User login

¡Me Encanta Perú! - Ceviche and Papas Rellenas

Daring Cooks
March 2011

I’m Kathlyn of Bake Like a Ninja – I’ve been a member of Daring Cooks since its inception (can’t tell you how happy my husband is that I make new savory treats every month now!) and I am thrilled to be hosting the March 2011 challenge. I just got back from almost a month in Lima, Perú, where I was finishing up the last leg of my MBA program (I know, school life was rough). As my high school buddy Michael, a native Peruano, says, “Lima is an eating town;” he’s not kidding. I always thought that Paris and/or Venice would stay at the top of my list for eating cities. Lima is not only a contender for the top spot, it has the added advantage of offering the most delicious prix fixé lunches for anywhere from 7-12 soles (that’s approximately $2.50 - $4 USD), including a starter, main course and a beverage.

Download the printable .pdf file HERE!

I love me some excellent food, but I am nothing if not…how would my grandmother put it politely? Thrifty? Anyway, the people of Lima know their food and I wanted to use this challenge to showcase something really Peruvian. Since I am nowhere near to being a genuine Peruvian or any kind of authority on la cosina peruana, I asked one of my Spanish teachers from Lima to help me out with some recipes. My main challenge (with this challenge!) is that there aren’t a whole lot of non-meat dishes. There’s plenty of fish, so if you just abstain from red meats, you’ve got mucho to choose from. But fully vegetarian – or vegan – that’s a bit harder. I’ve hopefully circumvented this problem to what will be everyone’s satisfaction by separating the challenge into to parts; one is ceviche, which is ubiquitous in Lima restaurants and could arguably be the national dish of Perú. It’s basically raw fish or seafood that is “cooked” with a treatment of citrus juice (traditionally sour orange, but here we will use lime). The other half of the challenge is Papas Rellenas, which is essentially a clever way to use up leftover potatoes. The filling is usually made with beef, but I’ve got an alternative recipe that should work for both vegetarians and vegans.
Recipe Source: Ceviche de Pescado from “Peruvian Cooking – Basic Recipes” by Annik Franco Barreau. Papas Rellenas adapted from a home recipe by my Spanish teacher Mayra. Vegan Papas Rellenas recipe adapted from the Vegan Good Eats blog (http://vegangoodeats.com/2010/05/papa-rellena/), written by Joel Luks. The Salsa Criolla recipe also comes from Joel’s blog.

Blog-checking lines: Kathlyn of Bake Like a Ninja was our Daring Cooks’ March 2011 hostess. Kathlyn challenges us to make two classic Peruvian dishes: Ceviche de Pescado from “Peruvian Cooking – Basic Recipes” by Annik Franco Barreau. And Papas Rellenas adapted from a home recipe by Kathlyn’s Spanish teacher, Mayra.

Posting Date: March 14, 2011

Download the printable .pdf file HERE

Note: Most of my notes are incorporated into the recipes, but here are a couple more before you get started.

Meat-filled papas – I made both recipes and the papas from this one are going to be smaller than the ones pictured if you want to get six, and you might have a bit of filling left over. If you want to get six larger papas (like the ones pictured here, and the ones on Joel’s blog), double the amount of potatoes and egg.

Vegan-filled papas – I think this recipe will yield more than six – I made a fractional recipe and got three, so I think you’ll end up with closer to 12 if you use the amounts listed here.

The thing about both these papas recipes – nothing is really set in stone. You can use your judgment and nothing too dire will come of it. Some people make papas with no binder at all (so no egg and no cornstarch) – they will probably be a bit more finicky, but you can do it, so don’t be afraid to change proportions or amounts to fit your needs.

I do encourage you to try the salsa criolla for a Peruvian experience, but it is a light sauce and you might want more for your papas. That said, I think they would make an amazing and interesting side dish to a roast (instead of mashed potatoes) with a gravy. And they will sit nicely in your oven while your roast stands and you are making the gravy.

