Peruvian Shrimp Risotto (with Aji Amarillo)

It’s already turning a bit chilly here, so comfort food is in order. This Peruvian risotto has a bit of a kick because of the Aji Amarillo chili paste (you can find it at Tijn’s toko here in Amsterdam, or online). I made a sauce using the shrimp heads and shells, so you can really taste the shrimp. It’s sort of a risotto with shrimp bisque. The flavors remind me of my childhood. That’s also why I served it with some fried calamari, besides just for added texture and flavor.

This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

For the risotto:

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 small white onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons of Aji Amarillo paste

800grs of shrimp, with the heads and shells

3/4 cup of White wine

1 ¾ cups of Arborio rice (risotto rice)

1 1/2 litters of vegetable stock

½ cup of cream

½ cup of grated Grana Padano (or Parmesan)

Salt to taste

For the shrimp sauce:

The shell of the tails and the heads of the shrimp

2 tablespoons of butter

¼ cup of white wine

2 cups of vegetable stock

Extras:

Olive oil or butter to cook the shrimp tails

1 tablespoon of chopped parsley

Fried calamari (optional), recipe here

Lime wedges for serving

 

First make the shrimp sauce. Remove the heads from the shrimp. Then peel and devein them. Keep the tail shells and the heads. Place the peeled shrimp tails back in the fridge.

In a large pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of butter. Once the butter has melted, add the shrimp shells and heads. Sautee them for about 1 minute. Then add the white wine. Let it reduce for one minute while stirring. Then add two cups of vegetable stock and let it reduce for 5 minutes. Then blend it all until smooth. Pass it through a fine mesh sieve. Set the sauce aside. Discard the solids.

Then start making the risotto. Place the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over low heat. Once the pan is hot, add the onions. Cook for 4 minutes, until they are translucent (but not brown). Stir from time to time. Then add the garlic and the Aji Amarillo paste. Cook for 2 minutes while stirring. Add the rice, stir to coat it in the sauce. Then add the white wine and let it reduce for 30 seconds. Turn up the heat to medium-low. Add one ladle of the vegetable stock to the rice and stir until most of it evaporates. Repeat adding ladles of the stock and stirring for 15 minutes.

Finally add the shrimp sauce, grated grana Padano and cream. Cook for 5 minutes while stirring.  Turn off the heat.

In another pan, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil or butter. Add the shrimp tails and cook until they turn pink. Time will vary depending on the side of the shrimp, but they cook quite fast. Add salt to taste.

Serve the risotto into bowls, add the shrimp tails and sprinkle with some parsley. Serve it with some lime wedges. I also served it some fried calamari, this is optional but it goes really well with it. For the calamari; I just breaded it flour, then beaten eggs and finally in panko. If you want to have the full recipe (and how to clean the squid), you can check this recipe of mine. I just didn’t use cornmeal this time.

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Peruvian Aji Amarillo Sauce & Rocoto Sauce (Chili sauces)

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Aji amarillo which means yellow chili (even though it is actually orange) and rocoto (a red chili that kind of resembles a bell pepper) are the most popular chili peppers from Peru.

These two are my all-time favorite sauces for pretty much everything. They are great with fries, rotisserie or fried chicken, burgers, you name it! If you go to any restaurant or fast food place in Peru, you will most likely find these. Of course the level of heat depends on the chilies, so it sometimes varies. But most often they are not very spicy, especially the one with aji amarillo. Rocoto sauce tends to be more spicy, but the lime juice balances the heat very well. Whenever I make them, they are gone within the same day. Pieter also goes crazy for them.

You can usually find the aji amarillo and rocoto paste at any store that sells products from South America or online.

This time I served the sauces with buttermilk fried chicken and fried cassava. You can find the buttermilk fried chicken recipe here.

Ingredients:

For the aji amarillo sauce:

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

1 medium red onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

85grs of aji amarillo paste (About half a cup, minus one tablespoon)

2 tablespoons of chopped coriander

½ cup of mayonnaise

Juice of ½ a lime

Pinch of celery salt

Pinch of salt

For the rocoto sauce:

85grs of rocoto paste

2 spring onions, finely chopped

Juice of 2 limes

Pinch of Salt

Pepper to taste

1 tablespoon of olive oil

 

To make the aji amarillo sauce, place the vegetable oil in a pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook it until it becomes translucent (don’t brown it). Then add the minced garlic and cook it for an extra minute while stirring.

Blend the onion and garlic mixture with the remaining ingredients. Adjust the salt to your liking. Transfer it to a bowl and store it covered in the fridge until ready to serve.

To make the rocoto sauce, just mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Store it covered in the fridge until ready to use.

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Peruvian Rice with Clams & Prawns (Arroz con Mariscos)

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This morning I had to go to the Peruvian embassy to vote so I thought, might as well have a Peruvian lunch.This is my version of the classic Arroz con Mariscos., a Peruvian rice with seafood. It usually also has fish, octopus, squid and scallops. Mine is a simpler version with just prawns and clams. It is like a seafood risotto with chilies, coriander and lime. For this recipe you need 2 kinds of Peruvian chili paste. You can usually find them at Latin American stores or online.

This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

7 cups of cooked rice

500grs of clams (I used cockles)

400grs of large prawns

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 tablespoons of butter

½ red onion, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons of aji panca (a type of Peruvian Chili paste)

2 tablespoons of aji amarillo (Peruvian yellow chili paste)

½ cup of white wine

1 cup of fish or seafood stock (you can also use any stock you like)

1/3 cup of tomato puree

250ml of cream

¾ cup of frozen peas

20grs of grated parmesan

½ cup of chopped coriander

Salt to taste

Juice of ½ a lime

Extras:

More chopped coriander for decoration

Lime wedges for serving

 

Cook the rice. Once it is cooked, start with the rest.

Rinse the clams under cold water for a couple of minutes. Discard of any that are open and don’t close when you tap them.

In a large pan over medium heat, add the butter and olive oil. Once the butter has melted, add the onion and cook until translucent.

Then add the garlic, aji panca and aji amarillo. Cook for 1 minute while stirring.

Add the prawns and cook until they turn pink and are cooked through. This will only take a few minutes, depending on their size. Remove the prawns from the pan and set them aside.

Add the white wine, clams and stock to the same pan where you cooked the prawns. Cover it with a lid until the clams open. Once the clams are cooked, remove them from the pan and set them aside. Discard of any that didn’t open.

Add the tomato puree to the same pan. Stir to mix it well and then add the cooked rice. Stir and add the cream, Parmesan, peas and coriander. Stir until the peas are cooked. Add the juice of ½ a lime and salt to taste.

To plate up, place the prawns and clams on top of the rice. Add extra chopped coriander and serve with lime wedges.

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