Peruvian Chicken and Rice (aka arroz con pollo Peruvian) brings a little Peruvian soul to your table. This flavor-packed one pot meal features ají amarillo (Peruvian yellow chile), and gets its signature green tint from an entire bunch of cilantro. It's a fantastic one pot meal!
Something I learned when I was very young: With cooking, it doesn't matter where you are; you can always cook. You can end up in a small village in Peru where somebody's cooking, take a spoon and taste it, and you might not be too sure what you're eating, but you can taste the soul ind the food. That's what's beautiful with food.~~ Daniel Boulud
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - Peruvian Chicken Recipes
Peruvian cuisine is taking the global food scene by storm. Peruvian haute cuisine is showing up all over the U.S., Spain, London... just to name a few.
Far more exciting, though, is the fact that traditional Peruvian food is becoming more available in neighborhood restaurants, and home cooks are able to find many of the pantry staples required for cooking these wonderful dishes at home. This is a cuisine "whose time has come."
This arroz con pollo Peruvian style is a great introduction to Peruvian cooking. Most non-Peruvian cooks are already familiar with cilantro (right?). The ají amarillo chile paste is likely to be the only unfamiliar ingredient, and it's widely available (at least in the US).
Please keep in mind that it is not my aim to re-create "authentic" Peruvian recipes. I've spent extensive time Peru, I love the cuisine, and I want to bring approachable Peruvian-inspired recipes to non-native home cooks!
🌶 What is Ají Amarillo Chile?
What (if anything) do you know about Peruvian cuisine? I am still learning, but I would like to share my journey with you. I cannot begin to cover it with this post. Today, I'd like to focus on the ají amarillo chile. I once heard a Peruvian say "it tastes like sunshine." The bright yellow-orange chile tastes quite different from a poblano or Hatch green chile.
While the chile can be quite hot, heat is secondary to a warm, fruity, comforting flavor. It's ubiquitous in Peruvian cuisine, and chances are that if you've had Peruvian food, you've tasted ají amarillo.
I love the simplicity of this dish. I keep a jar of ají amarillo paste in my refrigerator, and it's on my well-stocked pantry checklist. Cilantro (important in so many cuisines) is widely available, as is cumin.
Other than the ají amarillo, this dish comes together with ingredients you are probably quite comfortable with and accustomed to using. Well, you may not be accustomed to cooking with beer. (I am 😉 ). If you prefer to keep it that way, feel free to substitute additional chicken broth. A traditional Peruvian arroz con pollo typically includes beer, and I like to use a black lager like Xingu.
📋 Ingredients You'll Need
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.
- olive or coconut oil
- chicken - I use chicken thighs for this one pot dish because they stay moist. Chicken breast tends to be dry. Either bone in or boneless chicken thighs are fine.
- ground cumin
- ají amarillo paste - I have looked at a lot of Peruvian style arroz con pollo recipes that leave out ají amarillo paste. No es bueno! Latin foods markets, and even some grocery stores carry it. You can also order ají amarillo paste online.
- dark beer - Xingu (dark lager) is my preference, but it can be hard to find. Any dark lager is an excellent substitute. If all else fails, Mexican Corona is fine. You want a lager that won't mess with the flavor. You can also omit and replace the liquid with additional broth or stock.
- broth - Chicken broth is my preference, but vegetable broth, or water will be fine.
- red bell pepper
- peas - I love fresh English peas in this dish, but frozen are just fine. If using fresh, add them with the rice.
- long grain rice - I use basmati for any recipes that require long grain rice, but you can use regular long grain rice, jasmine, etc.
- Mis en place (prep) is important with this dish! Gather all ingredients, and have them ready to go in the skillet.
- A slurry of cilantro and broth gives the rice its wonderful flavor! Chop the ends of the cilantro off where the leaves start. Wash well, and pat dry. In a small processor or blender, pulse the cilantro with a bit of water, and set aside.
- Sear the chicken in a bit of hot oil until golden brown; set it aside.
- Add the beer and broth, scraping to loosen the browned bits. Add the chicken back into the pan, along with the vegetables and puréed cilantro/broth mixture, and simmer 5 minutes covered.
- Add the rice and peas. Stir to work the rice down into the liquid. Cover, and reduce heat to a very low simmer. Cook until the rice is done (about 20 minutes) and the liquid is absorbed. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with additional cilantro. covered.
The ají amarillo varies a bit in heat level, so you may wish to taste it before you get started. We love spicy food at Andersen casa, so we use the full 2 tablespoons of chile paste. You may want to start with less.
Traditionally, this dish will be served with Salsa Criolla. It really is a stand alone dish as well.