Also, on the fillings – go nuts. The first recipe is from a Peruvian home kitchen, but my sense is (Peruvian cooks, please correct me if I’m wrong) that changing it up to suit your taste isn’t breaking any set-in-stone rules. I think the best way to approach the filling is to taste it and add anything you feel is missing – the recipe is just filling and potatoes, so the taste is not going to change once they are formed and you might as well make something you like!

Lastly, an onion tip – all the recipes that call for sliced onions (as opposed to diced) should be sliced super thin, with a half moon shape, like this:

It’s also not a bad idea to use the soaking method (soak for 10 minutes in cold salt water) when using them in the ceviche and salsa criolla recipes. Soaking not necessary for onions that will be sautéed.

Mandatory Items: Make at least one of the two recipes. If you chose the ceviche, it must be made with raw seafood and it must be “cooked” according to the method outlined in the recipe. If you choose the papas rellenas, you must make the “dough” according to one of the two recipes, shape the “potatoes” around a filling per the recipe instructions, and fry them in oil. If you choose both, you’re in for a tasty treat.

IF you are a real live Peruano/a, or have spent years in Perú, or are somehow otherwise well-versed in Peruvian cuisine, and you have a real authentic recipe that can be used instead of the ones I’ve provide, that’s fine – just make sure that you are making Peruvian ceviche and/or papas rellenas AND share the recipe!

Bonus points! Prepare the “Pisco Sour” at the end to reward yourself for all your efforts. This really is the national cocktail of Perú (just go ahead and try telling a peruano that it’s from someplace else. Go ahead…I dare you!) and it’s quite tasty. I know BevMo sells pisco, so there is at least one source outside of Peru for it and I believe there are more. Warning – this stuff is a bit of a headache in a glass if you overindulge, but as a nice late-afternoon cocktail, it sure is tasty!

Variations allowed: For the ceviche, “cooking” times and flavorings can be adjusted to taste. The papas rellenas can be made with or without eggs and filled according to individual preference. The filling really doesn’t matter – feel free to be creative. It’s the technique of making the “potato” that’s filled and then fried that I think really makes a papa rellena. Feel free to sauce them however you like as well (although I highly recommend at least trying the criolla sauce).

Preparation time:

Ceviche – total time, 30 minutes – 1 day
Washing and slicing fish, juicing limes, preparing rest of ingredients: 30 minutes
“Cooking” time: 10 minutes – overnight

Papas rellenas – total time, 3 hours
Boiling and cooling potatoes: 2 hours
Preparing filling: 1 hour (can be done as potatoes cool)
Preparing dough: 30 minutes
Shaping and filling papas: 30 minutes
Frying papas: 20-30 minutes (depending on how many batches)

Salsa criolla – total time, 1 hour
Slicing ingredients: 20 minutes
Soaking onions: 10 minutes (can be done simultaneously)
“Resting” to meld flavors: 30 minutes, minimum

Pisco sour – total time, 15 minutes (plus one day for hangover recovery)
Ingredient prep: 5 minutes
Blending: 10 minutes
Drinking: that’s up to you!

Equipment required:

For the Ceviche:
• Shallow non-metal pan (Pyrex works great)
• Sharp chef knife
• Citrus reamer or a juicer
• Measuring cups
• Strainer (to remove juice pulp and seeds from lime juice)
• Plastic cutting board (works best for fish)

For the Papas Rellenas:
• Potato ricer (recommended) or a potato masher
• Pan capable of holding 2” (50 mm) of oil for frying the Papas (small dutch oven is ideal)
• Frying pan for cooking filling(s)
• Medium mixing bowl
• Three smaller bowls or pie pans
• Measuring cups and spoons
• Pot for boiling potatoes

For the Salsa Criolla:
• Sharp chef knife for slicing onions
• Med bowl for mixing ingredients

For the Pisco Sour:
• Citrus reamer or juicer
• Blender (can use a cocktail shaker but blender preferred)
• Liquor measurer (something that can portion out an ounce of liquid)

Cheviche de Pescado (Fish Ceviche):

Serves 6 as a “starter” or lunch portion. Serves 2 as a dinner.

