To serve

  • 1 1/2 boiled eggs
  • 3 black olives (preferably botija)
  • cauliflower rice, rice and/or potatoes
  • parsley, chopped


  1. Heat up stock until warm and add lupin flakes. Reserve to let flakes absorb stock.
  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. Drain tuna and add to the saucepan, along with hydrated lupin flakes. Cook for another 2-3 minutes add cream and season to taste.
  5. Serve with cauliflower rice, rice and/or potatoes. Garnish with an olive, 1/2 boiled egg and chopped parsley.

Recipe: Tallarines blancos con atún (pasta with white sauce and tuna)

This is one of the dishes that were in rotation at my aunties’ but I never got sick of it. In fact, it was one of my favourites. Sadly, I never got the original recipe from auntie Sumi. This is my best attempt to approximate the dish using my taste memory and the current family recipe.

Tallarines blancos con atún (pasta with white sauce and tuna)
Yield: 2-3 servings

Tallarines blancos con atún


  • 1 (250g) pack gluten-free pasta, preferably penne (I used San Remo pulse pasta)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp rice flour
  • 1 cup milk (any kind, I used A2 full fat)
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan
  • 2 (185g) cans tuna
  • salt and pepper


  1. Cook pasta according to pack instructions. Drain and reserve.
  2. Heat up milk until warm. Don’t let it boil.
  3. Melt butter in a saucepan or pot. Add rice flour and stir until smooth. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Continue stirring as you pour milk slowly until the sauce has thickened.
  5. Turn off heat, add parmesan and tuna, mix well and season to taste.
  6. Add pasta, coat with sauce and serve with a side salad.

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


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


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: Atún playero (beach tuna)

More than a recipe, this is a memory. When I was a little girl, my dad took us to the beach every single Sunday in summer (from December 21st to March 20th – he’s extremely punctual). My mum was, as always, in charge of food. She packed a big container full of tuna sandwiches and two huge soft drink bottles (a Coke and a Inca Kola because tastes in the family were divided). Once in the beach, between swimming and sun-bathing, they bought us snacks: some sort of sweet tuile-like cylinders, delicious natural fruit ice pops (I usually got mango, my sisters and mum loved the coconut ones) and/or regular ice cream. But the highlight for me were the tuna sandwiches.

The sandwich filling is super simple: canned tuna, tomato, red onion, lime juice, salt and pepper. The combination is very tasty but also super moist. My mum made the sandwiches in sliced white bread and by the time we got to eat them the bread was all soggy. Not only that, but the sand in the beach inevitably stuck to the damp bread. Back then I was sometimes annoyed when I chewed on some sand or my sandwich fell apart in my hands, but now I really miss the taste, the smell, the feel, and the whole experience. I don’t miss being a fat kid in the beach, though :)

Canned tuna in Australia tastes different from canned tuna in Perú (fish and seafood in general do). But I can trick myself into bringing back those memories with a bit of atún playero (beach tuna), now free of bread… and sand.

Atún playero (beach tuna)
Yield: 2 servings as an entrée

Beach tuna


  • 300 gr canned tuna in springwater
  • 1 ripe tomato
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 limes
  • salt and pepper


  1. Drain tuna.
  2. Seed and chop tomatoes.
  3. Chop onion.
  4. Mix tuna, tomato, onion and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve as an entrée with some greens, maybe throw an avocado or make sandwiches if that’s your thing.

Holidays in Lima (April 28 2010)

Wednesday’s pre-workout meal was a granadilla*, three boiled quail eggs that my mum had left in the fridge for me and a banana de seda**. Then, after training I had one banana de la isla** and almonds.

I had lunch with my friend from school Carla. Ironically, she was the one who “booked” a meeting with me before than anybody else and we had to reschedule our lunch a couple of times. First she was sent to a beach in the South of Lima on the day we had originally agreed. Then we chose another restaurant that was closer to her office, and when I got there it was being renovated. I ringed her and we quickly thought on another meeting point. She picked me up and I chose a restaurant nearby, another cebichería (I LOVE seafood) called La Preferida (the preferred). We ordered a tiradito*** with two sauces (yellow chili and Parmesan cheese) and conchitas a la parmesana (scallops with broiled Parmesan cheese).




I had a Cusqueña beer and Carla a Inca Kola**** and, of course, we ate a lot of canchita****.


Food was really good, as usual, and I had a great time chatting with Carla. After lunch I checked my emails and went to Julio’s house. We walked a few hundred meters to the seafront of Miraflores, where the tandem flight guys are located when there’s enough wind to fly. The experience costs 150 soles (I think it was cheaper before) and lasts only 10 minutes. Because you fly with an instructor, you have to do nothing but relax and feel like floating over the sea and the seafront, watching the buildings beside you and other people in tandems performing tricks.




When time was over the wind kept pushing us up, so the instructor had to turn around and try again three times, meaning that I had extra time for free!

Then Julio and I went to Larcomar (a shopping centre next to the sea) to drink something. We stopped in a fruit bar called Disfruta (it means enjoy but the name in Spanish plays with the word fruta, fruit). I had a juice called Tuna Manía that had tuna, mango and granadilla. Before you scream in horror, tuna in Spanish is the name of a fruit, the fish you know as tuna is called atún. Tuna (the fruit) comes from cactuses.

On my way back home I had to change buses. I went to a bakery called Wilton’s and ate an alfajor, two corn flour sweet biscuits with a layer manjarblanco (caramel) in the middle and covered with icing sugar. It was delicious and it didn’t have shredded coconut on the sides (most of the times, people roll the sides of alfajores in shredded coconut, which I hate).

That night I went with mum to my aunties’ house. I had leftovers from the previous day for dinner: yuquitas fritas***** with huancaína and ocopa sauces and a quarter of a butifarra plus picarones, a dough made with flour, cooked pumpkin, cooked sweet potato and yeast, shaped like a donut, fried and served with miel de chancaca, a syrup made from dark cane sugar, fig leaves, cinammon and cloves.


* The explanation about granadilla can be found here.

** The explanation about the types of bananas can be found here.

*** The explanation about tiradito and huancaína sauce can be found here.

**** The explanation about Inca Kola and canchita can be found here.

***** The explanation about yuquitas fritas and ocopa sauce can be found here.