It’s that time of the month again…. Time for the March Daring Cooks Challenge. Last month was Japanese cuisine and this month it’s Peruvian cuisine. As each month goes by, I am beyond happy that I chose to join the Daring Cooks. I definitely had never before eaten Peruvian cuisine and neither had I got a chance to make Peruvian food. So when the March challenge was announced, I was really excited as it was something really new for me!
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.
The Ceviche is a raw seafood dish. I love seafood but am not particularly excited by the thought of raw seafood. And then there was someone on daring cooks, who made the ceviche with tofu. I loved the idea so decided to make vegetarian ceviche with tofu instead of the seafood. As far as the Papas Rellenas is concerned, I made them with ground turkey. I also added half an egg at the center if the Papas Rellenas which again is something that some of the other daring cooks came up with. So here are the recipes for the Ceviche and the Papas Rellenas.
The Papas Rellenas were a BIG hit. It’s also so versatile as you can make them vegetarian, or change the meat to beef, chicken, pork, etc. I am sure I am going to make different variations of this very soon. I hope you too enjoy these Peruvian treasures as much as I did.
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) turkey
- 6 black olives, pitted and chopped (use more if you love olives) – I am not very fond of olives, so I skipped this
- 3 hard boiled large eggs (halved)
- 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) – I used thai pepper
- 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 paprika¼ 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)
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:
- Boil the potatoes until they pierce easily with a fork. Remove them from the water and cool.
- Once the potatoes have cooled, peel them and mash them with a potato masher or force them through a potato ricer (preferred).
- 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:
- Gently brown onion and garlic in oil (about 5 minutes).
- Add the chili pepper and sauté for a couple more minutes.
- Add ground turkey and brown
- Add raisins, cumin and paprika and cook briefly (a few seconds).
- Deglaze the pan with white wine / stock. I used vegetable stock.
- Add olives and cook for a few moments longer.
- Allow filling to cool before forming “papas.”
Forming and frying the papas:
- 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
- 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.
- Spoon a generous amount of filling into the center.
- Then place half an egg inside the filling, then place more of the filling over the egg 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- Drain on paper towel and store in a 200ºF (95ºC) (gas mark ¼) oven if frying in batches.
- Serve with salsa criolla (or other sauce of preference) immediately.
I did not use any sauce, the Papas were really delicious just by itself.
- 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
- Soak the onions in cold salt water for about 10 minutes to remove bitterness. Drain.
- In a medium bowl, combine the onions with the rest of the ingredients, season with salt and pepper.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for the onions to macerate and the flavors to combine.
- 2 lbs. (about 1 kg) firm tofu (white fish (scallops or other seafood may be substituted) for the original ceviche)
- 2 garlic cloves, mashed
- 1 chili pepper, minced (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)
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 large ear of corn
- Lettuce leaves
- Boil sweet potato and corn (separately) if using for garnish. Allow to cool. (Can be done hours or even a day in advance)
- (Wash and trim your fish if making the original ceviche). Slice into pieces between ½ inch (15 mm) cubes to 2 inch (50mm) pieces.
- Place tofu / fish in a non-reactive, shallow pan in a thin layer. Season with salt and pepper.
- Combine lime juice, chili pepper, coriander and garlic. Pour mixture over tofu / fish. Stir lightly to expose all the tofu / fish to some of the lime juice mixture.
- Put sliced onion on top of tofu / fish as it “cooks”.
- Let tofu / fish stand for 10 minutes. Lift tofu / 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.
This can be served either as a starter or as a main dish. I preferred it as a starter and it was an absolutely fresh and light starter.