Recipe: Sudado de pescado (Peruvian steamed fish)

Sudado de pescado can be considered a soup or a stew. I guess it depends on how you serve it: with boiled cassava or with boiled cassava and rice. The verb sudar means “to sweat”… in this context, it means the fish is steamed on top of a bed of onions and tomatoes with a delicious broth.

One of the broth ingredients is chicha de jora, a fermented beverage made from malted maize (corn), commonly used in Peruvian cuisine. It is also served as a drink in many towns in the highlands to children and adults, despite its alcoholic content. Back in the day, the fermentation was kickstarted by chewing the corn kernels and spitting them in a bucket. Thankfully, these days it’s made through a more modern and hygienic process. Taste-wise, it’s similar to apple cider vinegar and plain kombucha. You can buy it from Latin food shops such as Tienda Latina in Ashfield.

Chicha de jora

Sudado de pescado was one of dad’s favourite dishes. I didn’t appreciate it until mum started making it with scallops. The addition of seafood elevates the dish to another level. I asked her for the recipe and she wrote down a paragraph with instructions but no quantities (for a change!). I think I got my version pretty close; dad would have approved.

As you can see below, sudado de pescado is a very simple and healthy dish to make, provided you have the ingredients at hand. I have indicated substitutions and ingredients that can be omitted.

Sudado de pescado

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print



Ingredients

  • 3 white fish fillets
  • 12 scallops (optional)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red onion in thick slices
  • 2 tomatoes in thick slices
  • 1 tbsp ají panca paste (or other red chilli paste, preferably smoked)
  • 1 tbsp ají amarillo paste (or other yellow chilli paste)
  • 3/4 cup chicha de jora (or plain kombucha or a combination of apple cider vinegar and white wine)
  • 1/4 cup fish stock
  • 30ml (2 tbsp) pisco (optional)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 500g frozen cassava, to serve
  • rice or cauliflower rice, to serve (optional)
  • fresh chilli, to serve
  • coriander leaves, to serve

Directions

  1. Boil cassava until tender (25-30 minutes).
  2. While the cassava is cooking, heat oil in a large saucepan at medium heat. Add garlic, onion, tomatoes, ají panca and ají amarillo. Cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add chicha de jora, stock and pisco (if using) to the saucepan. Place fish on top of vegetables and scallops on top of fish. Season with salt and pepper. Turn down heat to low, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Drain cassava.
  5. Serve sudado with boiled cassava and rice/cauliflower rice (if desired). Garnish with fresh chilli and coriander.

Recipe: Peruvian spiced chicken

I would love to say this is a recipe for pollo a la brasa but that would be a terrible lie. First, I did not use charcoal to cook it and second, traditional pollo a la brasa can be made with no other seasoning than salt and pepper. That’s why I’m calling it Peruvian spiced chicken instead.

A couple of notes about ingredients:

  1. Peruvian dark beer (a.k.a. “malta”) is a bit sweeter than most dark beers here in Australia. I used O’Brien brown ale, which is not only delicious and gluten-free but also similar in taste to Peruvian malta. Feel free to use any dark beer you like.
  2. Ají panca is a dried red Peruvian chilli. In Perú you can buy it whole, ground or in paste. In Australia is more common to find the paste, which can be purchased online or in stores such as Fiji Market in Newtown and Tierras Latinas in Ashfield. I like the brand I bring from home every time I visit, which unfortunately is not available here (pictured below). If you can’t find it (or can’t be bothered), use any chilli paste you like… but don’t call it Peruvian chicken ;).

Finally, Peruvians would typically serve this chicken with chips and “salad” (maybe some iceberg lettuce and a slice of tomato). I recommend serving it with your favourite vegetables or a nice salad, for example, this one.

Peruvian spiced chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print



Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1/4 cup dark beer (O’Brien gluten-free dark ale recommended)
  • 2 tbsp ají panca paste (or other red chilli paste)
  • 2 tbsp tamari (or other gluten-free soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/5 tsp rosemary salt (or 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp dried rosemary)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • fresh cracked pepper

Directions

  1. Mix all marinade ingredients and spread on and in chicken. Let marinate in the fridge for 3-12 hours.
  2. Take chicken out of the fridge and preheat oven to 215°C (185-195°C fan-forced).
  3. Place chicken in cast iron pot or roasting pan and roast for 70-90 minutes. Time will vary depending on the actual temperature of your oven and size of the chicken. Use a brush to baste chicken with the cooking juices approximately at the 45-50 minute mark
  4. Turn off oven and leave chicken inside for another 5-10 minutes.
  5. Serve with vegetables.

