Peruvian Shrimp Chowder (Chupe de Camarones)

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Today is Pieter’s birthday. He wanted to stay in and requested this Peruvian soup he remembers from when we were in Lima. I am very happy to oblige since of course I want to make him something that he really enjoys, but also a mini proud moment since of everything he wanted, he requested something from my home country. This soup is a sort of bisque. This version can be made anywhere. It is just very important to get whole shrimp (with shells and heads) since they are the base for this soup. Served with some lime wedges and it’s heaven in a bowl.

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This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

750g whole medium shrimp (peeled and deveined, reserve the shells and heads)

½ red onion, finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

½ cup tomato puree

2 teaspoons of tomato paste

3 Russet potatoes, peeled and chopped (or any other kind for mashing, you want it to give consistency to the soup)

Handful of rice

2 liters of seafood stock (I boiled 1 crab, 300 gr of vongole, 1 diced carrot, 2 stalks of celery and 1 leek)

2 tablespoons of butter

½ cup of white wine or Pisco

Salt

Olive oil

¼ cup of peas

¼ cup of broad beans

½ cup of corn kernels

200ml cream

1 tablespoon of dried oregano

150gr feta, crumbled

½ bunch of fresh coriander, chopped

Extras:

3 eggs, fried

Lime wedges for serving

 

To make the stock, just boil the crab with the vongole, carrot, celery and chopped leek for about 20-30 minutes, Then drain and reserve the stock.

To prepare the shrimp sauce, first peel the shrimp and then remove the veins. Reserve the shells and heads. Put the clean shrimp tails in a bowl and reserve in the fridge. (if you want you can reserve 3 whole shrimps and cook them with the shells and then reserve them for decorating the plate)

In a medium pan and over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of butter and olive oil. Then add the shells, heads and white wine. Cook until the wine has reduced. Put the shells in a blender; add some salt and about 3 cups of the seafood stock. Blend until smooth and then sift the mixture. Reserve it.

In a large pot, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Then add the garlic and tomato paste. Cook for a couple of minutes and then add the tomato puree. Add the remaining of the seafood stock and the shrimp sauce. Add the potatoes, a handful of rice and some salt. Let it simmer on medium heat for 20 to 30 minutes.

Add the peas, broad beans, corn kernels and shrimp tails to the soup. Let it cook for about 3 minutes and then add the cream.  Add the oregano, half of the chopped coriander and taste for salt.

Pour the soup into 3 bowls and sprinkle with some feta and more coriander. Place a fried egg on top of each bowl and serve with lime wedges. Enjoy!

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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

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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Lucuma & Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

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Lucuma is one of those things that bring me back to my childhood and Lima. It reminds me of going out for milkshakes and ice cream when I was little. It is a Peruvian fruit which is high in vitamins and it is a natural sweetener. Considered a super fruit, you can now find it at most health stores. It is easy to add to any smoothies for an extra nutrient kick. The taste is hard to describe for me, but some people say it tastes of a mixture between sweet potato and maple syrup. I love going to the market in Lima and picking some ripe lucuma to make milkshakes at my mom’s place. The smell of it is just divine!

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This recipe makes about 2 litters of ice cream.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups of milk

2 ½ cups of cream

¼ cup of honey

1 cup of sugar

2 vanilla bean or 2 tablespoons of vanilla essence

1/3 cup of lucuma powder

5 egg yolks

 

In a large bowl, whisk 1 cup of the milk with the lucuma powder. Set it aside.

Whisk the honey and sugar with the egg yolks in a large bowl.

Pour the remaining milk, cream and vanilla (seeds scraped and pod) in a saucepan over medium heat. Once it starts simmering, very slowly start pouring it into the egg yolk mixture while whisking. It is important to pour it slowly and to whisk it fast so that the yolks don’t curdle.

Then transfer the mixture back into the saucepan. Over medium-low heat and using a wooden spoon, stir for about 6 -10 minutes. You know it’s done, when you draw a line with your finger on the back of the spoon and it stays.

