3 Easy ACL Recipes Peru You Can Make at Home!

8 min


A Taste of Peru

Craving an escape to Peru without leaving your kitchen? Look no further than ACL recipes! These stand for Authentic Classic Local, and they’re the heart and soul of Peruvian food.

Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a pro to cook these delicious dishes. This guide will break it down for you, step-by-step!

ACL: More Than Just an Initiation

ACL stands for Authentic Classic Local, representing the heart and soul of Peruvian cuisine. These recipes are not just dishes; they’re stories passed down through generations, whispering tales of ancient Incan wisdom and the rich tapestry of cultural influences that shaped Peru.

A Fusion Fiesta on Your Plate

Imagine a symphony of flavors dancing on your tongue. That’s the magic of Peruvian food! The Incas laid the foundation with their love for potatoes and aji peppers, while the Spanish conquistadors added a touch of European flair. But wait, there’s more! African and Asian influences snuck into the mix, creating a truly unique culinary experience.

What Makes Peruvian Food Special?

Peruvian cuisine is a flavor explosion! It mixes the best of ancient Inca traditions with Spanish and Asian influences. This means fresh, unique ingredients that make ACL recipes stand out:

  • Aji Amarillo Peppers: These bright yellow peppers are like sunshine in a dish. They add a touch of heat, a beautiful golden color, and an earthy kick.
  • Potatoes: Peruvians love their potatoes! They come in all shapes and sizes, from white to purple, each with its own taste and texture.
  • Chulpi: Ever heard of freeze-dried potatoes? The Incas invented this genius way to preserve them!
  • Fresh Herbs: Coriander, mint, oregano, and huacatay (a fragrant black mint) add layers of flavor to ACL dishes.
  • Seafood: Peru has a long coastline, so fresh fish and shellfish are all over the place. Get ready for ceviche and amazing stews!

Ready to Cook? Easy ACL Dishes for Beginners!

Let’s get cooking! Here are some tasty Peruvian dishes you can make at home, even if you’re a beginner:

  • Aji de Gallina: This creamy shredded chicken dish is a crowd-pleaser. Aji amarillo peppers and walnuts create a smooth, flavorful sauce that’s addictive!
  • Lomo Saltado: Think of it like a Peruvian stir-fry. Tender beef strips are cooked with veggies, tomatoes, and soy sauce for a delicious East-meets-West flavor bomb.
  • Causa Rellena: Mashed yellow potatoes layered with yummy fillings like chicken salad or tuna salad? Yes, please! This colorful dish is perfect for a light lunch.

1. Ají de Gallina: Complete Recipe

Craving a taste of Peru that’s both comforting and exciting? Look no further than Ají de Gallina, a flavorful stew featuring tender chicken bathed in a creamy, golden aji amarillo sauce. It’s a symphony of textures and tastes, perfect for a cozy night in or a special occasion.

This recipe breaks down the steps for making Ají de Gallina at home, making it easier than you might think!

Gather Your Ingredients:

  • For the Chicken:
    • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs (cut into bite-sized pieces)
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth for a vegetarian option)
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • For the Ají Amarillo Sauce:
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
    • 2-3 aji amarillo peppers, seeded and thinly sliced (adjust for spice preference) [You can substitute with 1 tablespoon aji amarillo paste]
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
    • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
    • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 3 cups evaporated milk (or a combination of milk and heavy cream for a richer sauce)
    • 2 slices white bread, crusts removed, soaked in 1/2 cup milk
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • For Garnish (optional):
    • Chopped fresh parsley
    • Hard-boiled eggs, quartered
    • Black olives
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Let’s Cook!

  1. Poach the Chicken: In a pot, combine chicken pieces, onion, garlic, bay leaf, and chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool slightly. Shred the chicken with two forks.
  2. Craft the Ají Amarillo Sauce: Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the aji amarillo peppers (or paste) and cook for an additional minute, allowing the flavors to release.
  3. Spice Symphony: Add the cumin and turmeric to the pot, stirring for another minute.
  4. The Creamy Transformation: Pour in the evaporated milk and bring to a simmer. Add the soaked bread (with milk) and Parmesan cheese. Using an immersion blender or a regular blender in batches, blend the sauce until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Welcome the Chicken Back: Return the shredded chicken to the pot with the creamy aji amarillo sauce. Gently simmer for 5-7 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.
  6. The Grand Finale: Serve Ají de Gallina hot over cooked rice. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley, quartered hard-boiled eggs, and black olives (optional).

