Aguadito (“thin little broth”) is a very traditional Peruvian soup. It’s an incredibly aromatic and flavorful hen soup with sofrito, lots of cilantro, and a kitchen-sink list of ingredients. You may wonder why I’m posting a hot soup recipe, just as summer is getting underway here on the East Coast. Allow me to give a bit of a background explanation.

Peruvians are simply infamous for their partying lifestyle. On holidays and special occasions, the festivities can last well into the night – and often extend into the following day! Their drinking abilities are the stuff of legend. Lima is known as a clubbing and partying mecca that can be overwhelming for pathetic cheap-date lightweights (such as myself).

All those borrachos inevitably find themselves in the same rocky boat: suffering a miserable hangover. Aguadito is a well-known “morning after” cure. It has a splash of “the hair of the dog” and fiery rocoto to restore the body– and the soul – to party-ready condition once more. Revelers also scarf some down in the wee hours, to fuel their all-night carousing; it often makes its welcome appearance at sunrise, just when spirits start to sag. Aguadito helps stricken Peruvians back to their feet – and back to the club – to live and party another day.

Much of Peru is hot much (in some places, all) of the time, which makes a steaming bowl of soup seem counterintuitive. But believe it or not, consuming hot liquid and spice is believed to cool off the body by increasing sweating. Maybe aguadito helps hangover-sufferers to sweat off the alcohol toxins while rehydrating the body and restoring nutrients. Sounds like a working theory to me.

Anyway… this weekend, I’m featuring an assortment of alcoholic beverages; so I thought I would be proactive. Make this soup ahead of time. If you do overindulge, you’ll have a delicious morning-after cure on hand! Aguadito is great for whatever ails you – whether it’s the flu, a hangover… or just hunger.



Aguadito / Peruvian hen soup
Servings Prep Time
8people 30minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
3.5hours 3hours
Servings Prep Time
8people 30minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
3.5hours 3hours
  • 5pounds hen,whole, skin removed
  • 1/4cup vegetable oil
  • 4 1/2quarts water
  • 1large yellow onionrough chop
  • 4cloves garlicpeeled, halved
  • 2medium carrots,rough chop
  • 2stalks celery,rough chop
  • 1/4cup fresh ginger,peeled, sliced (about 1 oz. piece)
  • 1tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/4tsp. white pepper
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 1recipe stock and hen(as above)
  • 1Tbsp. olive oilextra virgin
  • 1/2large red onionsmall dice
  • 3cloves garlicminced
  • 1medium red bell peppersmall dice
  • 12oz. beer, lager(1 bottle)
  • 2medium yellow potatoescut in eighths
  • 1cup white rice,long grain
  • 1ear choclo or white corn,cut in
  • 1cup white hominy,drained (optional)
  • 1cup green peasfresh or frozen and defrosted
  • 1cup cilantrochopped
  • 1Tbsp. rocoto paste
  • 2tsp. Kosher salt(to taste)
  1. Gather / measure / prep ingredients.
  2. Thoroughly rinse hen with cold water; remove giblets. If blanching, do so now. Cool, then remove skin.
  3. Cut hen into pieces; remove the back portion and reserve for another use. Season chicken with the salt and pepper.
  4. Heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat; brown chicken on both sides. Remove from pot.
  5. Sauté onions until they just begin to color (3-4 minutes). Add carrots, and cook another 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and ginger; cook 1-2 minutes more.
  6. Lay hen on top of mirepoix vegetables. Fill pot with enough water to cover hen. Add the celery and bay leaves.
  7. Bring to a boil; then cover (but allow to vent slightly). Reduce to a low simmer.
  8. Cook until meat begins to fall off the bone (3 to 3 ½ hours). Skim scum and oil occasionally.
  9. When tender, remove hen from stock; cool. Remove the skin and shred the meat by hand.
  10. Strain stock into a separate pot. Return stock to a simmer.
  1. While stock is simmering, prepare soup mise en place.
  2. Heat olive oil in original pot; sauté red onions until translucent.
  3. Add red pepper, rocoto paste and garlic; sauté 2-3 minutes more.
  4. Deglaze with beer. Scrape bottom with wooden spoon to release the fond (the flavorful film stuck to the bottom of the pot). Cook until the alcohol is evaporated.
  5. Add the stock to the pot; bring to a simmer.
  6. Add potatoes and rice; cook until potatoes are tender and rice is al dente (about 15 minutes). Stir occasionally.
  7. Add corn; cook until just tender, about 10 minutes.
  8. Add the minced cilantro and reserved chicken pieces; cook another 2-3 minutes.
  9. Taste; adjust salt and pepper, if necessary. Ladle soup into deep serving bowls; be sure to place a potato and a piece of choclo in each.
Recipe Notes

It may help to briefly blanch the hen in hot water to help remove the tough skin.

The hen makes a great deal of meat, even without the back. If you prefer more broth, only add half of the shredded hen; save the remainder for another purpose (like ají de gallina).


You can substitute pre-made chicken stock, and use already-cooked chicken (i.e. leftover roast, etc.).

You can also substitute a whole chicken for the hen; however, the stock cooking time will be shortened significantly (1 ½ to 2 hours).

This soup can also be made with turkey (aguadito de pavo). Replace the hen meat with 5 pounds of turkey (breast, leg and wing). Follow the recipe as is.


Copyright © 2011 la vida comida.

Recipe by Jennifer Ramos Lorson.