Arroz Chaufa (aka Peruvian fried rice) is a Peruvian-Chinese fusion dish known as "Chifa." Like Chinese fried rice, it's a perfect way to use leftover rice, and customizable for dietary preferences. This Peruvian fried rice with seafood recipe is a healthy, gluten free, one pot meal that you can make in 30 minutes with leftover rice!
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - What is Arroz Chaufa?
The cuisine of Peru is truly a "melting pot." The Colonial Spanish introduced food like rice, wheat, beef, pork, and chicken. Restaurants and cafés all over the Andes serve pizza and beef noodle soup with a Peruvian twist. You'll find dishes with Japanese influence (Nikkei) like ceviche and tuna tartare, and Chinese (Chifa) influence like pollo saltado.
Recently, I worked on this simple Peruvian rice, so I've been trying to use lots of leftover rice. I did do a traditional Asian fried rice with some of it, and I've done a quinoa chaufa (so the ingredients and method were already laid out). It seemed a logical next step to do an arroz chaufa recipe.
Arroz chaufa - or Peruvian fried rice - is a Chifa dish. In other words, it is a Peruvian-Chinese fusion. You'll see the Chinese influence in the method (stir-fried), and in the soy sauce/ginger/sesame oil combination. The Peruvians contribute the ground cumin, the ají amarillo paste, and the cilantro. Of course both cuisines LOVE their rice!
I provide the ingredients and method for the basic chaufa, and include a list of variations/proteins below. Yes, hot dogs are a common ingredient in Peruvian fried rice. I have not tried it (nor will I!), but you're welcome to give it a go! 😆
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- eggs - I use 1 egg per 2 servings. You can use more or less to suit your family's preferences.
- protein - On photo day, I used large Gulf shrimp, and it's sooooooo good! You really can use any cooked or uncooked protein.
- rice - Arroz chaufa is a great way to use leftover Peruvian rice or plain white rice.
- onion - I keep red, yellow, and sweet onions on hand, as well as shallots. I like either the shallots or red onion for this fried rice. By all means use what you have on hand.
- garlic - For weeknight cooking, I usually reach for my jar of minced garlic, but not always. The choice is yours.
- vegetables - I usually use a bell pepper and English peas - either fresh or frozen. You can use your favorites, but keep in mind cooking time. You want crisp-tender vegetables that cook fairly quickly. Sugar snap or snow peas are good too!
- soy sauce - Tamari soy sauce is my "go to" for Asian food. It is naturally gluten free (but check the label!), and we love the extra umami flavor it brings.
- sesame oil
- ground cumin
- ají amarillo paste - Most arroz chaufa recipes do not call for ají amarillo paste, but we like a little heat.
- garnishes - I like cilantro and scallions.
See recipe card for quantities. 😀
- Cook the scrambled eggs - Heat the wok or skillet to very hot. Spray with a bit of oil. Pour in the whisked eggs, and reduce the heat. Flip when the egg starts to set on top. Give it another minute or two, then remove from the wok, and set aside. Chop coarsely. Wipe the wok of any egg residue.
- Stir-fry the aromatics - Add a bit of oil and sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, and cumin, optional ají amarillo paste, and shallot or onion. Stir continuously 30-60 seconds being careful to not burn the garlic.
- Stir-fry the rice and bell pepper - Add the rice and bell pepper strips to the pan. This is a basic stir-fry drill. Don't crowd the wok. If you're doing a large amount of rice, do it in batches. The order isn't terribly important. You want crisp-tender vegetables, and this takes 3 to 4 minutes. Remove and set aside. Wipe out the wok or pan if necessary.
- Stir-fry the protein - Add a little bit more oil or spray to the pan, and cook over high heat. Try to get a good sear before stirring. The shrimp don't need more than 1-2 minutes depending on how hot the pan is. The time will vary according to your chosen protein.
- Finish the arroz chaufa - Whisk the soy sauce with remaining sesame oil. Add the peas and scallions, and the rice and bell peppers. Stir in the soy sauce mixture. Lastly, add back in the shrimp (or other protein). Stir to combine, and remove from the heat.
- Serve - Plate the fried rice, garnish with additional chopped scallions, chopped cilantro, and sesame seeds as desired. Enjoy!
