Recipe: Tacu tacu (Peruvian rice and beans)

Every developing country has a traditional rice and beans dish. In Perú we call it “tacu tacu” and it involves a little more than just rice plus beans on a plate.

If eaten by itself, tacu tacu is gluten-free and vegan. However, tacu tacu is normally eaten as a side dish or with some add-on toppings. Common toppings include a fried egg, a fried egg + fried plantains (“a lo pobre” or poor style), a fried egg + fried plantains + steak, grilled or fried fish, seafood sauce, etc. I prefer to serve it with some protein and a salad and have included a list of traditional topping ideas in the recipe.

This dish is normally made with leftover rice and beans. In this recipe I’ve given instructions for cooking the rice and use canned beans (which are nutritionally similar to cooked dried beans).

If you can’t find ají amarillo, you can sub your preferred chilli paste.

Tacu tacu

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 3/4 cups water
  • salt


  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp ají amarillo paste
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano

Tacu tacu

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Optional toppings


  1. Heat a pot at low-medium heat. Add oil and garlic. Cook until slightly coloured and fragrant, stirring often. Add rice, coat with oil and garlic. Add water and a good pinch of salt.
  2. Cover and let cook until all the water has been absorbed.
  3. While the rice cooks, heat another pot at low-medium heat. Add oil add onion, cook for 10 minutes. Add garlic and ají amarillo, cook for another 10 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, drain and rinse beans, add them to the second pot, add vegetable stock, salt, pepper and oregano.
  5. Cover partially and cook for 10 minutes. If there’s too much liquid, uncover and let reduce.
  6. Mix rice and beans in a bowl. Check seasoning.
  7. Heat a pan or wok at high temperature. Add oil and let heat up. Add half of the rice and beans mix against one side of the pan in a rugby-ball shape. Cook for a few minutes to let a crust form. You can either turn the tacu tacu on all its sides to let brown or you can serve it straight away. To serve, slide it on a plate, crust side up.
  8. Repeat with the other half of the rice and bean mix.
  9. Serve with your favourite topping(s).

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