Recipe: Mum’s burgers

Last time I went home I asked mum for recipes of meals I really miss. Her burgers, a simple weeknight meal, were on the list. She used to serve them with rice (otherwise it’s not a meal, according to many Peruvians) and occasionally a little salad. I used to pour tomato sauce all over the rice; these days I prefer serving the burgers with salad (coleslaw is my personal fave) and some good mustard.

Mum's burgers

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print



Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp ghee or oil
  • 500g beef mince
  • 2 tbsp minced onion
  • 2 tbsp minced tomato
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp minced parsley
  • salt & pepper

Directions

  1. Heat 1 tbsp ghee/oil in a pan at low-medium heat, cook onion, tomato and garlic until soft.
  2. In a bowl, mix beef mince, onion, tomato and garlic, egg and parsley. Season with salt & pepper.
  3. Form patties, heat 1 tbsp ghee/oil, cook patties 3-5 minutes per side.
  4. Serve with salad.

Recipe: Ground beef and cabbage

Here’s an simple nutritious recipe you can make on a week night using ingredients that are easy to come by.

Ground beef and cabbage

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print



Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 500g beef mince
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-inch piece ginger, minced
  • 1/2 small red cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 small green cabbage, shredded
  • 6 green onions, cut in long segments
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • juice of 1 lime

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a pan, brown beef.
  2. Add garlic and ginger, mix well until beef has finished cooking.
  3. Add cabbage, stir until cooked through.
  4. Add green onions, stir and cook for another couple of minutes.
  5. Turn off heat, add tamari, fish sauce and lime juice, stir and serve.

Recipe: Ground beef and green beans

Here’s an simple nutritious recipe you can make on a week night using ingredients that are easy to come by.

Ground beef and green beans

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print



Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 500g beef mince
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-inch piece ginger, minced
  • a couple of handfuls of green beans
  • 6 green onions, cut in long segments
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tbsp gluten-free oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • sesame seeds, to serve

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a pan, brown beef.
  2. Add garlic and ginger, mix well until beef has finished cooking.
  3. Add green beans, stir until cooked through.
  4. Add green onions, stir and cook for another couple of minutes.
  5. Turn off heat, add tamari, oyster sauce and vinegar, stir and serve.

Recipe: Low-carb ají de gallina (Peruvian chicken stew)

Peruvian food is delicious but can be very carb-heavy. Ají de gallina, for instance, is a chicken stew made with bread, evaporated milk and served with rice and/or potatoes. Made the traditional way, this is not a dish for those with gluten or lactose intolerance, nor for people watching their carb intake.

Note that this particular recipe is not lactose-free (you can use coconut cream instead of double cream, but it will change the taste of the dish). Serve with a simple salad on the side and enjoy!

Low-carb ají de gallina

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print



Ingredients

  • 1 kg chicken breast
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp ají amarillo (Peruvian yellow chilli) paste
  • 1 tsp turmeric (optional)
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup pecans (or walnuts), chopped
  • 1/2 cup double cream
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • To serve
  • cauliflower rice
  • 1-2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
  • 6 olives

Directions

  1. Place chicken and broth in a pot and simmer until cooked through (20-30 minutes).
  2. Reserve broth and shred chicken with the help of tongs or forks.
  3. Heat oil in a pot or saucepan on low heat. Add onion, garlic and ají amarillo and cook until soft (~10 minutes).
  4. Add chicken, broth, Parmesan and pecans. Mix well, season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Turn off heat, add cream and stir well. Serve with cauliflower rice, a slice of hard-boiled egg and an olive.

Recipe: Dry-brined pork chops with roasted asparagus, fennel and radishes

Dry brining is an alternative to traditional brining (i.e. submerging a piece of meat in salty water) with the goal of keeping the meat moist via osmosis. Dry brining involves covering the meat directly with salt (and optional spices), which initially draws water out of the meat. However, given enough time, the water is reabsorbed by the meat, which tenderises in the process and remains moist. This works better with thicker chops (steaks, etc.).

Dry-brined pork chops with roasted asparagus, fennel and radishes

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print



Ingredients

  • 4 pork chops
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup dried oregano
  • 4 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 2 tbsp coconut or olive oil
  • Vegetables:
  • 2 bunches of asparagus
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 bunch of radishes
  • handful of rocket
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • drizzle of caramelised balsamic vinegar

Directions

  1. Season both sides of the pork chops with paprika, oregano and salt. Place chops on a rimmed baking sheet and leave in the fridge uncovered at least overnight and up to 24 hours.
  2. Take chops out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before cooking to bring to room temperature.
  3. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced).
  4. Snap hard ends of asparagus stalks and cut them in 2-3 pieces.
  5. Wash and chop fennel in large chunks.
  6. Place asparagus, fennel and radishes in a baking sheet, drizzle with coconut oil. Bake for 20-30 minutes.
  7. While vegetables are roasting, heat oil in a pan. Shake excess salt off chops and cook 6-8 minutes per side, until completely cooked through.
  8. Serve chops alongside vegetables drizzled with caramelised balsamic.

