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Print this Recipe    There are several versions of the dish in Peru, Ocopa de Camarones

being the most famous. This is definitely an aquired taste, so be
forewarned. The specific ingredients are also kind of hard to find
(in some places?), but here we go anyway.

Ocopa Antigua de Arequipa(8 servings)
-------------------------
Aprox. 2 lbs. medium potatoes
1 lb. onion, diced
6 Yellow Ajis (peruvian), de-seeded or not, your call.
1 Huacatay sprig (This is Tagetes minuta, or mexican marigolg), no
substitution
1 lb. Anejo cheese (has to be a hard cheese, I don't know if you
could use parmesan), or you can use queso fresco, or maybe even a
good cottage or feta cheese. Experiment!.
1 cup milk
1/2 lb. toasted peanuts
4 Mirasol chiles
salt
oil or lard (not too much)


Boil the potatoes. Fry the mirasols, trying to toast them well but
not burn them, same thing with the onions and yellow ajis. Put
everything into blender, adding the cheese and thinning a little
with the milk. You don't want it runny, but a medium-thick sauce.
Coarsely chop the peanuts, in a mortar, food processor or even the
blender. Add it to the sauce along with the huacatay, blend well,
correct the seasoning with salt, and add oil to taste.
Serve the thick sauce over the potatoes and, Buen Apetito!

Note: The combination of the chiles with the peanut and cheese is
enhanced with the distinguishable taste of the huacatay, and again,
there are no substitutes IMHO, for this herb.

Now for a variation,

Ocopa de Camarones (Shrimp Ocopa) 10 servings.
---------------------------------

Boil 2 lbs. potatoes. On another pot, briefly boil 1 lb. shrimp and
peel them. On another pan, sautee 6 cloves of garlic, and 1 lb.
diced onions with 6 yellow Ajis. When golden brown, put in blender
along with 1/2 lb. sweet cookies (animal cookies are what they use,
believe it or not), 1 lb crumbled cheese, milk to thin, and brasil
nuts (tipical), or chestnuts, or the nut that you like. Blend
everything with the huacatay, season with salt and oil to taste.
Serve over the potatoes and put shrimp on top.
Last but not least,

Ocopa Lime~a (Limean Ocopa) 10 servings.
---------------------------
Boil 2 lbs. potatoes. On another pan, sautee 6 cloves of garlic, and
1 lb. diced onions with 6 yellow Ajis. When golden brown, put in
blender along with 1/4 lb. sweet cookies (animal cookies are what
they use, believe it or not), 1/8 lb crumbled cheese, milk to thin,
and peanuts, brasil nuts, or chestnuts, or the nut that you like.
Blend everything with the huacatay, season with salt and oil to
taste. Serve over the potatoes and put shrimp on top.

All this dishes can be garnished with lettuce leaves, quartered hard
eggs and tomatoes.

Enjoy!


Ray Orosz
a004075t@bcfreenet.seflin.lib.fl.us

Now my comments:

First, thanks Ray!

Second, my understanding is that in Peru they use a yellow potato that
isn't widely available here. Since I don't have garden space to grow it
anyway (too many peppers), I substitute Yukon Gold potatoes, which my
local grocery store carries.

Third, "aji" means simply "chile pepper", but the specific variety called
for, aji amarillo, usually refers to C. Baccatum, var. pendulum. This is
a moderately sized pepper, 4"-6" in length, with a fruity taste and a
clear, searing heat. Yellow habs or scotch bonnets could be substituted
if you don't have ajis.

Fourth, huatacay can be obtained from "Seeds of Change" or "Richter's".
In other cookbooks I've seen turmeric called for as a substitute, but
this imparts only the yellow color, not the taste, of the real thing.

Lastly, the step where you fry the onions and peppers is the one to watch
out for...this is when you're likely to fumigate your house with chile
gas, so be prepared to cry.

Enjoy!

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