Then put a fine mesh sieve over the bowl with the lucuma and milk. Pour the vanilla mixture into the lucuma bowl.

Allow it to cool down to room temperature. Once it is at room temperature, place it in the fridge until it is cold. Preferably leave it in the fridge overnight to give it time for the flavors to develop.

Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Store it in an airtight container for at least 2 hours before serving. Enjoy!

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Papa Rellena (Potato stuffed with Beef)

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This is a very popular Peruvian dish which can be easily made in any country. Traditionally it has a bit of Peruvian chili paste (Aji panca) but you can also use any hot sauce or skip it all together. I’m out of Peruvian chili paste at the moment so I just used Frank’s RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper sauce. I also coated them in panko, because I find that you don’t get a nice even color with just flour. Plus panko adds crunchiness, so I am all for it. This is one of my childhood favorites and my mom still makes it when I visit her.

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This recipe makes about 7 stuffed potatoes.

Ingredients:

For the potato mash:

1 ½ kilos of potatoes, use starchy potatoes like Russet (or how it is called here: kruimige)

Salt

1 egg white

¼ cup of all-purpose flour

For the beef filling:

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 red onion, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

300grs of minced beef

1 tablespoon of Aji panca, or any hot sauce

¼ cup of tomato puree

50gr of pitted Kalamata olives, chopped

¼ cup of raisins, chopped

2 boiled eggs

2 tablespoons of chopped coriander

Pinch of sugar

Salt

Pepper

For the salsa criolla:

2 red onions, chopped

2 bird’s eye chili, chopped

4 tablespoons of chopped coriander

Juice of ½ lime

1 tablespoon of olive oil

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Extras:

1 1/2 cups of flour

1 ½ cups of panko

3 eggs, beaten

2 cups of vegetable oil for pan-frying

 

Boil the potatoes until tender. Then carefully peel them while they are still hot and mash them. Add salt to taste. Let it cool down a bit until you can handle touching the mash. Add the egg white and flour. Knead the dough with your hands making sure there are no lumps. Then cover it and start making the filling.

Place the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and minced beef. Cook until the beef starts to get brown. Then add the garlic and hot sauce, cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato puree, olives, raisins, salt, pepper and sugar. Cook for about 5 minutes while stirring, or until the beef is cooked through. Then turn off the heat and add the coriander.

Place the eggs in a saucepan, add boiling water and let them cook for 8 minutes. Peel off the shells and chop them. Add them to the meat mixture and mix well.

Take about 1 cup of the potato dough and flatten it with your hands, add about 2 to 3 tablespoons of the beef filling in the middle and them shape it into a sort of football. Make sure the filling is not sticking out. Repeat for all.

Once all the stuffed potatoes are done, have the coating ready. Coat each potato in the egg, then flour, then egg again and finally in the panko. Set it aside and repeat for the rest.

To make the salsa criolla, just mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.

Pour the vegetable oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, fry the potatoes in batches. I like to do only 2 at a time because they get golden quite fast. And you need to be careful when flipping them so they don’t break. Since the are already cooked, you just have to pan-fry them till they are evenly golden. Place them on a plate lined with paper towels.

Serve them right away with the salsa criolla.

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Beef Empanadas & Cassava Balls Stuffed with Mozzarella

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The holidays are nostalgic and this year even more so for me, as we won’t be able to be in Peru for the holidays. But at least I can make some Peruvian food. Empanadas are usually dusted with powdered sugar, some people might find it weird but it actually works pretty well with the filling. The filling is slightly sweet because of the raisins and salty because of the Kalamata olives. We usually eat them with a squeeze of lime juice but I also like it with some salsa criolla.  For the empanada dough, I used a recipe from Epicurious. The cassava balls are usually eaten with a sauce made with Peruvian chilies. Since they are not always easy to find here, I thought of making it more accessible and just serve it with a sriracha-lime mayo. But you can serve it with any sauce that you like. I used mozzarella as the filling but you can also use any other kind of cheese that you may like.

