Peruvian-Theme Final Chapter: Arroz Chaufa

Here’s another Peruvian dish that draws inspiration from the Chinese immigrant community who adapted their cooking for a South American palette in the way only Chinese expats cooks can. 

Essentially it’s fried rice with whatever else you want to throw into the mix – normally egg, pork and sometimes chicken. However, because I was serving this along with lots of other dishes I took a minimalist approach, choosing to add just seafood. When it came to the mussels I cheated this time and used ready-cooked ones out of the shell.

You’ll need:

2 cups of Spanish/arborio rice
1 red onion, chopped
pinch of saffron
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons sesame oil
dash of cumin
dash of cayenne pepper
2 garlic cloves sliced
1lb medium-sized raw prawns (peeled)
1/2 fresh squid, cleaned and sliced into hoops, tentacles included
1/2lb cooked mussels
One bunch of scallions, topped and tailed and sliced longways
2 handfuls of cilantro, roughly chopped or torn

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan then add the rice and onion. Fully coat with the oil for one minute then add 4 cups of boiling water. Add saffron, salt and pepper, reduce the heat and cover. Cook for 15 minutes until rice is fluffy.

Reserve and set aside to cool.

Have an aperitif (kids that means it’s lemonade time).

When cool….

In a wok or large saute pan, heat (medium) the vegetable and sesame oil along with cumin, cayenne pepper and sliced garlic for 2 minutes.

Add the shrimp and calamari and cook for 3 minutes. Next add the chopped scallions. Mix in the rice and the cooked mussels and stir fry on a medium heat for five minutes until the rice is fully heated through.

Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately.

- Matthew

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