Today I felt like eating something quick to make and that I could share with you guys as well. I didn’t have a classic Peruvian Fried Rice recipe on the blog so I thought “THIS IS MY CHANCE”. This traditional Peruvian Fried Rice or “Arroz Chaufa” is delicious and comes together very quickly. I love its flavours and I could eat a whole bucket of it.
The origin of arroz chaufa (Peruvian fried rice)
Peruvian Fried Rice (Arroz Chaufa) is our version of Chinese Fried Rice. It came about because there was a large influx of Chinese immigrants to Peru between the late 19th century and the 20th century. Since Chinese immigration, both Peruvian cuisine and Chinese cuisine have collided to create a new style of food we call “Chifa cuisine”, a Chinese-Peruvian fusion cuisine. Chifa restaurants are everywhere in Perú and we really enjoy these dishes with a heavy Chinese influence. This arroz chaufa recipe is a great example of this food and it’s one that’s completely incorporated in home menus around Perú as a one-dish meal. In that home-cooked version, many even add hot dogs along with the chicken! In general, we can serve Peruvian Fried Rice as a side dish or as a main dish. It’s a great recipe to use up cooked rice from the day before! Another one of the Peruvian dishes that’s very well known and has Chinese influence is Lomo Saltado, which is more similar to a stir fry. Peruvian food is great on its own accord, but the result of mixing it with other cultures really makes all flavours pop.
Peruvian Fried Rice (Arroz Chaufa) has many simple ingredients; they’re all very common and easy to find. Since it’s in the spirit of this recipe to use leftovers or even whatever’s in your fridge about to go bad, you can definitely get creative with it.
- Cooked rice: As I said before, to make Peruvian Fried Rice (Arroz Chaufa) we need cooked rice. We use long-grain rice in most of our recipes. Ideally, you want to cook the white rice the day before or even use leftover rice from the previous day. That makes the rice have a more separate structure as you sautée it.
- Egg omelette: We make a simple egg omelette of beaten eggs with salt and pepper. We cook the omelette in a small pan with a bit of oil on both sides and then cut it up into small chunks. This gets added to the chaufa at the end.
- Vegetable oil: In general, in Chinese cuisine, you use vegetable oil. This is especially true when working over high heat. Since it has a lower smoking point, it’s perfect for this recipe.
- Chicken: You can use skinless chicken breast, filets or even skinless chicken thighs cut into cubes. Personally, I prefer chicken breast for this recipe.
- Salt and pepper: Even considering the saltiness of the soy sauce, we season the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Green onions/spring onions: We use both the white part and the green pat. We sautée the white part with the bell pepper and the green part is incorporated at the end.
- Garlic: Garlic has to be present here, it adds the perfect flavour punch.
- Ginger root: Along with the garlic, we add grated ginger to this preparation. This combination of garlic and ginger never fails!
- Red bell pepper: the red pepper adds a pop of colour to the Peruvian Fried Rice (Arroz Chaufa) but also of course lots of flavour. It gets sautéed along with the white part of the green onions.
- Soy sauce: Soy sauce adds flavour, that delicious salty umami and also a very attractive colour.
- Oyster sauce: It’s optional but it adds a lovely shine to the rice plus its particular flavour.
- Sesame oil: I love to add a dash of sesame oil at the end and prefer toasted sesame oil from the regular version.
Tips for a great Arroz Chaufa (Peruvian fried rice) with Chicken
It’s not at all difficult to prepare Arroz Chaufa (Peruvian Fried Rice) but with a few tips, you can go from an average-tasting dish to a spectacular one. Here are my favourite tips:
- Day-old rice: As I mentioned before, it’s ideal to use rice made the day before for this Peruvian Fried Rice Dish. Freshly-made rice has a lot more moisture and it’s stickier than when you refrigerate it overnight. With the day-old rice, you will get looser rice grains that let all the flavours shine through.
- About the omelette: Be careful not to overcook the egg omelette. I like to make it over high heat in a small frying pan with a bit of oil. I let it become golden on both sides without drying the centre. If you dry it up too much it won’t be that nice to encounter those bits.
