Monday, 14 March 2011

The Daring Cooks' Challenge No. 5 - March 2011 - A Peruvian Meal.

Kathlyn of Bake Like A Ninja was our Daring Cooks' March 2011 hostess. Kathlyn challenged us to make two classic Peruvian dishes: Ceviche de Pescado from "Peruvian Cooking - Basic Recipes" by Annik Franco Barreau. And Papas Rellenas adapted from a home recipe by Kathlyn's Spanish teacher, Mayra.

I knew I would love ceviche ( a dish of raw fish marinated with lime juice and chillies) and have actually been meaning to try the recipe for it in Nigella Express for some time.  The Papas Rellenas is also a great dish - a South American version of the mince and tatties we would eat here in Scotland.

So, the ceviche to start.

I used scallops as I had a bag of them in the chest freezer and I love them.  I also diced my red onion and mixed it with the scallops.  I made this at the last minute so the scallops only marinated for 10 minutes maximum and it turned out perfectly.  The next time I will reduce the chillies a little and mince them rather than chop as we got the odd bite that nearly blew our heads off - might have just been a particularly hot chilli.  The texture was amazing - the soft but firm scallops and the crunch of the onions. I could taste the scallops but they were overlaid with the zing of the lime - such a fresh tasting dish.  Next time I will try it with a different fish but I think the scallops would be hard to beat.

Recipe - Ceviche.

Ingredients - 
1Kg firm white fish (scallops or other seafood may be substituted) (must be high quality, really fresh fish) 
2 garlic cloves, mashed
1 chilli pepper, minced
240ml freshly squeezed lime juice (8-12 limes) (NOT bottled lime juice)
1 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped
1 red onion, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

Method - 
1. Slice your fish into cubes.  (The fish is going to "cook" in the lime juice - how thick you make the pieces will determine how much the fish cooks.)
2. Place fish in a non-reactive pan in a thin layer.  Season with salt and pepper.
3. Combine the lime juice, chilli, coriander and garlic.  Pour mixture over the fish.  Stir lightly to expose all the fish to some of the lime juice mixture.
4. Put the sliced onion on top of the fish as it cooks.
5. Let stand for 10 minutes.  
6. Lift fish out of the lime juice and serve.

So, on to the main course - the Papas Rellenas.  This is a very versatile dish and any filling can be used so you can vary this every time to suit yourself.  I actually really enjoyed the filling in this one - the soaked raisins, olives and spices in the mixture made it very tasty.  The eggs were okay but I might leave them out next time as it would help to cut down the number of steps in making this and I don't think I would miss them.  Although some of the Daring Cooks put a whole boiled quail's egg in the centre of their papas and it does look very effective when sliced open.

The papas rellenas were served with a salsa criolla which was so simple to make and a very effectice accompaniment.

Recipe - Papas Rellenas de Carne.

Ingredients - 

For the dough - 
1Kg russet potatoes
1 large egg

For the filling - 
2 tbsp veg oil
250g minced beef
6 black olives, pitted and chopped
3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 small onion, finely diced
90g raisins, soaked in 240ml boiling water for 10 minutes then minced
1 finely diced chilli
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
60mls white wine, water or beef stock for deglazing
salt and pepper to taste

For the final preparation-
1 large egg, beaten
140g plain flour
Dash cayenne pepper
Dash salt
110g bread crumbs
oil for frying

Method - 
1. Boil the potatoes until the pierce easily with a fork.  Remove from the water and cool.
2. Once cooled, peel them and mash.
3. Add egg, salt and pepper and knead thoroughly to ensure ingredients are well combined and uniformly distributed. Set aside.
4. Make the filling.  Gently brown onion and garlic in oil for about 5 mins.
5. Add the chilli and saute for a couple more minutes.
6. Add the mince and brown.
7. Add raisins, cumin and paprika and cook briefly.
8. Deglaze the pan with the liquid.
9. Add olives and cook for a few moments longer.
10. Add hard boiled eggs and fold in off the heat.

11. Allow filling to cool before forming "papas".
12. Use three small bowls to prepare the papas.  In one combine the flour, cayenne and salt. In the second a beaten egg with a tiny bit of water. Put the breadcrumbs in the third.
13. Flour your hands and scoop up 1/6 of the dough to make a round pancake with your hands.
 14. Spoon a generous amount of the filling on to the potato then roll the potato round it to enclose it.  Repeat with the rest of the potato and filling.

15. Heat 4-5 cm oil in a pan to 175 - 190 C.
16. Dip each papa in the three bowls to coat: first the flour then the egg then the breadcrumbs.

17. Fry the papas (in batches if necessary) about 2-3 mins until golden brown.  Flip once during cooking.
18. Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm in oven if doing in batches.  Serve with Salsa Criolla.

Recipe - Salsa Criolla.

Ingredients - 
2 medium red onions, cut in half and very thinly sliced.
1/2 chilli
1 tbsp vinegar (I used red wine vinegar)
Juice from 1 lime
Salt and pepper to taste

Method - 
1. Soak the onions in cold salt water for about 10 mins to remove bitterness.  Drain.
2. In a medium bowl combine the onions with the rest of the ingredients, season with salt and pepper.
3. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for the onions to macerate and the flavours to combine.


  1. You made all three! And all were totally successful, they look delicious! I specially love the photo with the "guardian angels" :o)

  2. Wow, what an excellent effort!

    The Recipe - Papas Rellenas de Carne intrigues me. I was in Ediburgh a little while ago and went to Hendersons and they had something similar, but of course filled with vegetables, so I am real tempted to have a go at making a veggie version of this.

  3. Renata - thanks. The kids would have so loved your Mr Potato Head!!!

    Mangocheeks - oh yes, a veggie version would be good and you are the perfect person to come up with an exciting filling!

  4. WOW the photography are stunning it sure sounds like you had fun. I adore the pixs of the children so cute. I have to say the texture of the scallops is perfect so creamy great work yes 10 mins is about right I feel for most seafood.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  5. Great job! I love the picture of the kids :)

  6. I love the picture of the boys on the counter with the papas! :)

    You did an awesome job with all of the challenge recipes - they all look so fresh and delicious! Your potato dough came out so perfectly, too - mine was super sticky to work with!

    Awesome job on the challenge - as always! :)

  7. These all look really delicious. I am not a big fan of fish generally but one of the best meals I have ever eaten included scallop ceviche - gorgeous.

  8. Thanks Samina and Shelley - it is always good to add pictures of the kids. To be honest, they didn't do a lot in helping with this recipe but they sat there and watched everything I did and asked endless questions so still a learning experience.
    Thanks Kath - where was the best meal and who cooked it?

  9. Scallops are my favourite shellfish; I must try scallop cheviche when I can get some fresh ones. What a dreamy idea. I loved the tangy lime flavour--cheviche was new for me but I will definitely make it again. Well done on everything!

  10. I love the idea of scallop ceviche, but they are generally much more expensive in Australia than in Scotland. I might have to try it next time I am in your country. :)
    I agree about the egg in the papa now that you mention it. It was a pain in the butt to peel them and they didn't add much- except authenticity I suppose.

  11. I would be hungry and sitting on the counter next to the kids too. Excellent work on this challenge.

  12. Great job on this challenge! I too love scallops, I'll have to try them ceviche-style some time.

  13. aww you have two very cute little boys!! Enjoyed reading your blog and am your new friend :)