Saturday, June 23, 2012

Arroz con Pollo: Chicken with Rice

Arroz con Pollo or Chicken with Rice is a traditional spanish dish that is eaten in many Latin American countries. While there is a dispute on where the recipe came from Puerto Rico or Spain, there is a pretty strong feeling that the history goes back to the Moorish times in Spain in the 8th century. Since this time Arroz con Pollo has become a popular dish in countries such as Puerto Rico, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, Cuba, Costa Rica, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic. To look more into the history of the dish check out this page

To prepare Arroz con Pollo you will need a large stew pot, a blender, a rice cooker, and the following ingredients:

  • 2 tbs. vegetable oil 
  • 1 medium red onion minced 
  • 1 tbs. garlic paste or one garlic clove minced 
  • 1/2 tsp. pepepr
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. oregano 
  • 1 1/2 tbs. salt
  • 2 bundles of cilantro (when mixed with half a cup of water and blended it came out to be about 3-3 1/2 cups of liquid)
  • 1 tbs. ají amarillo sauce 
  • 10 portions of chicken 
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1/2 lbs. peas
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 husks choclo (you can also use about 2/3 cups of frozen white corn if you need, you may be able to find choclo at a local mexican grocery store)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 3 cups rice 
First make mince your onion and fry it in a large pot with 2-3 tbs. of oil for about 4 minutes on a medium to high heat. Next add in the cumin, oregano, pepper, and garlic and fry for another 2 minutes.  

 You will then need to blend the cilantro and half a cup of water together in a blender.

Once mixed add this mixture and a table spoon of ají amarillo sauce to the pot with the other ingredients and stir everything together until the liquid evaporates and you are left with something looking like the picture below.

Next you will add your chicken and mix it around for a minute or two, making sure the chicken gets well coated in the sauce. 

Then add 4 cups of water and the salt, mix, and let it cook for about 8 minutes. 

Next you will need to add your peas, carrots, and corn. Before adding the corn you will want to cut it off the husk and cut the carrots into small pieces. The type of corn we use is called choclo and it can often be found in Mexican food stores or you can use white corn as a substitute. 

After adding in the vegetables again put on the top of your pot and let it cook for another 6-8 minutes. 

Then you will need to drain the water from the chicken and vegetables to use for preparing the rice. Set the vegetables and chicken aside while you prepare the rice. 

If you have a rice cooker that is the best way to prepare the rice but if not use a pot on the stove. To prepare the rice first put 3 cups of rice in the rice cooker and then add the chicken broth liquid from the chicken mixture into the rice cooker as well. Ideally 1 cup of the 4 cups of the water added before will have now evaporated and you will have three cups of chicken broth liquid to add to the rice. With the rice and broth also dice the red pepper and add it into the rice cooker. 

Let the rice cook for the allotted time needed and once it is done add the vegetables that you had set aside, mix everything together, and let sit for about 5 minutes to warm everything up again. 

Finally serve a healthy portion of rice and a portion of chicken on each plate and enjoy! 

Overall I hope you enjoyed this post and I hope you try this recipe out yourself! If you do enjoy what you see please help by sharing it with other people. There is a Facebook page where you can follow along by clicking on the Facebook button on the righthand side of this page and you can also follow this blog as well. Also if you are an avid Pinterest user than please "Pin It" and share this recipe with other food lovers! And if anyone does prepare this dish readers love to read comments about how it went so please leave a comment here on the blog and post a picture of your final dish on the Facebook page. Happy Cooking! 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Papa a la Huancaina: Spicy Cheese Sauce with Potatoes

Yesterday I spent my day off of school preparing more delicious Peruvian food with Lucy! We made Arroz con Pollo and Papa a la Huancaina. In this post I am going to highlight the recipe for Papa a la Huancaina. 

If you are a lover of spice, cheese, and potatoes this is a very great recipe for you. Not to mention the preparation is very simple and doesn't take much time outside of preparing potatoes.

The origin of this dish comes from back in 1870 when they were building the railroad between Huancayo and Lima. A number of people say that there was a woman that would bring food to the workers and she would prepare a dish similar to the one below but made with rocoto, a spicy ají pepper. After a while the men began to call out, "A que hora llega la papa de la Huancaina?" which can be translated as, "At what time does the lady with the potatoes from Hauancayo arrive?" After a number of years the dish evolved into the recipe that we are preparing today that revolves around the yellow ají pepper. 

