Have you ever tasted the flavors of Peru? The Andean country has long been a mecca for foodies, and its vibrant cuisine is a fusion of Spanish, African, and indigenous influences. One of the most popular dishes in Peru is arroz tapado, or “covered rice.” This traditional recipe is simple yet satisfying, offering a taste of the country’s diverse culinary landscape.
Arroz tapado is essentially a layered rice dish that’s filled with savory ingredients like ground beef, potatoes, and vegetables. The rice is molded into an oval shape, forming two layers that enclose the meat and veggies inside. It’s a hearty meal that’s perfect for family gatherings or weeknight dinners.
I’m excited to share my recipe for arroz tapado with you today. This classic Peruvian dish is sure to impress your friends and family with its delicious flavors and unique presentation. So let’s get started and dive into the vibrant world of Peruvian cuisine!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Are you tired of the same old boring rice recipes? Do you crave a traditional, simple yet satisfying dish that takes your tastebuds on a journey to Peru? Then look no further than this arroz tapado recipe.
This Peruvian rice dish, prepared by forming two layers – one of ground beef and another of rice – is a beloved staple in Peruvian cuisine. Not only is it easy to make, but it also offers a unique blend of flavors that will excite your senses.
With ground cumin, fresh cilantro, and garlic clove as some of the key ingredients, this dish bursts with aromatic spices that will fill your kitchen with an irresistible smell. The addition of carrots, peas, and artichoke to the layers of rice and meat create a textural complexity that will leave your taste buds dancing with joy.
And let’s not forget about the cheese! The melted mozzarella cheese mixed with the milk creates a creamy and indulgent layer on top of the rice. It’s like a warm hug from your favorite cheesy comfort food.
So if you are looking for an easy-to-make, budget-friendly meal that is sure to please everyone at the table, look no further than this arroz tapado recipe. It’s the perfect balance between tradition and innovation, and once you try it, you’ll be hooked!
To create this traditional, simple, and satisfying Peruvian dish, we will need to gather a few staple ingredients that are easy to find at any local grocery store. Here’s what you will need:
- 2 cups uncooked rice
- 1 potato, peeled and cubed
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 onions, chopped (1 for the beef and 1 for the rice top)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup peas
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the rice top:
- 2 cups cooked rice (leftover rice is perfect for this!)
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped scallions, mozzarella cheese
The Recipe How-To
Step 1: Prepare the Rice
To make arroz tapado, you will need 2 cups of uncooked rice. Rinse and drain the rice until the water runs clear. In a cooking pot, heat 2 tbsp of vegetable oil over medium heat. Add 2 cloves of chopped garlic and cook for a minute until fragrant. Add the drained rice to the pot and stir to combine. Pour in 4 cups of water and add 1 teaspoon of ground cumin. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cover the pot tightly with a lid. Cook for about 20 minutes or until rice is tender.
Step 2: Cook the Meat
In a large frying pan over medium heat, add 1 lb of lean ground beef and cook until browned. Add 1 chopped onion, 2 chopped garlic cloves, and 1 teaspoon of ground cumin to the pan while stirring frequently. Add 2 chopped tomatoes to the pan and continue to cook until they are softened.
Step 3: Layering Time
Once both rice and meat are cooked, it’s time to assemble the arroz tapado into its signature dish. In a buttered rectangular mold, place one layer of cooked rice on the bottom. Then add a layer of cooked meat over it. If you’d like some extra flavors, add some carrots or peas on top of your meat layer.
Then add another layer of cooked rice on top of your veggies before adding another layer of meat topped with a few slices of Mozzarella cheese and topped again with some tomato paste dispersed.
Finish it up by adding one more layer of cooked rice over everything piled up in there, making sure it’s compacted as much as possible so that there’s no empty space left on top without any rice.
Cover it with aluminum foil or its lid if available, and place the tapado rice in the oven and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes or until everything is nice and warm.
Step 4: Ready to Serve!
Remove the arroz tapado from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before slicing through the molded rice. Top with fresh cilantro, sliced scallions, a bit of butter, and a drizzle of milk if desired. Serve immediately and enjoy this traditional, simple yet satisfying dish from Peru that Gastón Acurio made so famous!
Substitutions and Variations
Arroz Tapado is a traditional Peruvian rice dish that can be customized in many ways depending on personal preferences and ingredient availability. Here are a few substitutions and variations to consider:
– Protein: Instead of using chicken or beef, you can use pork or lamb for a different flavor profile. If you’re vegetarian, you can replace the meat with tofu or diced vegetables like bell peppers or zucchini.
– Rice: The type of rice used in Arroz Tapado can vary depending on local availability. Traditionally, short-grain rice is used, but you can also use medium-grain rice or even brown rice for a healthier option.
– Vegetables: The recipe includes carrots and peas, but you can swap them out for other vegetables like corn, green beans, or even artichoke hearts for an Artichoke Arroz Tapado.
– Cheese: Mozzarella cheese is the traditional choice to top the molded rice, but you can also use cheddar, parmesan or any other cheese that melts well.
– Spices: As with any recipe, the spices used in Arroz Tapado can be personalized. Instead of ground cumin, try using a teaspoon of paprika for a smoky flavor. Add some heat with cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes.
Experimenting with substitutions and variations is what makes cooking fun and exciting! Don’t be afraid to adjust the recipe to your liking by adding ingredients that you love or removing ones that you don’t.
