choritos a la chalaca

Recipe: Choritos a la chalaca (Peruvian mussels with salsa)

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

Choritos a la chalaca is a typical Peruvian appetizer/bar food made with mussels.
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Appetizer, Entrée
Cuisine Peruvian
Servings 24 mussels (3-4 servings)


  • 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

To serve

  • 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.
Keyword mussels, Peruvian cuisine, Peruvian food, seafood

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