- Avoid dry chicken: Many times we overcook chicken in fear of the bacteria it’s prone to, making it get dry. In this case, for example, I recommend to avoid cutting the chicken too small. Also, it’s very important to preheat the wok or large skillet nicely before adding the chicken. This will allow the chicken pieces to become golden brown without drying up. Remember that the chicken then goes back into the pan with the rice, so it doesn’t matter if it’s not completely cooked at first.
- Flavour tip: Once everything except the egg and green part of the green onions is in the pan, flatten down the rice a bit and leave it still for 2-3 minutes and then mix. This makes the rice at the base become golden brown and slightly crispy. You will repeat this about 6 times to add a lot more flavour to your Arroz Chaufa.
This Arroz Chaufa with Chicken (Peruvian Fried Rice) is one of the easiest recipes to vary as you please. Here are a few options you can consider depending on what’s available in your fridge or pantry:
- Protein: You can switch the protein in the dish, changing the chicken for beef, pork, shrimp and fish. You can also skip the main protein altogether for a vegetarian version of this Arroz Chaufa.
- Rice: Instead of making this chaufa rice with white rice you can use whole-grain rice. Another option that’s delicious and I’ve made before here in my blog is Quinoa Chaufa.
- Egg: I have to say that, personally, I prefer to serve my Peruvian Fried Rice (Arroz Chaufa) with a fried egg instead of the more classic omelette. There’s nothing that compares to a river of egg yolk!
- Vegetables: You can add sautéed vegetables such as mushrooms, courgette/zucchini, broccoli, cabbage, etc. Get creative with what you have to make the most of it. My personal favourite additional veggies are mushrooms.
Peruvian Fried Rice (Arroz Chaufa) with Chicken
For the rice
- 1 cup long-grain rice
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1¼ cup water
For the egg omelette
- Vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- Salt and pepper
For the fried rice
- Vegetable oil
- 500 g chicken breasts or filets
- Salt and pepper
- 3 spring onions / green onions only the white part, thinly sliced
- 3 spring onions / green onions only the green part, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves finely grated or chopped
- 10 g ginger peeled and finely grated
- ½ red bell pepper in small cubes
- Rice from above
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce optional but recommended
- 1 tbsp sesame oil optional but recommended
For the rice
- **If you have rice leftover from another meal, now's the time to use it! You will need 2 cups of cooked rice**
- Preheat a small pot to medium heat. Add the oil and rice and stir for one minute.
- Add the water and when it breaks into a boil, reduce the heat and place a lid on it. Let it cook for 15-20 minutes or until there's no water left.
For the omelette
- Mix the eggs with salt and pepper.
- Preheat a small 20cm/8in pan to medium-high heat.
- Spread a bit of vegetable oil on the base of the pan and pour the eggs in.
- Let it cook until it looks about halfway done. Flip it and let it cook for a few extra seconds. Try to avoid drying it up.
- Chop the omelette up into squares.
For the fried rice
- Preheat a wok or pan to high heat.
- Drizzle a bit of vegetable oil and add enough chicken to cover the base of the pan. If you add more it won't become golden. Leave the chicken still so that it can become golden on one side, a couple minutes. Flip it and let them become golden on all sides. Then remove them and repeat with the rest of the chicken. Reserve them.
- Still on high heat, add approximately one teaspoon of vegetable oil, the white part of the spring onion and the red bell pepper. Cook them mixing every once in a while until they turn golden brown.
- Add the ginger and garlic and cook them for 30 seconds while stirring to prevent them from burning.
- Add the rice, chicken, soy sauce, oyster sauce and sesame oil (still on high heat) and mix.
- Now we're going to fry the rice a bit so the flavours evolve further. For this reason, you want to flatten the rice and leave it still for 2-3 minutes so a crust forms, then stir to combine. Repeat this about 6 times.
- Add the green part of the spring onion and the omelette and stir. Serve immediately.