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  • Writer's pictureCecilia Tupac

Arroz con Pollo: Peruvian Rice with Chicken Recipe

How to make Arroz con Pollo: Peruvian Rice with Chicken

A classic Peruvian dish, "Arroz con Pollo" is bursting with flavour and vibrant colours, making it incredibly satisfying. Discover more about this amazing dish, its colourful history, and why it's one of Peru's most popular meals.

What is Arroz con Pollo?

First of all, what exactly is Arroz con Pollo? Translating to "rice with chicken," it might not sound particularly exciting or unique, but look beyond the name, and you'll uncover a dish with deep culinary traditions and rich, comforting flavours.

Arroz con Pollo is a rice-based dish that uses coriander, beer, ají amarillo, vegetables, spices, and chicken drumsticks or thighs. It's a dish that requires both time and patience and is a classic home-cooked meal regularly prepared in every Peruvian household or for special events and celebrations.

Why is Peruvian Arroz con Pollo Unique?

Peruvian Rice with Chicken Recipe

There are many different iterations of 'Arroz con Pollo' across Latin America, but the Peruvian version stands out for its use of ají amarillo, coriander, and a local corn beer called "chicha de jora."

Ají amarillo, the native yellow chili pepper, is used in various Peruvian dishes such as "Ají de Gallina" and "Papa a la Huancaína." When mashed into a paste, it provides a unique sweet and spicy flavour, giving this dish a distinctly Peruvian taste.

A generous addition of coriander, or "cilantro" as it's known in Peru, is also added to this dish. This not only gives the rice an aromatic and fresh flavour but also its vibrant and distinct green color.

Another difference with Peru's Arroz con Pollo is the addition of fermented corn beer, or "chicha de jora." Considered sacred by the Incas, this traditional Andean beer made from jora corn has a history dating back hundreds of years, and it imparts a unique flavour to the dish compared to others that use only water or chicken stock.

What is the History of Arroz con Pollo?

The combination of rice and chicken cooked in a single pot is a centuries-old tradition originating from Spain and is still used today in dishes like "paella." When the Spanish colonizers arrived in Latin America, they brought these culinary traditions and techniques with them, and each country developed its own unique take on this dish, utilising the local ingredients available.

The Peruvian twist involves adding ingredients such as coriander, ají amarillo, and chicha de jora, as well as serving it with a 'sarza criolla,' a pickled onion and lime salsa served alongside many dishes.

How to prepare Peruvian Rice with Chicken

To make a delicious Peruvian Rice with Chicken (Arroz con Pollo), follow the instructions below:

  1. Season the Chicken: Add salt, pepper and cumin to the chicken thighs/drumsticks

  2. Prepare the vegetables: Chop onions, carrots and red bell peppers. Blend coriander leaves into a smooth paste.

  3. Brown the Chicken: Fry the chicken for 4-5 minutes and then remove from the pot.

  4. Prepare the Base: In the same pot, add onions, garlic paste, aji amarillo paste and spices. Continue to mix for a few minutes and then add in and cook the the coriander paste.

  5. Add the Chicken: Place the browned chicken back into the pot and mix with the base sauce. Add water or chicken stock to cover the chicken, and leave to boil for around 20-25 minutes.

  6. Add the Rice and Vegetables: Remove the cooked chicken and add the rice in the same pot, and then add the vegetables such as the peas, carrots and peppers.

  7. Leave to cook: Leave the rice and vegetables to boil for around 18-20 minutes, until they have soaked up all the liquid.

  8. Serve: Add the chicken back into the pot and serve.

Peruvian Arroz con Pollo Recipe

Below is the step-by-step video showing you how you can easily prepare this delicious Peruvian rice with chicken:

Arroz con Pollo Ingredients:

  • 6 pieces of chicken (thighs or drumsticks)

  • 2 tablespoons of aji amarillo paste

  • 1 red pepper

  • 1 red onion

  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric

  • 1 tablespoon of garlic paste

  • 1/4 cup of blonde or dark beer

  • 70 gr of chopped carrots

  • 70 gr of corn

  • 70 gr of peas

  • 2 cups of rice

  • 2 cups of chicken stock or water

  • 1/2 cup of coriander leaves

  • Salt, pepper and cumin to taste


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