#MeatlessMondays – Pepian de Choclo (Corn, Chili Pepper, And Cilantro Stew)

As you may have realized, in Peru we eat a lot of stews, and we also eat a lot of tamales. If you want to imagine a dish that will certainly please the Peruvian palate, put a tamale and a stew together, and there you have it. Its name: Pepian de Choclo.

This recipe is from the North of Peru, an area famous for its tasty and varied cuisine, and also for the enormous size of its portions. Stocky meals that will satisfy the biggest of appetites are a must when it comes to this regional gastronomy, and nothing epitomizes this better than Pepian de Choclo.

The homey entree consists of a tamale-like corn stew, which can only be differentiated from a tamalito verde in that it’s slightly creamier (but hardly so). This is accompanied by rice, as is every other Peruvian dish, and the usual way to eat it is with a large piece of meat -either chicken, or pork, or guinea pig, or whatever you may feel like- on top.

But of course, I’m a vegetarian, and today’s recipe is part of our #MeatlessMondays series, so I left that last detail out, and instead, added some cubed zucchini to the pot of bubbling corn. This not only tasted good, but also upped the health factor, as the dish doesn’t normally include more veggies in it, other than the usual onion, garlic and chili that serves as a base for most Peruvian preparations, and the corn, of course. Next time, I think I’ll also add some red bell pepper, and maybe even broccoli or cauliflower florets.

And if you don’t like cilantro, simply don’t use it. Enjoying it is what matters most.

Pepian de Choclo (Corn, chili, and cilantro stew)
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Northern Peru
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp aji mirasol paste
  • 2 yellow chili pepper, cut in thin stripes (or use in paste, as needed)
  • 4 Peruvian giant kernel corns
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves
  • 4 small or 1-2 large zucchini, cut in cubes
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Blend the corn kernels and cilantro leaves with the vegetable stock until creamy.
  2. In a pan with oil, over medium heat, saute the onion, garlic, and 2 chili peppers, stirring until golden.
  3. Add the corn and coriander paste, zucchini, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, for 10-15 minutes, or until it has the consistency you desire. If it cooks too long it will get more tamale-like.
  4. Serve with rice, and a salad, or with a piece of any kind of meat on top.


  1. Thank you for sharing these beautiful recipes. I am planning to make this dish tonight and I am wondering if I use all the giant kernels of 4 cobs of corn, or just take 4 giant kernels off 1 cob of corn? I’m new to Peruvian foods.

  2. If I can’t get aji mirasol paste or peruvian peppers, what would you suggest as a substitute?

    • I don´t know where do you live, but chances are you have a Latin American grocery store nearby. Sometimes they carry aji amarillo and aji mirasol pastes, if not try online. Ají mirasol has an earthy flavor, maybe you can ask in the grocery store if they have something similar. Thanks for visiting.

  3. Hola,

    Podria hacerlo tambien con otro tipo de choclo?. Vivo en USA, podria usar el choclo regular que usan aca?


    • Hola Laura, claro. Podrias probar con otros tipos de choclo. El sabor cambiara un poco, porque el choclo de USA es mas dulce. Podrias intentar con un maiz blanco, que no es tan dulce como el amarillo.

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