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The Classic Peruvian Potato Dish Causa Rellena
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The story

When I was in the capital city of Peru, Lima, Ada invited me to her kitchen. Six years ago, Ada moved back to her childhood home to be able to take care of her parents who now are getting old. She now lives here together with her mom, dad and her two sons. Her husband lives in the United States and Ada is waiting for her legal papers to go through, so she and their kids can go and live there together with her husband.

Ada moved to the United States when she was 23. She did not have the legal papers that was necessary for her to stay there, which means she stayed there during illegal circumstances. After 8 years, she decided to try online dating and that’s when she met the man that is her husband today – Charles. It was love at first sight. From their first date to their wedding, was only 5 months. Ada gave birth to her two sons in the US. Since Ada stayed in the US under illegal circumstances she had to go back to Peru, and therefore the whole family moved to Peru. Charles had a very difficult time to find a job in Peru, so they decided he better go back to the US to be able to work and support the family. Ada and her kids have now been separated from their dad for 3 years, and all Ada dreams of is for the family to be reunited in the US. Find out more about this heartbreaking story in the video.

About the food

Causa rellena is a dish that is very typical Peru. History tells us that this dish was born 140 years ago during the Pacific war. The filling of the causa rellena can vary a lot, and I guess you just fill it with the stuff you like best. Ada made a filling with tuna and vegetables. I really like the potatoes that get a fresh taste from the lime, together with the creamy filling.

Causa rellena tastes best when it’s semi-cold, prepare it one day in advance and let it rest in the fridge during the night. Take it out 15 minutes before you eat it to let it become a bit more room temperatured before you eat it. Perfect to serve during a party since you can prepare everything the day before! Causa rellena can be served as a starter or as a side dish.

In Peru they use a yellow potato for this dish, but it’s totally fine to use any other potato as long as it’s suitable for mashing. They have more than 4000 different potatoes in Peru, and I guess that wherever you are, you’ll probably have fewer choices than that. If you use a normal white potato, you can color it yellow with turmeric. Use either fresh turmeric or the dried one.

Next link in the chain

I´m staying in Lima for one episode more, this time I will go home to Pablo who lives in the center of Lima together with his wife Alysa. Amazing food is promised, stay tuned!!

The recipe (the classic Peruvian potato dish causa rellena)

 
 
Ingredients

6 portions, if served as a main course

Home-made yellow hot pepper sauce:
1 orange or yellow hot pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic

The mashed potatoes:
1,4 kg yellow potatoes or ordinary, suitable for mashing
2 tsp dried turmeric (only if you can’t find yellow potatoes)
3-4 limes
Salt & pepper
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp (or to taste) of home-made yellow hot pepper sauce

The filling:
300 g of canned tuna in oil or water (300g excluding the liquid)
1 tbsp olive oil
5-10 tbsp of mayonnaise (to taste)
2 tbsp chopped coriander, fresh
3 tbsp cooked peas
1 big carrot, boiled & diced
3 eggs, hard-boiled & diced
1 yellow onion, diced

The decoration:
Whatever you like to decorate with =)

 

 

How to

 

Home-made yellow hot pepper sauce:
Blanch the hot pepper in boiling water for 2-5 minutes. Remove the skin and the seeds and mix it in a blender together with olive oil and garlic. Taste it so you know how hot it is (and therefore know your limit for how much you can add to the potatoes).

The mashed potatoes:
You can peel the potatoes before or after you boil them. Boil and mash the potatoes. Make sure it’s smooth with no lumps, preferably use a potato press. Let them cool down to room temperature. Mix the mashed potatoes with 1-2 tbsp of the hot pepper sauce and the rest of the ingredients. If you don’t use yellow potatoes, use the dried turmeric to color the potatoes.

The filling:
Pour the water from the tuna and mash it into smaller pieces. Rinse the diced onion in water, place in a colander and let drain. We rinse the onion for it to be milder in taste and smell. In a bowl, mix the tuna and the onion with the rest of the ingredients.

The putting together:
You can choose if you want to make one big causa rellena, or if you want to serve them in portions.

If you want to serve them in portions, use a cookie cutter circle.

Butter it in oil first to make it easier to remove the cookie cutter once your causa rellena is ready. Add one layer of potatoes inside of the cookie cutter, press it until its flat, add a layer of the filling, press it and add the last layer of potatoes. If you want it perfectly flat you can put some potatoes between a baking sheet and roll with a rolling pin, and then use the cookie cutter to make a perfect circle. Remove the cookie cutter and repeat. This time you don’t lift the cookie cutter circle, but remove the potatoes from the outside of the cookie cutter, add some filling and then add the circle of potatoes you made first on top of the filling. Tada, you have a perfectly shaped causa rellena!