This dish pairs really well with Brazilian Xingu, or other dark lagered beer such as a doppelbock. It also pairs well with a full-bodied white wine such as a Rhône blend or Chardonnay.
My favorite long grain white rice is basmati. It is not a Peruvian rice. The ratio of rice to liquid for basmati is 1:2. Liquid ratio is important! Make adjustment if you are using a rice that has a different ratio.
No. You can leave it out, and you will still have a delicious one-pot meal, but it won't be Peruvian IMHO.
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I would love to hear your thoughts on this dish... Is it approachable, appealing, a dish you've had before, etc.!
Arroz con Pollo Peruvian Style
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1-2 tablespoons of olive or coconut oil
- 4 boneless - 16-24 ounces, skinless chicken thighs (see notes)
- 1 small onion - chopped
- 1 teaspoon garlic - about 3 cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1-2 tablespoons aji amarillo - (see notes)
- 1 cup dark beer - (see notes) Xingu is perfect!
- 1 cup chicken broth or water
- 2 small carrots - small dice or grated
- 1 small red bell pepper - small dice
- 1 cup petite peas - frozen are fine
- 1 cup long grain rice - basmati, jasmine, etc.
- ½ teaspoon salt
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper - (see notes)
- Chop the ends of the cilantro off where the leaves start. Wash well, and pat dry. In a small processor or blender, pulse the cilantro with a bit of water, and set aside.
- Sear the chicken in a bit of hot oil until golden brown; set it aside.
- Sauté the onion, garlic, cumin, and aji amarillo until the onion is translucent.
- Add the beer and broth, scraping to loosen the browned bits.
- Add the chicken back into the pan, along with the vegetables and puréed cilantro. Simmer 10-15 minutes covered.
- Add the rice, peas, and salt and pepper. Stir to work the rice down into the liquid. Replace the cover, and cook on low heat until rice is done (20 minutes for basmati). Adjust seasoning, and garnish with additional cilantro.
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.
Peruvian and a foodie adding her two cents. I wouldn’t suggest basmati rice. This is a creole dish therefore basmati rice is not a good choice imho
Thank you for your feedback. I do not pretend to write authentic Peruvian recipes. My goal is to bring Peruvian flavors to the American home cook. We may or may not have the type of rice used in Peru. I recommend what I like and can find locally. My sister in law, and a close family friend are Peruvian. They have had, and really enjoyed the dish.
Peruvian cuisine is so incredible; this recipe is a great example. Really takes me back to the Sacred Valley.
As evidenced by my recent decision to focus on Latin America, I agree!
Glory John says
Let me just say, I was not expecting that kind of flavor. I am indian and I cook with a lot of spices so I am used to flavor but this was so tasty. Only thing is I have a layer of burnt rice stuck to the bottom of the pan. Do you have any tips on how to avoid that next time?
Hi there! Thanks for stopping by, and your feedback! I use a very heavy cast iron skillet, and lower the heat to a very low simmer after the liquid boils. The heavy pan and low heat is key, and if you do that, you shouldn't get a burnt layer... I hope you'll try it again! And yes, Peruvian flavors are intense, much like Indian flavors. That's why I love them so much! Merry Christmas!
Glory John says
I used a dutch oven but I think the heat was not at the lowest. Maybe at a 2. I will try to do that next time. Thank you for the quick response. I overate dinner last night. I couldn't just eat a single serving.
Lol. Hoping for the best next time!
I'm from Peru and I actually really love that bottom burnt layer. I add a little bit of oil before simmering so it's tasty. We call it `concolón`
Yay Diego! Your comment makes me happy! Concolon... I will mention this to my Peruvian sister-in-law 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to write. Merry Christmas!
Is there a side dish I can make with this? I want to make this for my sister in law and family but I was wondering if there was something else I can make to serve as a side dish with this. Thanks for your help.
Are you looking for something Peruvian? A simple avocado, tomato, red onion salad with a lime juice, cilantro, and olive oil dressing is something we have with it. Peruvians don't do a lot of vegetable side dishes, but this is a resource I love: http://perudelights.com/super-andean-salad-for-a-super-new-year/ I'm so glad you plan to try it... Let me know how it turns out! Merry Christmas!
Thank you for the link.
Delicious! Thank you for sharing this recipe! I made it in my pressure cooker with just a few tweaks suggested by my pressure cooker fb group and my husband loved it! He wants it added to the recurring menu roster. 😉
- follow directions but add veggies to saute after onions done. Then add liquids and rice and cilantro and place chicken on top. I used Instant Pot manual setting, High Pressure, for 22 mins. Followed by 10 min natural pressure release.
