Cau cau is a traditional stew made with tripe. Luckily for me, as I’m not that crazy about eating innards, it can also be made with chicken or seafood. If using tripe, it should be cooked with a little milk to bring down its strong taste.
Some historians say that cau cau has its roots in African cooking because slaves brought to Peru to work used to make this entree with the odds and ends of the kitchen. The recipe that started in this very humble way, eventually found its way to the tables of the most sophisticated people in the country, and now it is cooked in houses and restaurants alike.
For the seafood version, just substitute with a mixture of mussels, squid, scallops, and shrimp. Otherwise, substitute with chicken, as I’ve done today.
Serve cau cau with white fluffy rice that will absorb all the sauce and help you enjoy the flavors even more. Try it and let us know what you think!
- 1 pound skinless chicken
- 2 sprigs hierbabuena
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup red onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons ají amarillo paste (or 2 fresh ají amarillo, processed)
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- Salt and pepper
- 4 tablespoons hierbabuena, chopped
- 4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 cup green peas (optional)
- White fluffy rice
- Clean the chicken. Put in a saucepan with hierbabuena and water to cover, and simmer until tender, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a chopping board and cut in dices. Strain and reserve the stock.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic until medium brown, add ají amarillo paste, cumin, turmeric, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the chicken and 4 cups of the reserved stock and the diced potatoes and green peas, if using. Add half the chopped hierbabuena. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Garnish with the remaining hierbabuena.
- Taste for seasoning, turn off the heat and serve with white fluffy rice.