This recipe makes about 17 small empanadas and about 25 cassava balls.

Ingredients for the empanadas:

For the dough:

2 ¼ cups of all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoon salt

113grs cold butter, chopped

1 egg

1/3 cup of ice water

1 tablespoon of white vinegar

For the empanada filling:

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 red onion, chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

260gr of beef steak, chopped into very small cubes (you can also use minced beef)

½ cup of tomato pure

6 quail eggs, boiled for 3 minutes and then chopped

50 grs of Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

A handful of raisins, chopped

Pinch of cumin

Pinch of oregano

Pinch of sugar

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

3 tablespoons of chopped parsley

For the salsa criolla:

1 red onion, chopped

A handful of chopped parsley or coriander

Juice of half a lime

1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons of olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Chili to taste, chopped

Extras for the empanadas:

Egg wash

Powdered sugar for dusting

Lime wedges

 

To make the empanada dough:

Place the flour, salt and butter in the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low until the butter is mixed in and it resembles sand. Then add the egg, water and vinegar. Mix until you have an even dough. Wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for 1 hour.

To make the empanada filling:

In a large pan, over medium heat, add the olive oil. Once the pan is hot, add the onions and cook until translucent. Then add the beef and garlic. Cook until the beef is seared and then add the tomato puree, Kalamata, raisins, sugar, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes until the water from the tomato puree has evaporated and has become more of a paste. Turn off the heat and add the chopped quail eggs and parsley. Taste for salt and pepper. Allow it to cool down until ready to use.

Once the dough has chilled in the fridge for one hour, take it out and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Roll 1 piece out in your floured working area, don’t roll it out too thin though as the empanadas might break while baking. Using a 9cm round mold, cut as many circles as you can.

Place about 1 tablespoon of the filling in the middle of each circle and then close it into half a moon. Pinch the edges with your fingers to seal them. Then using a fork, finch the edges again. Repeat for all.

Brush each empanada with some egg wash. Bake them till golden, about 20 minutes.

To make the salsa criolla, just mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.

Dust the empanadas with some powdered sugar. Serve them with the salsa criolla and lime wedges.

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Ingredients for the cassava balls stuffed with mozzarella:

1 kilo of cassava

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons of melted butter

30grs of grated Parmesan

Salt to taste

A good pinch of garlic powder

A good pinch of onion powder

4 tablespoons of flour

200grs of mozzarella, cut into small cubes or any other cheese that you may like

For the coating:

2 beaten eggs

1 ½ cups of panko, mixed with salt

1 ½ cups of flour, mixed with salt

For the sriracha-lime mayo:

1/3 of a cup of Sriracha

1/3 of a cup of Mayonnaise

Juice of 2 limes

1 tablespoon of honey

Extras:

1 liter of vegetable oil for frying

 

To make the cassava balls:

To make the sriracha-lime mayo, just mix all of the ingredients in bowl. Keep it in the fridge until ready to serve.

Peel the cassava and chop it into large pieces. Place it in a large saucepan and add boiling water. Cook until tender, about 30 minutes.

Once the cassava is cooked, remove the tough stem that it has in the middle. Mash it until smooth while it is still warm. Add the butter, Parmesan, garlic powder, onion powder and salt. Mix well and taste to see if it has enough salt. Then add the egg yolks and flour, and mix it with your hands until you have a kind of dough.

Grab about 1 tablespoon of the cassava dough, make it into a ball and then flatten it with your hands. Place a piece of mozzarella in the middle and then make it into a ball again. Repeat for all.

Have the beaten eggs, flour and panko ready in separate bowls.

Coat each cassava ball in the flour, then in the beaten eggs and finally in the panko. Set it aside and repeat for the rest.

Place the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once it is hot, start frying the casaba balls in batches until they are golden. Just make sure the oil is not too hot, otherwise they will turn golden too quick without the cheese melting in the inside. Place them on a tray lined with paper towels. You can place them in the oven at 120C/250F to keep them warm until all of them are fried.