Tips for Ají de Gallina Perfection:

  • Adjust the Spice: Aji amarillo peppers can vary in heat level. Start with 2 peppers and add more for a spicier kick.
  • Bread Options: You can use breadcrumbs instead of soaked bread for a thicker sauce.
  • Leftovers Love You: Ají de Gallina tastes even better the next day! Simply reheat in a pot on the stovetop over low heat.
  • Vegetarian Twist: Omit the chicken and add cooked chickpeas or lentils for a vegetarian version.

So, embark on this delicious journey to Peru with Ají de Gallina! It’s a dish that promises to tantalize your taste buds and transport you to the heart of South American cuisine.

2. Lomo Saltado: Complete Recipe

Lomo Saltado is a Peruvian stir-fry bursting with flavor and color. Tender strips of beef mingle with crisp vegetables, juicy tomatoes, and golden French fries, all enveloped in a savory sauce. It’s a crowd-pleaser that’s surprisingly easy to make at home!

This recipe will guide you through the steps to create this delightful Peruvian classic. So, grab your wok or a large skillet, crank up the heat, and get ready to experience a taste of Peru!

Gather Your Ingredients:

  • For the Marinade:
    • 1 pound beef sirloin or flank steak, thinly sliced (against the grain)
    • 1/4 cup soy sauce
    • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
    • 1 tablespoon aji amarillo paste (or substitute with 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper and 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric)
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • For the Stir-fry:
    • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
    • 2 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
    • 1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
    • 1 ají amarillo pepper, thinly sliced (optional)
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • 1 cup beef broth
    • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water (slurry)
    • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    • 3 cups cooked French fries (shoestring or shoestring steak fries recommended)
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Let’s Cook!

  1. Marinate the Beef: Combine the sliced beef, soy sauce, garlic, aji amarillo paste (or substitute), cumin, black pepper, and vegetable oil in a large bowl. Toss well to coat the beef evenly. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight for deeper flavor.
  2. Heat Up the Wok: Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add a drizzle of oil and let it shimmer. Remove the beef from the marinade, letting any excess drip off.
  3. Sear the Beef: Working in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan, sear the beef strips for 1-2 minutes per side, until browned but still slightly pink in the center. Transfer the cooked beef to a plate.
  4. Sauté the Vegetables: Add another drizzle of oil to the pan (if needed) and reduce the heat to medium-high. Add the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes, until softened and translucent. Add the bell pepper and ají amarillo pepper (if using) and cook for another minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Build the Sauce: Push the vegetables to the side of the pan and pour in the beef broth and white vinegar. Bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Whisk in the cornstarch slurry and cook for another minute, or until the sauce thickens slightly.
  6. The Grand Finale: Return the cooked beef to the pan along with the accumulated juices. Stir gently to combine with the vegetables and sauce. Let everything simmer for another minute to heat through.
  7. Time for the Fries: Finally, add the cooked French fries to the pan and toss gently to coat them with the flavorful sauce. Be careful not to overmix, as you want to maintain some crispness in the fries.
  8. Serve and Savor: Plate the Lomo Saltado with the beef, vegetables, and French fries bathed in the delicious sauce. Garnish with a sprinkle of fresh chopped cilantro and serve immediately with white rice on the side, if desired.

Tips for Lomo Saltado

  • Thinly sliced beef ensures it cooks quickly and stays tender.
  • Marinating tenderizes the beef and infuses it with flavor.
  • Don’t overcrowd the pan while searing the beef. This will lower the cooking temperature and potentially steam the meat instead of searing it.
  • Aji amarillo pepper adds a unique Peruvian flavor, but you can substitute with the cayenne pepper and turmeric combo if unavailable.
  • Adjust the spice level to your preference. Aji amarillo peppers are moderately spicy, but you can add more cayenne pepper if you like it hotter.

Now go forth and conquer your kitchen! With this recipe, you can create a restaurant-quality Lomo Saltado right at home. So, fire up your stove, gather your loved ones, and enjoy a taste of Peru!

3. Causa Rellena: Complete Recipe

Causa Rellena, which translates to “stuffed cause,” is a vibrant Peruvian dish featuring layers of creamy mashed potatoes, aji amarillo peppers, and your choice of delicious fillings. It’s a feast for the eyes and the taste buds, perfect for a light lunch, a satisfying side dish, or even a colorful appetizer.