Ingredients

2 lbs. (about 1 kg) firm white fish (scallops or other seafood may be substituted)*
2 garlic cloves, mashed
1 chili pepper, minced (I recommend Aji if you can find it, but Jalapeno or other peppers can sub)
1 cup (240 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice (between 8-12 limes)
Fresh juice only, no bottled. Can use lemons in lieu of limes.
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (4 grams) (1/8 oz) fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
1 red onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
Salt and pepper (to taste)

Garnish:
1 large sweet potato
1 large ear of corn
Lettuce leaves

Directions:

  1. Boil sweet potato and corn (separately) if using for garnish. Allow to cool. (Can be done hours or even a day in advance)
  2. Wash and trim your fish. Slice into pieces between ½ inch (15 mm) cubes to 2 inch (50mm) pieces, depending on taste.**
  3. Place fish in a non-reactive, shallow pan in a thin layer. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Combine lime juice, chili pepper, coriander and garlic. Pour mixture over fish. Stir lightly to expose all the fish to some of the lime juice mixture.
  5. Put sliced onion on top of fish as it “cooks”
  6. Let fish stand for 10 minutes.*** Lift fish out of the lime juice and plate individual portions ,**** garnishing with lettuce, slices of sweet potato and slices or kernels of corn if using.

* It is important to use high quality, really fresh fish. You can use previously frozen (I’ve been using it because I am too cheap to buy this much sashimi grade fish), but it’s not as good. The better your fish, the better your ceviche.
** The fish is going to “cook” in the lime juice – how thick you make the pieces will determine how much the fish cooks, so keep your own preference in mind when you are cutting the fish up.
*** I have looked at recipes all over the interwebs for ceviche, and they all have different “cooking” times – I am going with 10 minutes because that’s what my Peruvian cookbook says. While I was in Lima, all the ceviche I ate was just barely white, and basically raw. I may cause a raging debate about ceviche by saying this, but I think that is most traditional. However, you can thoroughly cook the fish by letting it sit much longer – a few hours or even overnight. When I did this, it made the fish taste of nothing but lime and it was a bit rubbery, so it’s not what I would recommend.
**** The portions can vary; personally I prefer to have ceviche as I mostly ate it in Lima – as a starter, in a fairly small portion. It’s very light and a lovely way to start off before eating something else. You can also eat a full meal portion of it if you want – I think that’s too much, but if you love it, don’t let my taste stop you!

Here is a photo of a full plate of ceviche I ate in Lima – you can both see the size of the portion (it was all I had for lunch and dinner that day) and how “cooked” the fish is – this is typical of Peruvian ceviche (in my experience). The fish is just slightly white around the edges, while most of it is essentially raw.

Papas Rellenas (de carne):

Makes 6

Ingredients

For the dough:
2¼ lb (1 kg) russet potatoes
1 large egg

For the filling:
2 tablespoon (30 ml) of a light flavored oil
½ lb (250 grams) ground (minced) beef
6 black olives, pitted and chopped (use more if you love olives)
3 hard boiled large eggs, chopped
1 small onion, finely diced (about 1 cup (240 ml))
½ cup (120 ml) (90 gm) (3 oz) raisins, soaked in 1 cup (240 ml) boiling water for 10 minutes, then minced
1 finely diced aji pepper (ok to sub jalapeño or other pepper – if you are shy about heat, use less)
2 cloves garlic, minced or passed through a press (if you love garlic, add more)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (4 gm) (1/8 oz) ground cumin (use more if you like cumin)
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) (2 gm) (1/16 oz) sweet paprika
¼ c. white wine, water or beef stock for deglazing
Salt and pepper to taste

For the final preparation:
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm) (5 oz) all-purpose flour
Dash cayenne pepper
Dash salt
1 cup dry (240 ml) (110 gm) (4 oz) or fresh (240 ml) (60 gm) (2 oz) bread crumbs (you can use regular, panko, make your own or use store-bought)

Oil for frying (enough for 2” (50 mm) in a heavy pan like a medium sized dutch oven)

Directions:

In order to save time, you can boil the potatoes, and while they are cooling, you can make the filling. While that is cooling, you can make the potato “dough.” In this way, little time is spent waiting for anything to cool.

