Saturday, September 21, 2013


Best Blog Tips

My father, Alejandro Jaime Urbina (photo below), was Peruvian, so I have "veganized" over 30 well-known Peruvian dishes-- several of them are in my last book, "World Vegan Feast"

The following recipe, from an earlier book of mine, "20 Minutes to Dinner", is loosely adapted from the well-known Peruvian dish, Arroz con Pato, which is very similar to the ubiquitous Spanish Arroz con Pollo, but without the tomatoes. It's also a little spicier, and I like the Peruvian addition of a dark beer as part of the liquid.

Peruvian food is unique and delicious-- a cultural mix of native Indian, Spanish, African, Italian, Chinese and, more recently, Japanese cooking.

(You can see photos of many of the Peruvian dishes I've "veganized" at this link-- and you don't need a Facebook account to see the photos!)

The affluent eat meat daily, but the poor eat a mostly vegetarian diet (except for the ubiquitous lard!) based on Peruvian staples: potatoes, peppers, peanuts, corn, squash, sweet potatoes, beans, and sometimes quinoa. (We were never served quinoa when we stayed in Peru for 3 months many years ago— only rice, which the Spanish introduced and which is served daily, even with potatoes!) If you are interested in the story of quinoa, the Inca "Mother Grain", which was banned by the Conquistadors, but is now making a “comeback”, here is an article to read.

PS: If you have heard that eating quinoa is hurting South American farmers, you might want to read this.

Peruvian cuisine is not only varied, but can be spicy. However, it's is not nearly as hot as Mexican (the Peruvian pepper sauce, ají, is usually served on the side).  A pepper used frequently in Peru is the “mirasol” (means “look at the sun” because of its yellow color). It is similar to the Caribbean “Scotch bonnet” pepper-- very hot. It is now much easier to obtain mirasol peppers and other Peruvian peppers and food staples in North America.

If you want to read more about Peruvian cooking (not vegetarian, though), read The Art of Peruvian Cuisine" by Tony Cussler. The introduction describes much of the international background to modern Peruvian cuisine.(There's also a Volume 2.)  Other books are "The Art Of South American Cooking" by Felipe Rojas-Lombardi, who was another Peruvian with an Italian mother, like my father, and "TheExotic Kitchens Of Peru" by Copeland Marks, which contains quite a bit of information on the Chinese and Japanese influence on modern Peruvian cooking.

Tony Cussler, writes  “When you sit down to a meal in Peru today, you may not know that you are experiencing the result of a fascinating evolution of foods and cultures. Many Peruvians themselves are only vaguely aware of the unique story of development and adaptation behind the bases of their favorite dishes.”

What I cook is a sort of "Novoandino/
New Peruvian"-style (the use of native ingredients, rescued recipes and innovative dishes), vegan-style.  

Here is an article about Peruvian cuisine :

NOTE: My loosely-adapted version of "Arroz con Pato" virtually omits the handfuls of fresh cilantro which are common in this dish, for the simple reason that my husband hates cilantro.  Add it, by all means, if you like it.

Printable Copy

Serves 6 (Can be GF and/or soy-free; can be fat-free)
From my book "20 Minutes to Dinner".            

NOTE: If you are not on a low fat regimen, you can sauté the 1st  four ingredients in olive oil with a bit of dark sesame oil (my substitute for lard), if you like.  Otherwise, proceed as per instructions.

1 large onion, minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 T. minced fresh, pickled or canned hot peppers (such as aji amarillo, Peruvian yellow hot peppers-- it is sometimes available as a paste)
6 large cloves garlic, minced
2 T. minced fresh cilantro, or more if you really love the stuff! (I use Italian parsley instead because DH doesn’t like cilantro)
1 T. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 cups white basmati, or converted rice
2 c. dark beer, ale, or stout (can be dealcoholized) (See vegan beer, stout, ale directory here.)
1 cups boiling water with enough chicken-style vegan bouillon cubes, powder or paste for 3 cups broth
1 cup frozen peas, thawed and drained
freshly-ground black pepper to taste
PROTEIN (Choose one): 
2 cans Chinese vegetarian "roast duck" (mun chai'ya) (also available in Asian grocery stores and some large supermarkets), rinsed, drained and cut into smaller chunks
2 cups reconstituted Soy Curls or commercial vegan "chicken" strips browned in a non-stick pan
2 cups seitan, or commercial savory baked tofu or tempeh, or other poultry substitute, cut into cubes and browned in a non-stick pan
1 can (or 1 1/2 cups cooked) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 lb. small whole small cremini (brown) mushrooms, browned
1 can (or 1 1/2 cups cooked) corn, drained

In a large heavy skillet or saute pan with a tight lid (can be non-stick), sprayed with oil from a pump sprayer, saute the onion, bell peppers, hot peppers, and garlic until the onion begins to brown a bit. Add water a squirt at a time to keep them from sticking, as needed. Add the cilantro, coriander, and cumin, and stir-fry for a minute. Add the raw rice and stir-fry briefly.  Pour in the beer and the hot water with the bouillon, and the peas, with pepper to taste, plus your Protein choice and any Optional addition you might be using.  Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the rice is done. Toss ingredients and taste for salt and pepper.



Anonymous said...

This rice is spectacular Bryanna and your dad was HOT! ;)

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

He was pretty handsome, wasn't he?