Peruvian Arroz Chaufa
Even though my trip to Peru wasn’t that long ago (three years in September), I’ve come a very long way in my foodie growth since then. 2014 was the first year I went on a food tour, and now I’m rather addicted to them. And while I had some truly fantastic meals in Peru, seeing how it was my first trip to the country, home to one of my top bucket list items for as long as I could remember, food ranked, well, second. It’s somewhat of a shame considering Peru is considered to have one of the best cuisines in the world.
Unfortunately my time in the capital city of Lima was much too brief. I got to see the highlights and all, ate amongst the ruins of an ancient civilization, had a very hurried lunch in one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited, but I didn’t get to scratch the surface of its food scene, especially Chifa, which is Peruvian Chinese food.
Immigrants have always traveled thousands of miles in search of a new life. Chinese immigrants came to Peru in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, mainly from China’s southern Guangdong province. And just as elements of Italian cuisine became incorporated into the cooking of Argentinian households, the same happened with Chinese food in Peru, or to be exact, Cantonese cuisine.
Chinese-Peruvian food is one of the most popular types in Peru and establishments range from dank, tiny eateries (like you have in all parts of the world where Chinese immigrants have settled) to places like Chez Wong, a place that Anthony Bourdain literally moons over. Chinese food may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Peru, but ask any Peruvian and they’ll tell you that “chifa es rey” (Chifa is king).
Earlier this year, I decided to finally try another recipe from my Jose Garces cookbook The Latin Road Home since I think I had only made one recipe prior (I’ve gotten into a bad habit of collecting more cookbooks than I can possibly ever cook from, but then my alter ego will respond with, “but they’re so pretty”). The cookbook is divided into five country sections, focusing on the cuisines of the five countries that influenced Garces in his development as a chef.
I settled on Peru, specifically Arroz Chaufa since I have such a fondness for all things Peru. That, and unlike many of the other recipes in the book, it didn’t seem overly long or complicated. While I’ve fried rice before, I have to say that the Arroz Chaufa was phenomenal which I wasn’t expecting. It was the only thing I served for dinner that night but it was more than enough food since the fried rice was chock full of so many things like all of the vegetables, the hearty stuff (the shrimp and chorizo), and the eggs.
I rarely say “I want to make this again” after I cook something simply because there are always so many recipes I want to try. But this was something I very well might do. And even better, it would be a fun dish to make for company too, because who doesn’t like fried rice? Especially one that has a twist to it. The inclusion of mango? Best thing ever.
Peruvian food, te amo.
Arroz Chaufa (Shrimp, Chorizo, and Mango Fried Rice)
Recipe courtesy of Jose Garces’ The Latin Road Home
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup peeled finely diced Spanish chorizo
3 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
3 tbsp minced garlic (8-10 cloves)
8 fresh large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed
1/2 lb Chinese long beans, green beans, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces (1 cup)
1 cup cooked edamame
3 1/2 cups cooked sushi rice, cold
1 1/2 cups soy glaze (see below)
1/2 cup finely diced mango
3 or 4 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced on the diagonal
4 large eggs, scrambled
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
-Heat the oil in a wok or a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add the chorizo and stir-fry until just rendered and crispy, about 2 minutes.
-Add the ginger, garlic, shrimp, beans, and edamame and stir-fry until the vegetables are slightly charred at the edges, about 1 minute.
-Add the rice and continue stir-frying until the rice is warmed through and slightly crispy, about 2 minutes.
-Add the soy glaze and toss to lightly coat the rice. Transfer the rice mixture to a bowl and stir in the mango, scallion, scrambled eggs, and cilantro. Season the chaufa with salt and pepper to taste and portion into four warm bowls.