My Life in Peru

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

Arroz Tapado

Posted on | April 12, 2011 | 5 Comments

Mi arroz tapado

Image by m i c a via Flickr

Arroz tapado is one of those dishes that is just so simple, and so satisfying that you want to eat it all the time. The name literally means “covered rice” in Spanish. The dish is made with cooked rice that’s molded into layers with seasoned beef.  It’s another one of those “comfort foods” that everyone likes to go home to Mom’s house for.

This recipe is the Peruvian style, but I would imagine that once you have the basic idea, you could use any kind of seasoned meat as the filling, and turn this Peruvian dish into something that’s your own!

By the way – this recipe requires a rice mold (as you can see from the picture), but you can make do with a deep cereal bowl.  You can actually make this in any shape you like – I have a star shaped mold.  You want the mold to be about 2-3 inches deep to allow nice layering.


  • 3 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 cup finely diced onion
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
  • 1 tbsp aji panca paste
  • 1 aji amarillo, de-seeded and de-veined, finely diced
  • 1 medium sized tomato, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 kg (1 lb) beef loin – finely chopped or ground beef is fine – use the leanest you can find!
  • 1 tsp cumin (comino)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 50 grams (about 2 ounces) plumped raisins*
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, coarsely chopped
  • 5-6 black olives, chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup beef broth or stock
  • 3 cups of cooked rice


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and saute until it starts to turn golden brown.
  2. Add the garlic, aji panca, aji amarillo and tomato, then cook together for about 3-4 minutes
  3. Add the beef, cumin and oregano, then cook together over low heat until the beef is browned – season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add the raisins, the chopped egg, the olives (if desired) and the beef broth. Mix well, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  5. Put a very light coat of oil on your rice mold. Put a portion of rice into the mold, then put a layer of the meat mixture, and follow that with another layer of the rice. Press it into the mold well so that it sticks together.
  6. Put a plate on top of the mold, then flip the plate and mold over so that the rice comes out on the plate.

Here’s a video – it’s a little long, but the end shows how to do the mold properly.  Watch it all if you like, or skip to 5:20 to see the plating.


*Let the raisins plump while you cook the rest of the stuff by putting them in a glass bowl and covering with boiling water before you get started. Let them sit until you’re ready to use them.

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5 Responses to “Arroz Tapado”

  1. Samantha Bangayan
    April 12th, 2011 @ 18:30

    Omigoodness! This looks delish! =) A friend was teaching me how to make sustancia yesterday and I was captivated by seasoned beef part of it. I wanted to make just that with rice and what do you know — you’ve made a more artistic (and probably yummier) version of it! Thanks for the recipe and for the video! =) Do you have a cooking show too? =)
    Samantha Bangayan´s last blog post ..Waterless Days

  2. Kelly
    April 12th, 2011 @ 18:34

    Ha – if I ever go back to the US, maybe that’s what I should do – Cookin’ Peru with Kelly. 😉 Glad you like the recipe.

    You notice – the beef mixture in this recipe is basically the same filling that’s in empanadas and papa rellena.

  3. Maria
    April 19th, 2011 @ 16:06

    Kelly, from Food Network…that is your name now. Arroz tapado changed its name in my house to Surprise Rice. Hey, I needed to keep my kids excited about food. We even decorated the top of the rice with Parsleys like little trees or some peruvian boiled corn (the large prehistoric one, as per my hubby) to simulate little rocks on top of the mountain of rice. They ate everything!

  4. Kelly
    April 19th, 2011 @ 17:45

    Haha! Love the “prehistoric” corn!

  5. Luis
    May 13th, 2012 @ 20:57

    hmm at my house we always called it arroz relleno

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    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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