First off you will need the following ingredients:

  • 400 grams evaporated milk (A normal can of evaporated milk is what we used, it is about 1 1/3 cup I believe)
  • 400 grams queso fresco (farmer's cheese) or substitute fetta cheese (this is about 1 2/3 cups)
  • 4 yellow ají peppers (common substitutes are soprano peppers, a mixture of habanero pepper and soprano, or others have used jalapeno peppers or sweet red peppers)
  • 2 tbs. vegetable oil 
  • 2 dinner rolls
  • salt to taste (we used about 1/2 to 1 tbs. but if your cheese is already salted then you will need a different amount accordingly)  
  • 5 yellow or white potatoes (for the traditional Peruvian dish they use yellow potatoes)
  • 5 hardboiled eggs 
First add evaporated milk, cheese, peppers, and oil into the blender. Before putting the peppers in the blender be sure to deseed them. Mix these four ingredients until they are fairly liquidy and then tear apart the rolls and add them to the mixture. Again mix until the sauce is nice and mixed with a somewhat thick consistency. The overal dish should be a thick sauce. Before finishing your sauce make sure to taste it and add salt to taste. If you are using peppers besides yellow ají peppers you may need to adjust the amount of peppers you use as well. You will also need to prepare your potatoes and hard boiled eggs as well. I suggest boiling your potatoes in a big pot and adding your eggs as well in order to cut back on the number of pots you need to clean. When the potatoes and hard boiled eggs are ready serve on a plate with half of a potato and half a boiled egg. If you have a bigger appetite go ahead and have a whole egg and potato but this is traditionally a side-dish so you don't need to stuff yourself with this dish, although it will be tempting to do so because of the great taste! 

I hope you love this dish as much as I do! This is definitely a favorite of many foreigners who visit Peru! If you do end up making this dish please post a comment below and add a picture on the Facebook page. To follow this page you can do so on the righthand side where you will find a follow butter for blogger along with a Facebook tab which will lead you to the Facebook page where you can post photos of the foods you are making from this blog! I greatly appreciate comments and seeing pictures of the delicious foods you all are making!

Happy cooking to you all! 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Peanut Passions

I don't know about you but when I travel for any long extents of time I start to miss some things from back home. For many people who travel they might miss their family, friends, pets, activities, or a variety of other things, I however miss all those and I have really missed PEANUT BUTTER! Based off of my extreme desire to have peanut butter this last week I decided I needed to head to the market and see what I could find. I guess I should clarify really quick, yes in Peru you can buy peanut butter in the stores but it costs about 25-30 soles for a super small jar, that translates into about $10 for a weeks worth of peanut butter. Anyways, I went to the market this past week and bought half a kilo of skinned peanuts for 4.5 soles which is less than $2. At that point I was super excited and couldn't wait to cook with them. Then I realized they didn't have the right taste that I was hoping for and so I needed to doctor them up a bit to make them taste good by roasting them. Below you will find the process I used to transform the peanuts from a skinned and tasteless version into a delicious roasted treat! Unfortunately after roasting my peanuts and finally getting to the point of making peanut butter I had eaten too many and didn't have more than a cup of peanuts to use. So this past Friday while walking home from class I bought a whole kilo of salted peanuts for 12 soles, just about $4. Again I was super excited so I went home and not only found a peanut butter recipe, but I also found a recipe for Maní Confitado which is a typical Peruvian snack sold on street corners which is like a candied/caramelized peanut. Below I have included the recipes for all three of these adventures: roasting peanuts, making maní confitado, and preparing peanut butter

Roasted Peanuts

When I prepared my roasted peanuts it was late at night and I didn't really want to mess with the oven so I made them in the microwave, and they turned out super delicious! For this recipe all you will need is:
  • 2 cups of shelled peanuts
  • A little bit of butter
  • 10x16 glass pan (or really any microwave safe dish)
First put all the peanuts in the pan and spread them out evenly. Next put about 2 teaspoons of butter on top and put them in the microwave for 2 minutes. Take them out of the microwave, stir them, and again microwave them for 2 minutes. You will continue this process until your peanuts have cooked for 10-12, depending on how roasted you want them. Then let them cool for 10 minutes before eating. If you have peanuts with skin on them that doesn't come off easily, like I did, then skip the butter at first and cook them for two rounds of 2 minutes and then the skin should be easy to remove. Go ahead and remove the skins by rubbing the peanuts through your hands or in a towel and then add the butter and finish the process. Be aware that the peanuts will be hot so they may need to sit before rubbing them through your hands. 

Raw peanuts with skin.
Skin peeled after 4 minutes, butter added.
Finished product after about 11 minutes.

