Salchipapa, Peru’s Tasty Fast Food Dish

Peru is home to some of the sweetest yet simple delicacies in the world. The Peruvian salchipapas is one of those dishes with a humble beginning as popular street food.

It’s easy to prepare and can be bought from almost any street food vendor in Peru and other Latin American countries.

The Peruvian salchipapas is named after its main ingredients, salchichas (sausages) and papas (potatoes). It is made of French fries and sausages dipped in aji (chili), mayonnaise, ketchup, and mustard, it is a popular dish across South America, including Ecuador, Colombia, and Bolivia. 

This article will tell you all you need to know about Peruvian salchipapas. It will cover the history of the Peruvian delicacy, the recipe variations across Latin America, and the best way to prepare your own Peruvian salchipapas.

The History of the Peruvian Salchipapas

Peruvian Fast Food Salchipapa served in paper plates
Traditional Peruvian Fast Food Salchipapa

The traditional Peruvian salchipapas dishes were served as a simple mixture of French fries and sausages cut in oval or circular shapes.

They were served with a dipping sauce like ketchup and mayonnaise. Little is known about the inventor of Peruvian salchipapas, but it’s believed to have originated from Lima, Peru, in the late 20th century. 

This popular Peruvian food emerged as a poor man’s dish. Hundreds of street food vendors sold it to the lower class economy, and later local restaurants included it in their cuisines

Later, the Peruvian residents started making their own salchipapas by trying different recipes to recreate homemade variations of the dish.

It wasn’t long before the Peruvian salchipapas spread across South America. 

Street food joints and restaurants in Ecuador, Bolivia, and Colombia also learned the recipe and included it in their menus.

Today, Peruvian restaurants around the world have the Peruvian salchipapas in their menus. It’s also common to find street food vendors selling salchipapas in Argentina markets and stadiums.

Like any other South American fast food, salchipapas hold a special place in the hearts and minds of the South American people.

Walking down the streets of Peru will show you how hard it is to find a vendor who isn’t selling salchipapas. Since it’s a widely recognized street dish, you’re likely to see it in your favorite Peruvian restaurant.

Salchipapas Variations

The name salchipapas was derived from the main ingredients; sausages and potatoes. However, on entering new markets, the cooks altered the recipe to incorporate other ingredients. 

For instance, the establishment of Peruvian restaurants in the U.S., and the presence of Bolivian immigrants in Argentina and Chile have led to the creation of several variations of salchipapas.

Since there’s no standardized formula or special requirements, cooks can make salchipapas the way they like, leading to an evolution of the recipe.

Here are the most common variations found in Latin American restaurants:

Choripapas (Also called Chorizo con Papas)

Chorizo con Papas means Mexican sausage with potatoes, which can be salted or spiced. This salchipapa variation comes from Mexican cuisines.

Instead of the usual French fries, some Mexican cooks start by boiling potatoes for about ten minutes and then shallow frying the chorizo with onions to create crispy chorizo papas. It’s a famous delicacy found in some Latin American restaurants.

The Mexican Salchipulpos

The Mexican salchipulpos has a Mexican origin though not different from the Peruvian salchipapas. Both delicacies are made with the same essential ingredients, but one of the main differences is in the sausages’ appearance. 

Instead of the usual oval or round shapes, salchipulpos have fun-looking “octopus” shapes. For this reason, salchipulpos, “pulpos”, meaning octopus, is a children’s favorite.

The recipe is simple and fun to teach to your children. It’s a snack best served with your favorite sauce or mayonnaise.

The Ecuadorian Salchipapas con Salsa Rosada

Similar to the Peruvian salchipapas, the Ecuadorian version is made of potato fries and hot dogs. The recipe is the same.

However, the Ecuadorian style is served with salsa rosada (the Latin-American sauce prepared from mayonnaise and ketchup).

Other Variations

Some variations are just a slight deviation of the ingredients driven by personal taste, health concerns, availability of the ingredients, among other factors. For instance, some people prefer sweet potatoes to russet potatoes. Others use pork or chicken sausages instead of beef, while some people add cheese or fried eggs.

Kitchen Tools and Ingredients

The salchipapas recipe is simple and easy to memorize, so you won’t have to keep your recipe book close by. Since it’s street food, you can prepare it with simple ingredients and readily available utensils.

Today’s recipe comes from Meatwave, and Peru Delights, a top-quality food recipe site.

What you need:

  • Shallow frying pan
  • Bowl

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 large russet potatoes cut into sticks
  • Frying oil 
  • Sausages or hot dogs (This is a personal choice. If you’re a beef lover, get beef sausages. Other options include chicken sausages, pork sausages, and hotdogs.)
  • 2-3 tablespoons Ketchup
  • Mayonnaise
  • Aji Amarillo sauce
  • Salt

How to Prepare Peruvian Salchipapas

Peruvian Dish of Salchipapas
Peruvian Dish of Salchipapas

Follow this step-by-step procedure:

  1. Put the potatoes in a large bowl and add cold water. It would be best if you let them soak in the water for at least one and a half hours. Repeat the process until the water becomes clear. 
  2. Drain the bowl and dry the potato sticks with a clean paper towel.
  3. Heat oil in the frying pan to a temperature of 350°F (176.7°C). Be careful not to use too much heat, which could burn the sausages and potatoes.
  4. Cut the sausages into round shapes and shallow fry until crispy brown. Use a little oil, but if you accidentally use too much, use paper towels to dry the excess oil. The process should take about four minutes, and don’t forget to turn occasionally.
  5. Cook the fries a little at a time and sprinkle salt. Every round of potatoes should be cooked for at least five minutes till crispy brown.
  6. Serve with aji amarillo sauce, ketchup, mayonnaise, or crema de aceituna (olive sauce). You can also garnish with lettuce, oregano, or parsley leaves.

Some Cooking Tips

  • The only limit to the amounts of ingredients used is the number of people you’re serving. Some people prefer more sausages to fries, while others prefer more chips. 
  • The secret key to making the best Peruvian salchipapas is in how you prepare the fries. The crispy brown color and timing have to be just right. It would help if you washed the potatoes sticks with fresh water to remove excess starch, which would give the potatoes a brown color before frying. 
  • Some fries may look pale, especially after spending too much time in the freezer. Pale chips should be fried to get the right color.
  • Always shallow fry potatoes and sausages to make them juicy. Do this twice per item. For the first time, use a lower temperature and use higher temperatures for the second time.
  • Peruvian salchipapas are served best with some sauce to give them extra juice. Peruvian salchipapas are delicious, but the grease alone may not be enough to enjoy the meal. You can add aji amarillo sauce, mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, or your favorite homemade sauce. A plate of fresh salad is also recommended for a more balanced diet.

Conclusion

Traditional Peruvian Dish of Salchipapas with aji amarillo sauce, mayo and ketchup
Traditional Peruvian Dish of Salchipapas with aji amarillo sauce, mayo and ketchup

We have covered a lot about the Peruvian dish, including the origin of the Peruvian salchipapas, the most common variations in Latin America, and how to prepare the best Peruvian salchipapas from simple ingredients. 

You should consider sharing this article with your loved ones and give them insights on how to make their own Peruvian salchipapas.

Bookmarking this article in your favorite recipes could be handy for future references.

Sources

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