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! 


Anonymous said...

nice posting. thanks for sharing

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