Serving and Pairing
As a traditional and satisfying dish, Arroz Tapado is perfect to share with family and friends. This savory rice dish is quite versatile, so you can pair it with a variety of sides to create a complete meal.
One popular way to serve Arroz Tapado is by cutting it into portions and plating it with a side salad or roasted vegetables. You can also accompany it with a mild salsa or avocado-based sauce for an extra flavor kick.
It pairs wonderfully with a glass of white wine or a cold beer. The clean, crisp flavors of these beverages complement the complex, meaty flavor of Arroz Tapado without overwhelming it.
Since Arroz Tapado is quite filling on its own, serving it alongside lighter sides will balance out the meal nicely. However, if you’re feeling indulgent, feel free to add some fried plantain or yucca fries to your plate!
This old recipe is an excellent addition to any Latin American-themed dining experience. Plus, it’s easy to make at home! So whip up a batch for your next dinner party and impress your guests with this deliciously traditional Peruvian rice dish.
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
If you want to prepare this satisfying dish ahead of time, you’re in luck: Arroz Tapado is perfect for making ahead. In fact, I highly recommend it since this dish tastes even better the next day!
To make it ahead of time, simply assemble the dish per instructions and let it cool down completely before storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
If you have leftovers, the easiest way to store and reheat them is to portion out into smaller containers and refrigerate. When reheating, add a splash of water or broth to ensure that the rice doesn’t dry out. Reheat in the microwave or on medium-low heat in a covered pan until heated through.
You can also freeze portions of Arroz Tapado for later. To do this, make sure that the dish has cooled down completely before wrapping tightly with plastic wrap followed by aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat from frozen, let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating following previous instructions.
I don’t recommend storing the arroz tapado already molded, so stick to storing in separate containers. Trust me, your taste buds will still thank you!
Tips for Perfect Results
Making a dish like Arroz Tapado isn’t complicated, but it does require some attention to detail. I’ve put together a few tips that will help ensure that your Arroz Tapado comes out perfectly every single time.
First, make sure to rinse the rice thoroughly before cooking. This will remove any excess starch that could make the rice sticky and clumpy.
When cooking the chicken and beef, take care not to overcook it. Overcooked meat can be tough and dry, which can ruin the texture of the dish. To prevent this, cook the meat just until it’s no longer pink, and then remove it from the heat.
As you’re building your dish, try to pack each layer down as much as possible. This will help ensure that everything stays together when you go to cut into the molded rice.
Another important tip is to let the dish cool before cutting into it. Cutting into it too soon can cause everything to fall apart, making for a messy presentation.
Finally, don’t be afraid to get creative with your substitutions and additions. While Arroz Tapado traditionally consists of just a few key ingredients, there’s no reason you can’t add some vegetables or spices of your choice to make the dish your own.
Follow these tips, trust your taste buds, and you’ll have an Arroz Tapado that’s sure to impress!
Are you ready to try out this delectable dish? The arroz tapado is a traditional, simple yet satisfying Peruvian recipe enjoyed by many. With its two layers of rice and ground beef or chicken, this dish is full of flavor and is sure to please your taste buds.
I hope these detailed instructions, tips, and recommendations have inspired you to make your very own arroz tapado at home. And remember, don’t be afraid to experiment with different variations of this classic Peruvian rice dish.
So why not plan a dinner party with friends and family and surprise them with this deliciously unique meal? As renowned Peruvian chef Gaston Acurio once said, “Peruvian cuisine is the best ambassador we have,” and I firmly believe that the arroz tapado is a wonderful representation of the rich flavors and traditions of Peruvian cuisine.
I encourage you to embrace cultural exploration through cuisine, and there’s no better place to start than with the arroz tapado. Buen provecho!
Arroz Tapado Recipe
- 1/2 lb pork belly, diced
- 1 lb pork ribs, cut into pieces
- 6 chicken legs or 6 chicken thighs
- 1 1/2 cups rice
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 3/4 cup peas
- 2 large carrots, peeled and grated
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 scallions, finely chopped
- 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup chopped onion
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon achiote
- To make the sofrito: Heat the oil and butter in a saucepan, add the tomatoes, scallions, onion, garlic, ground cumin, achiote and cook gently for 10 minutes, stirring until softened.
- Reduce the heat to low, add the salt, pepper and cilantro, cook for 10 minutes more, stirring occasionally until the sauce has thickened. Check and adjust the seasoning. Set aside.
- To make the rice: In a large pan over medium heat, add the pork belly. Sauté for 5 minutes or until the pork belly is brown. Add the pork ribs. Cook for 5 minutes more. Stirring often.
- Add the chicken pieces and sauté for 4 minutes on each side or until brown. Add the rice and stir to coat.
- Add the chicken stock, stir and cook for about 15 minutes. Add the peas, carrots, salt, pepper and cumin, cook for about 10 more minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low, add the hogao, milk and cheese and cook for 10 minutes more. Remove from the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Add the fresh cilantro and Serve warm.
Add Your Own Notes
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Dora is a chef well-versed in Brazilian and American cuisine. After a hard day's work in the kitchen of her restaurant, she finds the time to jot down recipes for her food blog. Her recipes are sure to delight foodies everywhere, as she strives to make each one unique and enjoyable to read.