If you are making one big causa, place half of the potatoes in the bottom of your tray (20x30 cm). Continue by placing your filling and then finish with the rest of the potatoes. Look at the technique Ada is using in the movie, around time 5:00. This helps to prevent the filling from popping up in the wrong places, and the result will be much prettier. Ready!

Decorate it in a pretty way, making it look delicious. Use your imagination here, you can use eggs, avocado, cilantro, lime, or whatever you can think of!

If you are patient enough, put your causa rellena in the fridge waiting it to be a bit cold. It tastes better when served a bit cold, but it’s also okay to eat at room temperature. If you had the patient to let it cool down to the same temperature as the fridge, take it out 15 minutes before you eat it to let it become a bit more room temperatured.

Svenskt recept / swedish recipe (klassisk potatisrätt causa rellena från Peru)

 
 
 
 
Ingredienser

6 portioner, serverad som huvudrätt

Hemmagjord chilisås:
1 orange eller gul chili
3 msk olivolja
1 vitlöksklyfta

Potatismoset:
1,4 kg gul potatis alt. vanlig, lämplig till mos (tex King Edward)
2 tsk torkad gurkmeja (bara om du inte kan hitta gul potatis)
3-4 limes
Salt & peppar
4 msk olivolja
2 msk (eller önskad mängd) hemmagjord gul chilisås

Fyllningen:
300 g tonfisk i burk (i vatten eller olja, avrunnen vikt)
1 msk olivolja
5-10 msk majonäs (önskad mängd)
2 msk hackad färsk koriander
3 msk kokta gröna ärtor
1 stor morot, kokt och hackad
3 ägg, hårdkokta och hackade
1 gul lök, hackad

Dekoration:
Vad du än önskar dekorera med =)

 

 

 

Så här gör du

 

Hemmagjord chilisås:
Blanchera chilin i kokande vatten i 2-5 minuter. Ta bort skalet och fröna och mixa slät i en mixer tillsammans med olivolja och vitlök. Smaka av så att du vet hur stark den är (och därmed vet du hur mycket du kan blanda i potatisen).

Potatismoset:
Skala potatisen antingen innan eller efter du kokar den. Koka och mosa potatisen. Se till att det inte finns några klumpar i potatismoset, använd förslagsvis en potatispress. Låt potatisen svalna tills rumstemperatur. Blanda ned 1-2 msk av chilisåsen i den pressade potatisen tillsammans med resten av ingredienserna. Om du inte använde dig av gul potatis, färga potatisen gul genom att lägga ned den torkade gurkmejan.

Fyllningen:
Häll av vattnet från tonfisken och mosa den med en gaffel. Skölj av den tärnade löken i vatten, lägg i ett durkslag och låt rinna av. Vi sköljer löken för att den ska bli mildare i smak och lukt. Blanda tonfisken med löken och resten av ingredienserna.

Montering:
Du kan antingen göra din causa rellena i en stor form, eller i portionsformar.

Om du vill göra dem i portionsformar, använd en cirkulär kakform.

Smörj kakformen med olja för att göra det lättare att lyfta av formen från din färdiga causa rellena. Fyll kakformen med ett lager av potatis, pressa ut så att det blir platt, tillsätt ett lager av fyllning, pressa platt. Avsluta med ytterligare ett lager med potatis. Om du vill ha potatismoset helt platt kan du lägga lite potatismos mellan två bakplåtspapper och kavla ut det. Gör sedan en perfekt cirkel med hjälp av kakformen, lyft bort kakformen och upprepa. Den här gången låter du kakformen vara kvar medan du tar bort potatisen från utsidan av kakformen.Fyll på med fyllning och lägg sedan till cirkeln med potatismos du gjorde först ovanpå fyllningen. Tada, och  du har en perfekt formad causa rellena!

Om du gör den i en stor form; tryck ut hälften av potatismoset i botten av formen. Fortsätt med att lägga ett jämnt lager av fyllningen och avsluta med resten av potatismoset. Ada använder en särskild teknik för att göra det här, du kan se den ca 5:00 minuter in i filmen. Tekniken förebygger att fyllningen poppar ut på fel ställen och slutresultatet kommer bli mycket finare.

Dekorera din causa rellena. Använd din fantasi här, du kan använda dig av ägg, avokado, koriander, lime eller vad du nu önskar.

Om du har tillräckligt med tålamod, ställ din färdiga causa rellena i kylen och vänta på att den ska bli någorlunda kall då den smakar bättre då. Om den är helt kylskåpstempererad, ta då ut den 15 minuter innan för att låta den bli aningen varmare. Om du inte har ett sånt tålamod att vänta på att den skall bli kall så går det också bra att äta den rumstempererad.

 

Do you have any questions about this recipe? 

Don’t be shy, just ask me and I will answer as soon as possible. Maybe you have cooked it and want to share your thoughts about it? Go ahead, I’d love to get in contact with you 🙂

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