Serve them with the sriracha-lime mayo or the sauce of your choice.

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Merengon de guindones (Peruvian floating Island)

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When I was a kid, this dessert was pretty popular in Peru & my mom would make it often. Nowadays you really have to search for it, if you want to buy it. I actually only know one café in Lima where they always have it on the menu. When we are visiting, that place is always on our list as my husband also goes nuts for this dessert. It’s basically the same as an Île Flottante but made with gelatin & dried prunes, placed in a cake mold coated in caramel and baked in a water bath. It’s called merengon de guindones which means prune meringue. I made a tiny version for 2, using only 4 egg whites and served it with some vanilla bean crème anglaise. Since I’m not the biggest fan of dried prunes, I skipped them. If you would like to use the prunes, just grab a handful and soak them in hot water for a few minutes. Then chop them and add them to the meringue last.

This recipe is enough for a 19cm angel cake pan but you can easily make a larger cake.

For the caramel:

1 ½ cups of sugar

For the cake:

4 egg whites

½ cup of sugar

1 ½ gelatin leaves (total weight of 1.5grs)

¼ cup of cold water

For the crème anglaise:

3 egg yolks

¾ cups of sugar

1 cup of milk

1 teaspoon of cornstarch

1 vanilla bean

 

Preheat your oven to 180/350F

Melt the sugar for the caramel in a pan over medium heat and coat the cake pan with it.

Place the gelatin in a plate with the cold water and let it sit for a few minutes until it softens.

Place the gelatin with the water in a small pan over medium heat and stir until the gelatin has completely dissolved.

Whisk the egg whites until foamy, and then gradually add the sugar. Once you can form firm peaks, slowly add the gelatin while whisking. Pour the meringue into the caramel coated pan. Bake it in a water bath for 20 minutes. Allow it to cool down completely in the mold (it will shrink). Once it is cold, detach the edges using a knife heated with hot water. Unmold it into a cake platter. Keep it in the fridge until ready to serve.

To make the crème anglaise, place the milk, sugar and vanilla (seeds scraped off and bean) in a saucepan. Bring it to a simmer and then remove it from the heat. In medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the cornstarch. Slowly add the milk while whisking.

Pour the custard back into the pot and stir over low heat with a wooden spoon until it thickens. You know when it’s ready when you can draw a line with your finger on the back of the spoon and it leaves a path. Strain the custard and pour it into a bowl. Grab a piece of plastic wrap and cover it, touching the custard. This will prevent that layer of skin from forming. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve the merengon with the crème anglaise. Enjoy!

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Peruvian Zoodle Stir-Fry (Zucchini Saltado)

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This is a Peruvian-Asian fusion dish called Tallarin saltado, which means spaghetti stir-fry. This time I made it with zoodles, but you can just replace them for cooked spaghetti. Either way is delicious. This is comfort food, something my mom would make often at home. It is very easy to make and a quick meal for a weekday.

This recipe serves 1.

Ingredients:

1 ½ zucchinis

150gr of beef steak, diced

10 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

½ red onion, julienned

1 bird’s eye chili, chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 tablespoon of oyster sauce

3 tablespoons of soy sauce

A splash of Pisco, rum, or vodka

2 tablespoons of chopped coriander

Salt

Pepper

 

To make the zoodles, I used a mandoline with the julienne attachment. I stopped when I got to the core. You can also make them with a spiralizer or a potato peeler. If you use a potato peeler, just slice it into ribbons and then using a knife, cut it into julienne. Set aside.

Place the beef and the olive oil in a small bowl. Season it with salt and pepper.

Heat up a pan until it is almost smoking. Once it is very hot. Pour the meat with the oil. Sear the meat. Then add the onions, tomatoes, garlic and chili. Stir fry for 30 seconds and then add the alcohol and flambé. Once the flames are out, add the oyster sauce, soy sauce and zoodles. Stir-fry for 30 seconds and then add the coriander. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve right away.