Maní Confitado: Candied Peanuts

  • 2 cups raw peanuts
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/8 tsp kosher or sea salt (if you are using salted peanuts than don't add salt)
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon (this is optional for added taste)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (this is optional for added taste) 
First off put the water and sugar into a saucepan on medium heat and stir continuously till the liquid turns into a syrupy consistency. Once you have reached the syrupy consistency add in the peanuts and continue to stir. After about ten minutes the peanuts should be well covered in sugar and there will be extra granulated sugar in the bottom of your pan. Continue stirring until the sugar again begins to turn into syrup and then your peanuts should begin to turn darker and darker. Once the peanuts have a deep golden brown color take them off the heat and spread them evenly into a large sheet pan with tinfoil while the peanuts cool. To help clean the pan you will want to immediately put water in the saucepan and put it back on the heat till it boils so the sugar can breakdown into the water and thus clean the hard and crusty sugar off the pan. 

Simple ingredients: water, sugar, peanuts 
Syrupy substance after sugar dissolved and water evaporated.
Granulated sugar turning back into syrup.
Finished product! 

Peanut Butter

  • 2 cups peanuts (salted or unsalted, if using unsalted add 1-2 teaspoons of salt) 
  • 1-2 tablespoons oil (vegetable or peanut but no olive oil)
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey to taste (sugar can be used as well)
For this recipe you will need a food processors or blender, however food processors are better for this because they are normally more powerful. I used a blender and it turned out delicious, but some are stronger than others. First off put your peanuts in the food processor/blender and mix until they are well ground. Next slowly add oil until desired consistency. You will most likely need to stir your peanut butter frequently at the beginning to help mix in the oil. Once you are getting to a desired consistency add the honey and that should help make it sweeter and make the peanut butter nice and smooth. Make sure to taste the peanut butter to see if you need to add more honey or possibly salt. For best use store in the refrigerator to keep it fresh.
2 cups of peanuts added into blender
Ready to add oil.
After adding oil, ready for honey.
Adding in honey.
Finished product!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Estofado de Carne con Soufflé de Colifor: Beef Stew with Cauliflower Souffle

Today I was lucky to have my only class of the day canceled, so what did I do? I not only got to sleep in until 8:30, and get some much needed sleep, but I also got to help Lucy prepare another delicious Peruvian dish! In the following blog I will lead you through the process of making Estofado de Carne (Beef Stew) and Souffle de Coliflor (Cauliflower Souffle). This stew combines the sweetness of carrots and tomatoes with the spice of ají to make your mouth explode with flavor. I hope you thoroughly enjoy preparing this dish and sharing it with those around you! Like always if you like what you read please follow this blog by going to the links on the righthand side of the page, also follow the blog on Facebook where you can see more photos and join the conversations of other followers. Feel free to leave a comment below, and finally please share this recipe with your friends and family through Facebook, Pinterest, and/or any other social media site you use! Thanks for the support and be sure to come back to see future blog entries! 

Estofado de Carne: Beef Stew

  • 1.5 kilo carne (this is enough meet for 10 plates, so if using chicken substitute for 10 pieces or 10 portions of chicken)
  • 4-6 tbs. oil to fry the onion
  • 1 large red onion
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 cup of peas 
  • 2 ají amarillo (as I mentioned in another post a substitute could be serranos or another medium-hot pepper) 
  • 5 medium tomatoes (with 1/2 cup water) 
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tbs. garlic paste (or one minced clove)
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin 
  • 1 tbs. paprika
  • 1 tsp. vinegar 
  • 2 cups water
  • 5-10 potatoes (depending on if you want to add a half or whole potato to each plate)
  • rice for 10 (alter how much you make depending on the appetite of those eating)
First dice the onions, slice and deseed the ají, and slice up your carrots into thin bite-size pieces. Next fry your onions in about 4 tablespoons of oil on high heat for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes add the garlic and vinegar and fry for another minute. Continue to add pepper, cumin, paprika, and oregano and fry for 1 minute before adding in the meat. Once you add the meat stir everything together for a minute or two while you get everything all mixed together. Next add 2 cups of water and let it cook for 1 hour on medium heat. After an hour slice each tomato into fourths and add them into the blender with half a cup of water. Once the mixture is well mixed add it to the stew along with the carrots, ají, and peas and let it continue to cook for about 30 minutes. While the stew is cooking for the last half hour prepare your potatoes and rice. Finally take the stew off the heat and prepare each plate with rice, potato, and a portion of meat and sauce.

Onions frying in pan.
Peas and carrots ready and chopped.
Spices waiting to be added to the mix.
Beef cut and ready to go.
Ready to add the water and start the hour long cooking process. 

