Choritos a la chalaca is a typical Peruvian appetizer/bar food. “Choros” = mussels (it also means thieves in slang) and “chalaca” is a type of salsa similar to pico de gallo. Chalaco or chalaca is a person (male or female) from the port of Callao, where I was born.
The main difference between “salsa chalaca” and pico de gallo is that the former includes corn and rocoto, a super spicy Peruvian chilli. Peruvian corn and rocoto are hard to find in Sydney, so I used sweetcorn and birds eye chilli.
The best way of eating choritos a la chalaca is to grab the shell by the tip and drop the contents in your mouth. You may also use a spoon to avoid shirt stains and/or lip cuts.
Choritos a la chalaca
- 24 mussels with shells
- 1/3 cup corn kernels
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium tomato, seeded and finely chopped
- 1-2 birds eye chillies, finely chopped (optional)
- juice of 3 limes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- handful of coriander leaves, finely chopped
- cancha (fried corn), optional
- If your mussels are fresh: wash well and place in a saucepan with a splash of white wine or water. Cover with a lid and let steam for 3-5 minutes, until they are open.
- If your mussels are frozen: cook according to instructions in the packet.
- Let mussels cool down.
- Boil corn kernels for 5 minutes, let cool down.
- Mix onion, tomato, chilli and corn. Season with lime juice and salt. Add coriander, taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
- Split mussel shells in half and discard empty half. Make sure mussels are detached from the shells. Arrange on a plate or platter and spoon salsa chalaca on top.
- Serve with a bowl of cancha on the side if you can find it.
- Enjoy with a cold beer or white wine.