Tacu Tacu / Peruvian Rice Cakes

The Spanish nobility of the Viceroyalty of Peru had an immense variety of both Spanish and Peruvian indigenous ingredients to work with, and the money and leisure time to experiment with them.

These wealthy Spaniards brought African slaves, who in turn brought their own foods and cooking techniques. As they worked in the Viceroyalty kitchens, African cooks blended their own food culture with the Creole cuisine of the European Spaniards, as well as the indigenous Peruvians’ cuisine (which varied, depending on the region). Many of the recipes that comprise Peruvian cuisine today were created through this cultural fusion. Further, the African cooks found clever ways to use leftovers and less desirable cuts of meat. Tacu tacu is a perfect example of the ingenuity and creativity that Africans brought to Peruvian food culture. Their influence on the evolution of Peruvian cuisine cannot be overstated.

Peruvians generally still eat their main meal at midday, and have a very light meal for nighttime supper. Tacu tacu is a tasty way to use up leftovers: leftover rice and bean purée are combined, fried, and topped with an egg (which is soft, so that the runny yolk can break over the tacu tacu, and act as a rich sauce). Occasionally it is eaten as a fuller meal, with a breaded beef cutlet (see the full recipe for tacu tacu con apanado here); but usually, it is simply topped with a fried egg. It is sometimes eaten this way for breakfast as well.

 

Tacu Tacu
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Tacu Tacu
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 cup white rice, long grain
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 Tbsp. butter unsalted
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil extra virgin
  • 15 oz. canary / mayacoba / peruano beans, pre-cooked (see below)
  • 4 oz. pork belly, small dice
  • 1/4 cup ají amarillo paste
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 large eggs
Servings: servings
Instructions
Mise en Place
  1. Gather / measure all ingredients.
Tacu Tacu:
  1. Bring stock and butter to a boil; add the rice, cover, and reduce to low heat. Cook the rice for approximately 15 minutes, or until just tender. Fluff with fork, then set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, sauté the pork belly until golden and rendered. Do not drain fat from pan. Remove pork with a slotted spoon.
  3. Add olive oil to pan; when hot, add onion, and sauté for 4-5 minutes (until golden and caramelized, but still soft). If the onions become dry, do not add any more oil; add a bit of water.
  4. Add the garlic; sauté for 2-3 minutes more. Add the ají amarillo paste; sauté 1-2 more minutes. Add beans, and cook 3-4 more minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. Add the pork back to the mixture. Crush the mixture with a large spoon to make a paste, then set aside to cool. When cool, add the rice, and mix well.
  6. Form patties; usually these are the size of a large oblong pancake. (If you like, you can make them the size of a risotto cake or crabcake.)
  7. Fry in about ¼” of oil. Take care in turning; use a fish spatula (with a second spatula if necessary), and gently flip. Remove from oil; place on plate in warming oven.
Garnish / Serving:
  1. Fry egg sunny-side up in remaining oil. Place egg on top of tacu tacu, and serve with salsa criolla on the side.
Recipe Notes

Follow your favorite recipe for cooking dry beans. You can also substitute 1 15-oz. can of cannellini or white northern beans, drained and rinsed, for the canary beans.

For a vegetarian version of tacu tacu, omit the pork belly and use vegetable stock for the rice.

For a vegan version, use vegan stock, and omit the pork belly, butter, and egg. Add olive oil to the rice, and fry with vegetable oil. Top with your favorite salsa, avocado slices, and / or a dash of ají amarillo paste.

This is the scratch version, but it is intended for leftover rice and beans of any kind. Just mash the beans, combine with rice, and follow the instructions above for frying. Feel free to experiment!

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Copyright © 2011 la vida comida.

Recipe by Jennifer Ramos Lorson.