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Pisco Sour

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This is Peru’s national drink. Pisco is to Peru as Tequila is to Mexico. Nowadays I don’t drink very often, but I always have a soft spot for Pisco sours.  Reminds me of the times I would go out to eat seafood with my family back in Peru.  Fresh seafood, summer, pisco sours! There are different variations of this drink. The recipe below is the original. Other versions include passion fruit, elderberry and one where the Pisco is infused with coca leaves (No, this will not get you high!).  Because I don’t drink very often, this hits me like a brick so I always make sure I have eaten before I drink one of these. After all it has an alcohol content of about 42%. The day I prepared this drink, I also made some crab cakes to go along with it. I will be posting the recipe for the crab cakes later this week. This recipe makes 2 servings.

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Ingredients:

4 shots of Peruvian Pisco

2 shots of lime juice

2 shots of simple syrup

12 ice cubes

1 egg white

Angostura bitters

 

You can make the simple syrup at home; just add equal parts of sugar and water to a sauce pan. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Allow it to cool down and then it is ready to use.  Just for this recipe I made 1 cup of water with one cup of sugar.

Place all of the ingredients except for the bitters in a blender. Blend until smooth. One quick tip, place the egg white last, once it is in contact with the lime juice blend it straight away, you don’t want it to curdle. The egg white is what gives this cocktail its foam.

Serve straight away and top with one or two drops of bitters.

 

 

Peruvian Chicken & Coriander Soup (Aguadito de Pollo)

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I was really looking forward to the spring-like weather that had been announced for this weekend.  I got over excited that it said it was going to be around 14 degrees Celsius. My wishful thinking took over me and in that mindset I left the house in a lighter jacket. Wrong, wrong, wrong idea! I thought it would be a nice idea to go to a petting zoo, since the weather was going to be so nice. As weird as it may sound, I had wanted to pet a cow for more than a year now. I love animals and whenever I travel by train and I see the countryside and farm animals, I have an urge to go pet them. Crazy animal lover lady here!

Since our choice of transport here is by bicycle, we went to the petting zoo biking.  The sun was out and shining but the very cold wind was a bit too much.  I had left my gloves at home along with my winter jacket and the wind was actually hurting my hands as we biked.  It was still nice to go outside and get some fresh air.  The only cow we found at the petting zoo surely enjoyed her head being scratched. But because the wind was very cold, we ended up going back home earlier.  A soup like this is very welcoming after a cold day out.

This soup falls under the category we call “levanta muertos”. It means to wake up the dead.  It is called like that because many people have it at dawn or early in the morning after a night out drinking.  There are different versions of it, like with fish or mussels.

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I grew up eating this. It was something my mom would make often during winter.  It’s comforting and filling. And like a lot of Peruvian dishes, it is served with lime wedges. It is not the prettiest soup to photograph to say the least but it makes up for it in taste.  I had to look for a replacement for Aji Amarillo (Peruvian chili paste) because I am not always able to find it here.  I have started using Sriracha as a replacement in some dishes and for this it also works well. For the coriander rice version of this dish, you can click here.

This soup is ready in about 30 minutes. This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

2 bunches of coriander (without the hard stems)

200gr chicken breast, diced

10 cups of chicken stock

½ cup canned corn, or fresh

½ cup green peas, can be frozen or fresh

½ sweet pepper or bell pepper

1 red onion, chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon of sriracha or Peruvian Aji Amarillo paste (yellow chili paste)

1/3 cup of rice

Salt

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

Lime wedges for serving

 

Blend the coriander with the stock and set aside.

In a large pot, add the vegetable oil over medium heat.  Add the onions, garlic, sriracha or Aji Amarillo, and sweet pepper.  Cook for about 2 minutes. Then add the diced chicken and rice. Stir for another minute and add the coriander stock. Cook for about 20 minutes. Then add the corn and peas.  Let it cook until the corn and peas are done. Taste for salt. Serve with lime wedges.