Recipe: Ají de atún with lupin flakes

Ají de atún is a lesser-known version of the traditional Peruvian chicken stew ají de gallina. It uses canned tuna instead of chicken, which makes it cheaper and easier to prepare. This dish was in semi-regular rotation at my aunties’ so I assumed it was fairly common, but it turns out Alvaro had never heard of it. I haven’t asked where they got the recipe from but I bet it came from the Nicolini cookbook.

Ají de atún is normally made with white sandwich bread and evaporated milk. I could have used gluten-free bread but decided to go one step further and make the dish more nutritious by using lupin flakes instead. I might post a more traditional (but gluten-free) recipe in the future, so keep your eyes peeled. For now, I leave you with the higher protein, higher fibre, lower carb ají de atún.

Ají de atún with lupin flakes
Yield: 3 servings

Ají de atún with lupin flakes

Ingredients

  • 1 (425g) can tuna in springwater or brine
  • 1 tbsp ghee or oil
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp ají amarillo paste (or other chilli paste)
  • 3/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 4 tbsp lupin flakes
  • 4 tbsp cream
  • salt to taste
  • parsley, chopped

To serve

  • 1 1/2 boiled eggs
  • 3 black olives (preferably botija)
  • cauliflower rice, rice and/or potatoes
  • parsley, chopped

Directions

  1. Heat up stock until warm and add lupin flakes. Reserve to let flakes absorb stock.
  2. Heat the ghee or oil in a saucepan at medium-low temperature.
  3. Add onion, garlic and ají amarillo. Cook for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
  4. Drain tuna and add to the saucepan, along with hydrated lupin flakes. Cook for another 2-3 minutes add cream and season to taste.
  5. Serve with cauliflower rice, rice and/or potatoes. Garnish with an olive, 1/2 boiled egg and chopped parsley.

Recipe: Pescado sudado (Peruvian steamed fish)

This is another Peruvian classic dish, very easy to make and very comforting. “Sudar” means to sweat, the name reflects the fact that the fish is cooked by the steam produced by the liquid at the bottom of the pan.

The recipe calls for a couple of Peruvian ingredients (ají panca and chicha de jora), which can be found in a few stores in Sydney (contact me if you’re interested), but can be substituted if needed. While this dish is mainly made with fish only, my mum makes a killer version with fish and scallops, and a friend makes one with mussels.

Pescado sudado (Peruvian steamed fish)
Yield: 4 servings

Sudado de pescado

Ingredients

  • ~800g white fish fillets (I used snapper)
  • 2 tbsp oil (I used coconut oil)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp ají panca (or other red chilli paste)
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree or passata
  • 2 tomatoes, thickly sliced
  • 2 red onions, thickly sliced
  • 3/4 cup chicha de jora (or white wine or plain kombucha or a combination)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • juice of 1 lime, optional

To serve

  • coriander leaves
  • rice (or cauliflower rice)

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add garlic, ají panca, tomato puree, plus half of the onion and tomato slices and cook at low-medium heat for 10 minutes.
  2. Add liquid and bring to a simmer.
  3. Season fish fillets with salt and pepper and arrange them on top of the sauce ingredients.
  4. Top fish with the rest of onions and tomatoes, cover pan with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Add lime juice if desired, garnish with coriander leaves and serve with rice or cauliflower rice and a side salad.

Recipe: Tallarines verdes (Peruvian pesto pasta)

This is a revised version of the tallarines verdes recipe I posted several years ago. What’s the difference? This recipe is closer to my aunties’ recipe and features gluten-free pasta.

Like tallarines blancos, this dish was in rotation at my aunties’. The difference is that for a long period of time I didn’t like the pesto sauce but loved the white sauce. My uncle was the opposite, so on pasta day only one of us was happy. Obviously, I grew out of my pesto aversion and now love it.

Once again, I didn’t get to ask my auntie Sumi for the original recipe before she passed away. I have tweaked the current family recipe to approximate the taste I remember. My aunties used penne, I used fusilli because I think this shape works better with pesto.

Tallarines verdes (Peruvian pesto pasta)
Yield: 2-3 servings

Tallarines verdes

Ingredients

  • 1 (250g) pack gluten-free pasta, preferably fusilli (I used San Remo pulse pasta)
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1 cup English or baby spinach
  • 75g queso fresco or feta cheese (I used goat’s feta)
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to pack instructions. Drain, reserving some of the cooking water.
  2. Process or blend basil, spinach, cheese and parmesan, adding a few tablespoons of the reserved cooking water to achieved desired thickness. Season to taste.
  3. Return pasta to pot, coat with sauce (heat a bit if needed) and serve with a side salad.