Aguadito is a typical Peruvian soup. It means something like “soggy”, not a very appealing name, but it describes the dish perfectly: in essence it’s a watered-down version of arroz con pollo.
I’m convinced that one of the reasons there aren’t too many obese people in Perú is that we tend to eat more home-cooked meals. Parties are no exceptions, and it’s not uncommon that the brave people who stay until the next morning are rewarded with a bowl of aguadito. For the record, I’m lame and tend to bail fairly early from parties, so I’ve never enjoyed a bowl of “morning after” aguadito.
Aguadito is often made with chicken (pollo) or duck (pato). Other popular version has mussels (choros). My favourite is actually a combination of chicken and mussels because that’s the way my granny used to make it when I was a kid. I’ve been avoiding any attempt to recreate it because I was afraid to fail, but I decided it was time to give it a crack. Even after substituting half of the ingredients (rice, yellow potatoes, corn, and peas) I reckon I nailed it.
Chicken and mussel aguadito with cauliflower rice
- 1 red onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1/2 tsp aji amarillo powder or any other chilli
- 2 tomatoes
- 1 bunch coriander
- 1 kg chicken wings (or drumsticks/thighs)
- 600 g frozen mussels
- 2 tbsp fat of choice
- 2 litres chicken stock
- 1 medium head of cauliflower
- 1 small chunk of pumpkin (about 1 cup)
- 1 small swede or parsnip
- 1 carrot
- 1 handful green beans (about 150 g)
- 1 capsicum
- 300 g cassava
- salt and pepper
- Chop onion and garlic. Peel, seed and chop tomatoes. Chop coriander and process with a blender/food processor/immersion blender with enough water to make a runny paste (2 – 4 tablespoons).
- Dry chicken wings with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of fat in a big pot (if your pot isn't big enough, use 2) and brown the wings. Reserve.
- Rinse mussels.
- Dial down the heat, add another tablespoon of fat and cook onion, garlic, chilli, tomatoes and coriander for 15 – 20 minutes.
- Add wings, mussels and stock. Bring to a boil and cook at medium heat until the chicken is fully cooked (about 20 minutes).
- In the meantime, boil cassava until soft (about 20 minutes), drain and reserve.
- Chop the cauliflower florets with a knife. You want small pieces but not as small as the ones you get with a food processor.
- Dice pumpkin, parsnip and carrot. Chop green beans in small chunks (about 1 cm long). Slice capsicum.
- Add cauliflower, pumpkin, swedes or parsnips, carrots, green beans and capsicum to the pot. Season with salt and pepper, stir and let cook for 15 – 20 minutes.
- Add the cassava and serve.