Posted on | March 16, 2011 | 6 Comments
Anywhere you go in Peru, (well, everywhere I’ve been so far!) you’ll find that you’re never far from a chifa.
What is a chifa? It’s a Chinese restaurant! “Chifa” is also the word used for Chino-Peruvian food in general. It comes from the Chinese “chi fan” which I’m told means “eat rice”.
The chifa restaurants were originally started around the middle of the 19th century by Chinese immigrants, mostly centered around Calle Capon in downtown Lima, near the city’s central market. It’s no surprise then, that this area is still the Barrio Chino, or Chinatown, of Lima.
These restaurants offered traditional Chinese dishes, but out of necessity, they used several Peruvian ingredients. It wasn’t long before Peruvians as well as Chinese were enjoying the delicious flavor – and very reasonable prices – of the chifa restaurants. Currently, you can find chifas in every region of Peru, and the food is one of the most popular restaurant foods in the country.
One of the most popular dishes is simple fried rice – or as it’s called here, arroz chaufa. Arroz chaufa usually comes with pork, chicken or seafood. The recipe I’m sharing with you today has pork, but you can easily substitute an equivalent portion of chicken or shrimp.
- 1/2 kg (1 lb) roast pork, cut in small cubes
- 4 eggs
- vegetable oil for cooking (sesame oil is a great choice for this)
- 1 tbsp minced garlic (3 cloves)
- 2 tbsp grated ginger (called kion in Peru)
- 4 cups of cooked rice
- 1/4 cup of chopped chives or green onion (cebolla china)
- 1/4 cup of soy sauce (sillao)
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce (salsa de ostión)
- Beat the eggs and fry them, sort of omelet style. You don’t want big fluffy or creamy eggs, but more of a flat tortilla sort of fried egg. Cut them up into bite size pieces and set aside.
- Heat a wok with 4 tbsp of oil and stir fry the pork over high heat until golden.
- Add the garlic and ginger, saute together a couple of minutes more.
- Add the rice, salt and pepper to taste, and more oil if needed. Saute together until well mixed.
- Add the previously scrambled eggs, chives, soy sauce and oyster sauce. Stir fry until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
It’s important that you have all your ingredients ready before you start – this recipe moves fast once you get going.
Have you been to a chifa restaurant in Peru? I love Kam Lu Wonton the best – how about you?
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