Peruvian cuisine is wonderful. If you have a Peruvian restaurant near you, and haven’t tried it. Go. Go right now. Peruvian roast chicken is magic and magically delicious. But today we’re making Chaufa Rice, Peru’s version of Chinese fried rice. It’s simple. It’s delicious. And it also happens to be a great way to use leftover chicken or pork, if you don’t have fresh. I know what you’re thinking, how does Chinese fried rice get to Peru? Huh? You were think that, weren’t you. Well, Asians were brought to Peru, in the late 19th century, primarily by the Portuguese slave traders. They came from a number of Asian countries, but the influence for Chaufa rice, is primarily from China, with the Chinese representing the largest number of Asians in Peru. Just as note, the second largest Japanese community, outside of Japan, is in Peru. The largest outside of Japan is in Brazil, but that’s another story! Over 90,000 Chinese, mostly men, were brought into Peru as laborers. With them, they brought soy sauce, ginger and scallions. I love when one culture influences and seeps into another. It enriches both cultures. Anyway, there are a number of dishes that the Asian immigrants influenced, but today we’re cooking Chaufa.
Chaufa rice is an excellent way to use leftover chicken or use both fresh and leftover meats. Today, I’m using a leftover chicken breast, which I’ve pulled into pieces. It turns out I have some shrimp in the freezer, so I decided to thaw them and use them, too. I also sprinkled each bowl with red pepper flakes, but that isn’t necessarily a usual addition. That’s a Goddess-thing!
This is a stir-fry. Have all your ingredients ready before you start cooking; you can prep them earlier in the day and refrigerate them until you’re ready to make dinner. You can also fry the bacon earlier in the day, if that works best for you. But, reserve at least 2 tablespoons of bacon fat or use some vegetable oil; the smokiness of the bacon fat is particularly nice though. I’m just going to post a collage of the steps. For clearer or more detailed instructions, check out the recipe.
As you can see, this is fried rice. The shrimp/chicken combination works rather nicely. The dark soy is available in Asian markets, but if you can’t find it, substitute molasses, as it has a very similar taste. The subtle sweetness is a nice touch and good balance for the saltiness of the bacon and regular soy.
Chaufa Rice (Peruvian Fried Rice)
- 3 eggs, beaten with 2 tablespoons water
- 4 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons rendered bacon fat (or vegetable oil)
- 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
- 5 cups cooked (cooled or cold) rice (leftover rice is perfect)
- 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons grated fresh garlic
- 1 onion, cubed
- 1 red or yellow bell pepper, cubed
- 1-2 cups cooked chicken or pork, torn into pieces (see NOTE for using fresh)
- 1/2 cup snow peas, cut into 1-inch pieces (optional)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon dark soy (optional)
- 3 scallions, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- 3 tablespoons chiffonade of Thai basil or chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Beat the eggs and water together; season them. Add oil to the wok; pour in the beaten eggs and fry until done. Remove the omelet from the pan and cut into 1/2-inch pieces; set aside.
Add the bacon pieces; sauté until the bacon pieces crisp up. Drain on paper towels. Remove all but 2 tablespoons bacon fat from the wok. Add onions and bell peppers. Stir-fry, over medium-high heat, for 1 minute. Add the garlic and ginger. Continue to fry for 30 seconds. Add the vegetable oil and the sesame oil. Add the chicken pieces and snow peas, if using; stir for a minute to heat through. Dump in the rice; toss with the ingredients. Combine the soy sauces, if using both. Stir-fry the rice mixture for 1-2 minutes or until the rice is hot. Slowly drizzle over the soy mixture over the rice, tossing to combine. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the scallions, omelet and basil or cilantro. Taste and add salt, if needed. Pour onto a platter; sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve immediately.
NOTE: If using fresh chicken or pork, cut into about 1/2-inch cubes. After you prepare the omelet and the bacon, sauté for about 2-3 minutes or until the meat is cooked through. Continue with the recipe. For a vegetarian version, simply omit the meat; add some carrots and broccoli, if desired. This can be served as either a side dish or a main course.
Chaufa Rice Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2018. All rights reserved.