Peru’s Papa a la Huancaina; What Is It & How To Make It

Peruvian cuisine continues to impress the global community with its tantalizing dishes. In 2019 it was listed as one of the top 10 destinations for foodies to visit.

With delicious and unique offerings such as Lomo Saltado, Causa Rellena and Tiradito it’s no wonder everybody wants a taste. But if you are unfamiliar with Papa a la Huancaina, it’s a dish you’ll definitely want to get to know.

What Is Papa a la Huancaina

Papa a la Huancaina, is a popular yet simple Peruvian starter. It is made from boiled yellow potatoes, and a cheesey and hot peppery sauce called salsa huancaina. Papa a la Huancaina is eaten all year long but a very traditional Peruvian dish most notably enjoyed during the holidays.

Papa a la Huancaina is a cold appetizer which is commonly served over a bed of lettuce and garnished with aceitunas botijas, also known as Peruvian black olives and sliced hard boiled eggs.

The dish gets its name from the Huancayo, a city located in the highlands of Peru.

How to Make Papa a la Huancaina

In a bowl, mix the lemon juice, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to taste. Add an onion, sliced thinly into rings, and set aside at room temperature.

Boil the whole potatoes in their skins until tender. Drain, peel, and keep warm. In a blender or food processor combine the cheese, hot peppers, palillo or tumeric, and the cream. Blend till smooth.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet, pour in the cheese mixture, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the sauce is smooth and creamy.

Garnish a platter with the lettuce leaves. Arrange the potatoes on the platter and pour the sauce over them. Arrange the eggs and black olives around and in between the potatoes. Lay the onion rings and arrange them over the potatoes.

Ingredients needed for Papa a la Huancaina;

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne
  • Salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 medium potatoes
  • 3 cups, coarsely chopped Spanish fresh cheese or queso blanco or queso fresco
  • One or more fresh hot yellow peppers ( Aji Amarillo )
  • 1 teaspoon palillo or 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup of olive oil
  • Lettuce leaves
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, halved
  • 8 black olives ( aceitunas botijas )

This easy Papa a la Huancaina recipe will serve eight as a opening course, or four servings as an appetizer or even light lunch.

Depending on how spicy you want it, simply add or remove aji amarillo to your desired taste preference. Enjoy!

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