For the dough:

  1. Boil the potatoes until they pierce easily with a fork. Remove them from the water and cool.
  2. Once the potatoes have cooled, peel them and mash them with a potato masher or force them through a potato ricer (preferred).
  3. Add egg, salt and pepper and knead “dough” thoroughly to ensure that ingredients are well combined and uniformly distributed.

While the potatoes cool down before finishing the dough, you can make the filling:

  1. Gently brown onion and garlic in oil (about 5 minutes).
  2. Add the chili pepper and sauté for a couple more minutes.
  3. Add ground beef and brown.
  4. Add raisins, cumin and paprika and cook briefly (a few seconds).
  5. Deglaze the pan with white wine.
  6. Add olives and cook for a few moments longer.
  7. Add hard boiled eggs and fold in off heat.
  8. Allow filling to cool before forming “papas.”

Forming and frying the papas:

  1. Use three small bowls to prepare the papas. In one, combine flour, cayenne and salt. In the second, a beaten egg with a tiny bit of water. Put bread crumbs in the third
  2. Flour your hands and scoop up 1/6 of the total dough to make a round pancake with your hands. Make a slight indentation in the middle for the filling.
  3. Spoon a generous amount of filling into the center and then roll the potato closed, forming a smooth, potato-shaped casing around the filling. Repeat with all dough (you should have about 6 papas).
  4. Heat 1 ½ - 2 inches (4 – 5 cm) of oil in a pan to about 350 – 375° F (175 - 190°C).
  5. Dip each papa in the three bowls to coat: first roll in flour, then dip in egg, then roll in bread crumbs.
  6. Fry the papas (in batches if necessary) about 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Flip once in the middle of frying to brown both sides.
  7. Drain on paper towel and store in a 200ºF (95ºC) (gas mark ¼) oven if frying in batches.
  8. Serve with salsa criolla (or other sauce of preference) immediately.

Papas Rellenas (vegetarian/vegan):

Makes 6

Ingredients

For the dough:
5 pounds (2¼ kg) (3 large – 4 medium) russet potatoes
½ cup (120 ml) (75 gm) (2 ⅔ oz) cornstarch (called corn flour in some countries)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) (1/5 oz) salt, or to taste
Lots of pepper

For the filling:
1 cup (240 ml) (150 gm) (5⅓ oz) diced onion (any color)
4 cloves garlic
½ chili pepper (Aji recommended)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (4 gm) (1/8 oz) ground cumin
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) (2 gm) (1/16 oz) sweet paprika
1 cup (240 ml) (115 gm) (4 oz) cremini mushrooms, small dice
½ package tempeh, thin cut and quasi crumbled (Or you can use cooked black beans)
½ cup (120 ml) (90 gm) (3 oz) raisins, soaked in 1 cup (240 ml) boiling water for 10 minutes, then minced
1 handful spinach
1 cup (240 ml) (185 gm) (6½ oz) quinoa (Or you can use another cooked grain, like buckwheat)
¼ c. white wine, water or beef stock for deglazing
Salt and pepper to taste

For the final preparation:
1 large egg, beaten (for vegetarian version) OR egg replacer equivalent to one large egg (for vegan version)
1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm) (5 oz) all-purpose flour
Dash cayenne pepper
Dash salt
1 cup dry (240 ml) (110 gm) (4 oz) or fresh (240 ml) (60 gm) (2 oz) bread crumbs (you can use regular, panko, make your own or use store-bought)

Oil for frying (enough for 2” (50 mm) in a heavy pan like a medium sized dutch oven)

Directions:

For the dough:

  1. Boil unpeeled potatoes whole until tender when stuck with a fork. Let potatoes cool.
  2. When potatoes are cooled, peel them and either mash them with a potato masher or force them through a potato ricer (preferred).
  3. Add cornstarch, salt and pepper and knead “dough” thoroughly to ensure that ingredients are well combined and uniformly distributed.