- Vegan - Omit the egg. Use tofu, tempeh, or a plant-based "meat" product.
- Vegetarian - Keep the egg, and add tofu, tempeh, or a plant-based "meat" product.
- Deluxe - Use a combination of seafood like scallops, shrimp, and calamari.
- Kid friendly - As I mentioned above, hot dogs in arroz chaufa really are a thing in Peru. Your little ones might love it with cut up hot dogs!
- Chicken - I prefer to start with uncooked boneless, skinless thighs or breast, but a rotisserie chicken is a great time saver. Add it in at the end with the sauces and chopped egg. Cook only until heated through.
Cookware can have a big impact on how successful your chaufa turns out. I have a really nice non-stick wok, but I like the results with my large cast iron skillet better. I like how hot it gets, and I always get a better sear on my protein.
Look for a heavy pan with a flat bottom and rounded sides. The old-style round bottomed woks don't make contact with enough of the cooktop surface. Carbon steel is given the highest ratings by professionals, but they're expensive. I recently ordered the wok on the right, and I'll update you later... The cast iron skillet is the one I used in the photos, and I love it!
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💭 Top Tips
Use cooled rice! If you try to use hot cooked rice it will end up being mushy and sticky. Arroz chaufa is a great way to use leftover rice.
If you don’t already have leftover rice to use, then try this: Cook rice and pour it out onto a baking sheet when it’s done. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for 15-20 minutes to allow the rice to cool completely.
It is important to not crowd the wok or skillet. You want to get a little color on the protein and veggies, and keep the rice grains separated.
I prefer cooking my protein separately, and adding everything together at the end. You can, however, choose to use something pre-cooked like rotisserie chicken, smoked pork chops, shredded pork, etc.
Seafood, chicken (either uncooked or rotisserie), hot dogs, pork, beef, alpaca (I dare you to try to find it in the US!), tofu or tempeh, etc. Anything you like stir-fried should work fine!
The short answer is "no." When I make an Asian stir-fry, I add sriracha hot sauce, and I like a little bit of heat. So when I make this Peruvian fried-rice, the ají is a flavorful addition. If you don't want the heat, or don't have it, omit it. It is totally optional!
In an effort to meal plan and reduce waste, I am trying to plan ahead. I mentioned that I had a lot of leftover rice from a recent photo shoot, and this chaufa recipe is a great way to use it. Keep in mind the versatility of this recipe with both proteins and veggies. I hope you'll give it a try!
Arroz Chaufa (Peruvian Fried Rice)
- 2 cups cooked long grain white rice - I like basmati
- 3 teaspoons vegetable oil - divided use
- 3 teaspoons sesame oil - divided use
- 2 eggs - whisked vigorously
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger - minced
- 1 teaspoon garlic - minced (about 3 cloves)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ají amarillo paste - optional; add more or less to taste
- 1 sweet bell pepper - cut in strips or chopped
- 12 ounces shrimp (or other protein) - see post for more information
- 1 cup English peas
- 3 scallions - chopped
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce - I like tamari
- cilantro, scallions, sesame seeds - for garnish
- Heat the wok or skillet to very hot. Add a bit of the oil or spray with cooking spray. Pour in the whisked eggs, and reduce the heat. Flip when the egg starts to set on top. Remove from the pan. Chop coarsely. Wipe the wok of any egg residue.
- Add a bit of the oil and sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, and cumin, optional ají amarillo paste, and shallot or onion. Stir continuously 30-60 seconds being careful to not burn the garlic.
- Add the rice and bell pepper strips to the pan. Stir-fry until bell pepper is crisp-tender (3 to 4 minutes). Remove and set aside. Wipe out the wok or pan if necessary.
- Add a little bit more oil or spray to the pan, and cook over high heat. Stir-fry your protein. The time will vary according to your chosen protein.
- Whisk the soy sauce with remaining sesame oil. Add the peas and scallions, and the rice and bell peppers. Stir in the soy sauce mixture. Lastly, add back in the shrimp (or other protein). Stir to combine, and remove from the heat.
- Plate the fried rice, garnish with additional chopped scallions, chopped cilantro, and sesame seeds as desired. Enjoy!
NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.