My Life in Peru

An Expat Mom Shares Her Experiences with Peruvian Life, Travel and Food

Arroz Chaufa

Posted on | March 16, 2011 | 6 Comments


Arroz chaufa simple

Image via Wikipedia

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.

Ingredients:

  • 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)

Cooking directions:

  1. 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.
  2. Heat a wok with 4 tbsp of oil and stir fry the pork over high heat until golden.
  3. Add the garlic and ginger, saute together a couple of minutes more.
  4. Add the rice, salt and pepper to taste, and more oil if needed. Saute together until well mixed.
  5. 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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Comments

6 Responses to “Arroz Chaufa”

  1. Alex
    March 16th, 2011 @ 16:03

    Nice picture and explanation of this asian influenced dish. This Arroz Chaufa is best made with rice cooked the day before. I think the Chinese or all kind of asian do this too when they cook “Fried Rice”.
    The last time I was in Lima, I went to Salon Capon in the Centre which was exceptional!
    Regards, alex

  2. Kelly
    March 16th, 2011 @ 17:21

    Absolutely, stir fry is always best when done with day old rice. Thanks for mentioning it!

  3. Samantha Bangayan
    March 23rd, 2011 @ 21:26

    I have a feeling that the word “chaufa” may also derive from “chao fan,” which literally translates to “friend rice.” =P

    I’ll have to try this recipe! =) I’ve never tried chaufa with oyster sauce before. Sounds delish!
    Samantha Bangayan´s last blog post ..A Global Community in the Desert

  4. Kelly
    March 23rd, 2011 @ 21:40

    May be – sounds like another possibility.

  5. Samantha Bangayan
    March 24th, 2011 @ 10:08

    Typo! Sorry! Make that “fried” (not “friend”) rice! A better possibility perhaps? =P
    Samantha Bangayan´s last blog post ..A Global Community in the Desert

  6. Victor Manuel
    November 10th, 2011 @ 13:03

    I’m not chinese neither Tusan but I guess Samantha is right chaufa comes from chau fan = eat rice. And chifa comes from chi fan = to eat, maybe the way our peruvian ancestors heard it just changed the words to made it understandable.
    Victor Manuel´s last blog post ..Episode 19

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    About

    I got tired of life happening while I made other plans, so I quit my job and came to Peru. I live here with my Peruvian husband, two sons, three dogs and various other family members, depending on the weather.


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