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Recipe: Carapulcra (Peruvian pork and potato stew)

This is very weird. I have hated this dish for most of my life. My mum and aunties are so nice that they actually cooked a different dish for me whenever they made carapulcra. When I went to cooking school my friends really trusted my palate and made me test their version before presenting them to the instructor for marking. I knew they were really well made but I still hated them. Last year Alvaro, Gladys, Vicky and I went to a Peruvian festival and I tried their carapulcra. I liked it. A lot. I liked it so much that I bought a bag of papa seca (dried potatoes, the main ingredient in carapulcra) online.

Carapulcra is a dish that hails from Chincha, a town South of Lima that received a big African migration. In Chincha they make it with fresh potatoes but somehow when the dish arrived Lima (and became extremely popular) the dried potatoes took over. I guess it was someone from the highlands who adapted it, since drying potatoes is a common preservation method in the Andes.

Anyway, apart from the potatoes, the other main ingredients in this stew are pork and peanuts. It also has a couple of flavour enhancers added at the end of the cooking process: chocolate and port. I’ve heard some people in Chincha add in a Sublime (milk chocolate with peanuts) but I prefer using dark chocolate and peanuts instead.



This is my version of a traditional dish from Chincha, in the South of Lima.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Soaking time 8 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine Peruvian


  • 500 g papa seca (dried potatoes) or regular potatoes (Tasmanian pink eye recommended)
  • 1 tbsp lard or ghee
  • 1 kg pork belly
  • 1 large red onion
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 100 g ají panca (Peruvian red chilli) or other red chilli paste
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 6 6 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 litres chicken or pork broth
  • salt and pepper
  • 100 g peanuts
  • 20 g dark chocolate (85% or higher recommended)
  • 1/4 cup port


  • The night before: toast the papa seca in a dry pan for a few minutes until fragrant. Rinse and soak in a container with twice its volume of water overnight. Skip this step if you're using regular potatoes.
  • If you're using regular potatoes, cut them in 1-cm cubes. Reserve in a bowl, covered with cold water.
  • Cut the pork belly in bite-size pieces. Chop onion and mince garlic.
  • Melt lard/ghee in a heavy-bottomed pot at high heat and sear the pork (be careful, it spits). Reserve.
  • Lower the heat, let pot cool down a bit and add the onion, garlic and chilli paste. Cook for 10-15 minutes.
  • Add cumin, cloves and cinnamon stick, stir. Add pork and drained potatoes, add 1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper, mix well.
  • Add broth, cover and cook for 1 hour.
  • Grind peanuts in a food processor, blender or mortar and pestle. Grate chocolate. Add both to the pot.
  • Add port, turn heat off, discard cinnamon stick and adjust seasoning.
  • Serve with cauliflower rice.
Keyword papa seca, Peruvian cuisine, Peruvian food, pork, pork belly, potato, stew

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  • happyhourhop

    Find a different version of this recipe. This person is an idiot. They tried to show off how worldly they are by using metric and totally got all of there measurements wrong. 6 liters of stock lol. For a stew. He probably thought 6 liters=6 cups.

    • lateraleating

      Hey, thanks for your charming comment. Let me clarify a few things: first, I grew up and live in countries that use the metric system. Second, the recipe calls for 2 litres of stock, not 6. Third, I am a she. Cheers, charmer.

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