Gather Your Ingredients:

  • For the Mashed Potatoes:
    • 2 pounds yellow potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup lime juice
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced (optional)
    • 1 large aji amarillo pepper, roasted, peeled, and diced (or 1 tablespoon aji amarillo paste)
  • For the Filling (Choose One):
    • Chicken Salad:
      • 1 cooked and shredded chicken breast
      • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
      • 1/4 cup chopped celery
      • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
      • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
      • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Tuna Salad:
      • 1 (5-ounce) can tuna in water, drained and flaked
      • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
      • 1/4 cup chopped celery
      • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
      • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
      • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Vegetarian:
      • 1 cup cooked chickpeas, mashed with a fork
      • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
      • 1/4 cup chopped bell pepper (any color)
      • 1/4 cup chopped fresh corn
      • 1 tablespoon olive oil
      • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
      • Salt and pepper to taste
  • To Assemble:
    • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
    • Lettuce leaves (optional)
    • Cherry tomatoes (optional)
    • Black olives (optional)
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Let’s Cook!

  1. Cook the Potatoes: In a large pot, cover the potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot.
  2. Mash the Potatoes: While the potatoes are hot, mash them with a potato masher or use a ricer for a smoother texture. Add the olive oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper, and mash until well combined.
  3. Prepare the Aji Amarillo: If using fresh aji amarillo pepper, roast it whole in a preheated oven at 400°F (200°C) for 20-25 minutes, or until the skin is blistered. Let it cool slightly, then peel and dice the pepper. Alternatively, use 1 tablespoon of aji amarillo paste.
  4. Incorporate the Flavor: If using diced onion, saute it in a pan with a drizzle of olive oil until softened. Add the mashed potatoes, aji amarillo pepper (or paste), and mix well.
  5. Make the Filling: Choose your desired filling and combine the ingredients in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Assemble the Causa Rellena: There are two ways to assemble this dish.
    • Method 1 (Individual Rings): Lightly oil a round mold or ring mold. Press about 1/2 inch of mashed potato mixture into the bottom of the mold. Add a layer of your chosen filling, then top with another layer of mashed potato mixture to cover. Gently press down to compact the layers. Carefully remove the mold and repeat with the remaining ingredients.
    • Method 2 (Layered Presentation): Spread half of the mashed potato mixture in a serving dish. Top it with your chosen filling, then spread the remaining mashed potato mixture evenly over the top.
  7. Chill and Garnish: Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or until chilled and firm.
  8. Serve and Enjoy: Unmold the individual causa rellena (if using molds) or simply slice the layered causa rellena. Garnish with a dollop of mayonnaise, chopped fresh parsley, lettuce leaves, cherry tomatoes, and black olives (optional).

Pro Tip – Plan Your Layers:

When assembling your causa rellena, consider the color and texture of each layer. Create a visually appealing contrast by alternating between light and dark fillings and using ingredients with different textures, like creamy mashed potatoes and crunchy chopped vegetables.

With a little creativity and these helpful tips, you can transform the classic Causa Rellena into a stunning and delicious centerpiece for your next gathering. So, unleash your inner culinary artist and embark on a flavorful Peruvian adventure!

Tips for ACL Recipe Success!

Here are some secrets to making amazing ACL recipes:

  • Fresh is Best: Whenever you can, use fresh ingredients for the most authentic flavors.
  • Spice it Up (or Not): Peruvian food can be spicy, but you control the heat! Start with a little aji amarillo pepper and add more if you dare.
  • Hit the Market: If you have a Latin American market nearby, look for aji amarillo peppers, huacatay, and other unique ingredients.
  • Have Fun! Cooking should be enjoyable. Explore, experiment, and enjoy the delicious journey of ACL recipes.

So, ditch the takeout menus and grab your apron! With a little guidance, you can whip up incredible Peruvian food right at home. Get ready to impress your taste buds and explore the exciting world of ACL recipes!

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Fiona Firewood
Fiona Firewood is our culinary adventurer who takes the kitchen outdoors. With a passion for open-flame cooking and campfire cuisine, Fiona's articles on ReVistaMash explore the art of cooking amidst nature. From sizzling skewers to gourmet camping recipes, Fiona invites readers to embrace the joy of al fresco dining and the unique flavors that only a campfire can impart.


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