Soufflé de Coliflor: Cauliflower Souffle

  • 1 medium to large head of cauliflower
  • 400 grams evaporated milk
  • 350 grams heavy cream
  • 250 grams grated mozzarella
  • 70 grams grated parmesan 
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tbs. garlic paste
First off wash the cauliflower and then slice it into smaller pieces. Once at desired size put the cauliflower in a pot of boiling water for about 15 minutes. While the cauliflower is boiling mix together the remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl. When the cauliflower is ready take it off the heat, strain it, and add it to the mixing bowl with the other ingredients. Next you will need to grease or butter a large class cake pan and pour the contents into it. Once the contents are spread through the pan take margarine and put small pieces of it across the top of the pan like the last photo below. Finally put the souffle into the over and let it cook for 40 minutes to an hour at 350 degrees F. You will know the dish is ready when you can insert a knife or toothpick into it and it comes out clean. Once you reach this point take it out of the oven, let it cool for a few minutes, cut and serve.

Lucy cutting up the cauliflower
Cauliflower in hot water waiting to be drained.
Remaining ingredients to be mixed together.
Mixture ready to go into pan. 
Adding last touch of margarine to the dish before cooking.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Tallarines Verdes: Green Pesto Noodles

Today before I share with you a new recipe I just want to point out a few things I have noticed lately about peruvian cuisine. First off Peru has one of the most expansive varieties of foods ranging from typical rice dishes to noodle dishes to the very popular Chinese dishes. One of the reasons why Peru has such a diverse selection of foods is because it has a diverse geographical layout, with different foods growing in all the different environments. Furthermore Peru has had a fair number of immigrants crossing their boarders in the past few hundred years, thus further explaining the influx in cross-cultural cuisine. Today I will be teaching you how to make Tallarines Verdes, also known as Green Pesto Noodles. While pretty much every Peruvian dish contains rice, this is one of the only ones that is focused on noodles, because it comes from an Italian background. 

While at school at Washington State University I live in a house with 8 really close guy friends. We are all very active within the school, our church and many other things so we often get stuck in a diet of chicken and spaghetti, although some people choose to run to McDonald's or go to Little Caesar's Pizza for a $5 Hot-N-Ready. Since we often get stuck in that spaghetti diet I figured this would be an excellent recipe to share because it is quick, easy, and adds a new flavor to the sometimes boring college spaghetti diet. The final thing I have realized lately about peruvian food is that they often throw a fried or boiled egg on top of everything, whether it be this noodle dish, a beef, rice and potato dish, or even mixed vegetable salads. Don't ask me why they do this, because I have yet to figure that out, but if you have a good prediction or want to humor me with your own ideas behind the egg phenomena, please share your thoughts in a comment below! 

For this dish all you will need is a blender, sauce pan, pot to boil noodles, and the following ingredients: 
  • 2 cups spinach leaves
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup queso fresco or queso blanco or farmer's cheese (Mild feta cheese can be used as well but you may need to adjust the salt at the end) 
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. oregano 
  • 1/2 cup ground parmesan 
  • 2 lbs. spaghetti noodles 
  • 1/4 cup pecans 
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 tbs. garlic paste (or one minced clove of garlic)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg for each plate
  • vegetable oil to fry eggs
Before preparing your sauce follow the directions to start preparing your spaghetti noodles. After starting to prepare your noodles start off by washing your spinach and basil leaves and add them into the blender along with 1/2 cup of evaporated milk. Mix these ingredients for about 1 minute and then add the queso fresco and continue blending for another 30 seconds. Next season your mixture with the nutmeg, oregano, and then add salt and pepper to taste. Next you will need to dice the onion and put the onion and garlic in a sauce pan with oil on medium heat till the onion is translucent (The garlic and onion aren't always used when preparing this dish but Lucy prefers to use it so we are adding it on our recipe, if you prefer to make it without that is okay too). After onion mixture is ready add the sauce from the blender into a saucepan over low heat, also add the parmesan cheese and the rest of the milk until the sauce boils. Once your sauce is boiling remove from heat and mix it with your spaghetti noodles after you have drained the water from them. If you so choose, varnish your dish with crushed pecans and a bit more parmesan cheese (the pecans can also be added in the blender if you prefer). Finally fry an egg to go along with each plate of food. 

If you want to add some meat to the dish, chicken or steak are a great way to infuse some protein and  add extra nutrients into the dish! 

I hope you will enjoy trying out this recipe and thus learn another traditional peruvian dish! If you do prepare this dish please leave a comment below along with sharing a picture on the Culinary Arts Abroad Facebook page! Also if you have enjoyed this post please post it to your Facebook, Tweet it, Pin It to Pinterest, and post it on any other social media outlet you use. Thanks again and be sure to follow the blog so you can return later for further posts!