Taste The World: Causa [Peru]

Food is pretty great, am I right?

Food is one area I’ve always loved to be adventurous, because what could go wrong? (Mind you, I’ve never had food poisoning so “knock on wood”) It’s cool because you can learn so much about a person by simply looking at what they eat. If you saw what I ate every morning you would know that I am very routine. I eat the exact same breakfast everyday. Food can say the same about a city, town or even a country. What foods people have access to, but also their “flavor for life” (pardon the pun). Recipes have tradition and are saturated with family and community. That being said, I found it necessary to follow one of the traditions in the countries FH partners with.

Peruvian food varies depending on where you live inside of the country, but the food staples remain the same: potatoes, maize, quinoa, chili peppers, and some variation of meat. Food on the coast will generally have more fish and seafood,  while food in the Amazon will include many fruits.

Ever heard of Causa?

Causa is a Peruvian potato dish that is served cold. It is essentially a tangy, spicy take on a potato salad. Causa is also very versatile. Most recipes call for 2 cups of “filling” which can vary from fish, seafood or chicken salad. What is great is that since Causa is naturally gluten and dairy free, most people are able to eat it, or alter the recipe to suit their dietary needs.

Ingredients:

  • Yellow (Yukon gold) potatoes – 2 pounds (about 3 potatoes or so)
  • Oil – 1/2 cup
  • Lime juice – 1/4 cup
  • Ají Amarillo chile paste (optional) – 2 or 3 tablespoons
  • Salt and pepper – to taste
  • Filling of some sort (I used chicken salad) – 2 cups
  • Avocados -2 large
  • Hard-boiled eggs (optional)
  • Pitted black olives (optional)

Instructions

  1. Peel raw potatoes and cut them into fourths. Place them in a large pot of cold, salted water. Boil potatoes until soft and let cool. Once they have cooled, use a potato masher (or a fork if you’ve got strong hands and some time to waste) and mash the potatoes. Then, stir in the oil, lime juice, and Aji Amarillo (if using) and finish with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Place a few eggs into a pot and boil until hard (about 8-10 min once water is boiling). Once finished, set aside to cool.
  3. Line a casserole dish or baking pan with plastic wrap. Size and shape don’t necessarily matter, though Causa is generally circular in shape. 
  4. Use about half of the mashed potatoes and fill the bottom of the lined baking dish, pressing the potatoes firmly into the dish. Then add the 2 cups of your chosen filling and press into the bottom. Slice both avocados and use about 1.5 them to line your dish (you will need the rest to decorate). Then add the rest of the potatoes and press firmly. Fold the remaining plastic wrap over the top to keep from drying out, and refrigerate for about an hour or two, or until fully chilled.
  5. Once chilled, remove the plastic wrap from the top and find a plate larger than your dish. Place the plate on the top of the unwrapped Causa and flip upside down and wiggle the Causa out of the dish onto the serving plate.
  6. Decorating your Causa can vary greatly. Olives and hard-boiled eggs are common garnishes and I also used cilantro because I think it looks nice. Garnish however you would like and have fun!
  7. Cut into portions and enjoy a taste of Peru!

FH has been working in Peru for 37 years and is currently working alongside with 141 communities inside the country. To date, we have over 7,000 children sponsored in Peru. Learn more about what FH is doing in Peru.

 

More articles you may be interested in:

Injera Recipe

Dal Tadka Recipe