While potatoes are cooling, make filling:

  1. Caramelize onions in olive oil for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and chili pepper and cook.
  3. Add the cumin and paprika and cook briefly (a few seconds).
  4. Add the mushrooms and cook until soft.
  5. Add tempeh and raisins.
  6. Deglaze the pan with white wine. Add spinach and wilt.
  7. Add the quinoa and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Allow filling to cool before forming “papas.”

Finishing the dough and forming the papas:

  1. Use three small bowls (or other shallow containers) to prepare the papas. In one, combine flour, cayenne and salt. In the second, combine the egg replacer and water. Put bread crumbs in the third
  2. Flour your hands and scoop up 1/6 of the total dough to make a round pancake with your hands. Make a slight indentation in the middle for the filling.
  3. Spoon a generous amount of filling into the center and then roll the potato closed, forming a smooth, potato-shaped casing around the filling. Repeat will all dough (you should have 6 papas)
  4. Heat 1 ½ - 2 inches (4 – 5 cm) of oil in a pan to about 350 – 375° F (175 - 190°C).
  5. Dip each papa in the three bowls to coat: first roll in flour, then dip in egg replacer, then roll in bread crumbs
  6. Fry the papas (in batches if necessary) about 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Flip once in the middle of frying to get both sides
  7. Drain on paper towel and store in a cool oven 200°F (95°C) (gas mark ¼) if frying in batches
  8. Serve with salsa criolla (or other sauce of preference) immediately

Salsa Criolla:

Ingredients

2 medium red onions, cut in half and very thinly sliced (as half-circles)
1/2 chili pepper (your preference)
1 tablespoon vinegar
Juice from 1 lime
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Soak the onions in cold salt water for about 10 minutes to remove bitterness. Drain.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the onions with the rest of the ingredients, season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for the onions to macerate and the flavors to combine

Pisco sour:

Serves 1

Ingredients

3 ounces (90 ml) Pisco puro
1 ounce (30 ml) cane syrup, OR 1 tablespoon (15 ml) (8 gm) (¼ oz) powdered sugar
1 ounce (30 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice
1 large egg white
4 ice cubes, crushed

Garnish:
4 drops of Angostura bitters or a pinch of cinnamon (not necessary, but tasty and pretty)

Directions:

  1. Blend egg white in blender until really foamy (not stiff)
  2. Add all ingredients except bitters/cinnamon and blend until smooth (ice chunks disappear)
  3. Taste and add additional sugar or lime juice as desired
  4. Pour into glass and top with bitters or cinnamon*

* I like to let the foam settle a bit and rise up to the top. This is more like what I had in Lima, with a layer of foam on top and the “drink” at the bottom. But you can drink it right away if you’re impatient – cheers!

Additional Information:

Some great Papas Rellenas photos on Flickr

Delicious looking ceviche photos on Flickr

Additional information on Peruvian cuisine

Some video links for making papas:

Forming of small papas (in English)

More forming of small papas (in English)

Frying tips (in English)

Start to finish making of papas (in Spanish with English subtitles)

Some video links for making ceviche

– there are tons out there, they are all different and many of them are in Spanish, but you can use these to get the idea of the method:

Quick ceviche recipe that is different from the one we're using (in English)

Another different recipe (in Spanish)

Closer to our recipe (in Spanish)

Disclaimer:

*Note: The Daring Kitchen and its members in no way suggest we are medical professionals and therefore are NOT responsible for any error in reporting of alternative cooking ingredients. If you have issues with digesting gluten, then it is YOUR responsibility to research the ingredient before using it. If you have allergies, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are lactose intolerant, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are vegetarian or vegan, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. Please consult your physician with any questions before using a product you are not familiar with. Thank you! Smile

pinkkathlyn
Ceviche de Pescado: Peruvian Cooking – Basic Recipes; Vegan Papas Rellanas adapted from Vegan Good Eats blog
Ceviche de Pescado: Annik Franco Barreau; Papas Rellenas: Kathlyn's Spanish teach Mayra; Vegan Papas Rellanas: Joel Luks