I reduced liquids to 3/4 c beer and 3/4 c broth for 1 c brown basmati rice but I still had a little excess liquid. Will reduce to 3/4 c beer and 1/2 c broth next time. Yummy!
Thanks so much for taking the time to comment Samy! I'm so glad you you enjoyed the dish 🙂 I contribute to Pressure Cooking Today, and love my pressure cooker, so it's great to know this dish worked well in yours!
I've made this twice now and it was a hit! Once for 8-10 during our vacation in the Texas Hill country with Tamara helping me. The crowd loved it! There were a couple of portions left over and those were eaten for breakfast. To each his own. I also made this for my picky family when I got home but with one modification. My daughter hates cilantro and will pick it out. And since this recipe calls for blended cilantro... Well you get my drift. So I used flat leaf parsley. It was good! I'm still partial to the original version but still, it worked.
I have a reason I'm going to use up my jar of Peruvian chili quickly!
Nothing is more fun than cooking with my family! I will always remember this dish because we got to make it together sissy <3 I'm really glad it worked out okay with parsley, as I was a little skeptical! Thanks for taking the time to leave feedback; it's always appreciated!
Katherine | Omnivore's Cookbook says
Looks to me like a perfect dinner. This is amazing, thanks for sharing!
What a great looking dish!!! Last year, another Sissi @withaglass.com turned me on to aji panca, another Peruvian chile. The aji amarillo kept coming up so it's been on my list of chiles to try. Definitely need to find it now so I can try this dish!
I love Peruvian chiles, and keep aji panca on hand as well! Aji amarillo is my favorite, though. I hope you find it and try it... It's good in so many dishes!
Oriana @Mommyhood's Diary says
I absolutely LOVE arroz con pollo!! I make it very often because my kids eat it without complains. I'm bookmarking you version to try the Peruvian version soon.
Thanks Oriana! It is such a simple way to cook a family meal. I do hope you try the Peruvian version 🙂
This chicken looks so amazing! Cilantro is the favorite herb of our family so I need to make this soon! Just pinned it to my chicken recipe board and look forward to trying!
If you love cilantro, you definitely ought to give it a try! It has an entire bunch 🙂
Peruvian Chicken is so delicious, and this recipe looks just as delicious! Howdy, from your neighbor here in San Antonio!
Hi Karly! Our son is a student at the Culinary Institute of American San Antonio 🙂 We have family there, and love the area... Maybe we'll meet up as Texas food bloggers one of these days!
Vicky @ Avocado Pesto says
I just spent 35 day traveling around Peru and absolutely love Peruvian food - aji amarillo is amazing! And this dish sounds delicious : ))
We're hoping to go next year... I can't wait! Thanks Vicky!
Nancy | Plus Ate Six says
I have to admit, Peruvian food isn't something I'm familiar with apart from Pisco Sours and ceviche so I'm interested to give this a go - I love a one pan meal and always have chicken thighs in the freezer.
Well, Pisco Sours and ceviche are spectacular, and that's more than many I'm guessing. 😉 I hope you do give it a go! Thanks Nancy!
Elizabeth @ SugarHero.com says
This looks delicious! I had the chance to visit Peru a few years ago and still think back on all the delicious food I ate there. I'd love to recreate it at home--thanks for the recipe!
Yay for you Elizabeth! We're hoping to go to Peru next year... One of my husband's colleagues at UTRGV takes a group of students to Peru every year, and my husband may get to teach a class on the ecosystems of the Andes. It's definitely at the top of our bucket list! I hope you give this arroz con pollo a try...
Jolina - The Unlikely Baker says
We love trying different cuisines but we could not remember if we've ever tried Peruvian. So we're very excited to try this! Your photos are amazing. The dishes are just jumping out of the screen (and making us very hungry lol). We really cannot wait to try this! We'll tell you how it goes when we do 🙂
I always appreciate hearing how you liked the recipe, so I'd be grateful to hear back! Thanks Jolina. Peruvian food really is amazing, and this simple dish is a great way to try it out at home!
Sarah @ Champagne Tastes says
This sounds delicious! I've never heard of aji before- I'll have to look for it the next time I go to an international market!
Oh, I hope you can find a jar of aji amarillo paste! The flavor really is indescribable. The most common brand that I've seen in the U.S. is Goya. Good luck!
"It tastes like sunshine" ! such a descriptive phrase. I love arroz con pollo and will be trying this recipe soon. It seems so simple ... the trick for me will be getting aji amarillo in Ohio.
I hear you Noel! I spent 22 years in Las Cruces, NM. If it wasn't Hatch chile, we couldn't get it... You can always order a jar from Amazon if you really do want to try it. I have a link on the post. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!