Cau Cau Recipe (Peru)

The Exquisite Cau Cau Dish: A Taste of Peru

Peruvian cuisine is a magnificent tapestry of flavors, colors, and textures, woven from the rich tapestry of the country’s history and diverse natural resources. A testament to the region’s culinary expertise, the Cau Cau should rank high on the list of any flavor enthusiast. This traditional Peruvian dish offers a spectrum of flavors and a peek into the nation’s vibrant gastronomic heritage.

What’s in a Cau Cau?

The Cau Cau dish is a celebrated delicacy in the Latin American country, known for its bold and tantalizing flavors that speak of both indigenous and contemporary influences. The dish typically comprises tripe, a variety of potatoes, and aromatic seasonings. Each ingredient is carefully selected to create a harmonious blend that truly captures the essence of Peruvian cuisine.

Tripe: The Heart of the Cau Cau

Tripe is the key protagonist in the Cau Cau. This offal meat, known for its tender texture and unique taste, is a staple in many traditional cuisines. In the Cau Cau, the tripe is typically slow-cooked to ensure it boasts a delectably melt-in-the-mouth consistency, absorbing the spices it’s cooked with. It may sound like an acquired taste, but tripe lovers swear by the Cau Cau as a dish that amplifies its naturally subtle flavor.

An Assortment of Potatoes

Peru is renowned for its plethora of potato varieties, from the creamy and flavorful Yellows to the earthy and dense native Peruvian species. The Cau Cau takes advantage of this diverse range and typically includes a blend of potatoes — yellow, purple, and white — each providing a different texture and taste. The potatoes add depth to the dish and complement the tripe, making for a hearty and satisfying meal.

Aromatics and Spices

No culinary foray into Peruvian cuisine would be complete without the aromatic and spice blend that adds depth to the Cau Cau. A typical mix may include garlic, onions, cumin, and a touch of aji amarillo, a Peruvian yellow chili pepper that imparts a distinct heat and color. These seasonings create a complex flavor profile that is simultaneously warming and invigorating.

Cooking the Cau Cau

Whipping up a Cau Cau at home can be a true culinary adventure. The below recipe offers a simple approach to recreate this Peruvian delight in your own kitchen. Although traditional recipes often require several hours of cooking, this version streamlines the process without sacrificing the dish’s essence.


  • 2 lbs tripe, cleaned and cut into small pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp aji amarillo paste (you can find this at most Latin American or specialty markets)
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup peas, cooked
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup of corn kernels
  • 1 tbsp of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Step 1: Preparing the Tripe

  • Place the tripe in a large pot and cover it with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse the tripe thoroughly.

Step 2: Sautéing the Aromatics

  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until softened.
  • Stir in the aji amarillo paste and continue cooking for about 2 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.

Step 3: Adding the Tripe and Broth

  • Add the parboiled tripe to the skillet and sauté until browned slightly.
  • Pour in the broth, bring to a simmer, and cover. Cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the tripe is tender.

Step 4: Incorporating the Vegetables

  • Add the potatoes to the skillet and cook for an additional 20 minutes or until they’re soft.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

  • Stir in the peas and corn, and cook for a few more minutes until heated through.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Step 6: Final Garnish

  • Sprinkle the freshly chopped cilantro over the Cau Cau just before serving.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Cau Cau is traditionally served with a side of white rice or boiled yuca for a marked touch.
  • For an authentic touch, accompany the dish with aji criollo, a Peruvian condiment made from onions, aji amarillo, garlic, lime juice, and fresh coriander.

Savoring the Cau Cau

The beauty of Cau Cau lies not only in its taste but also in its ability to transport you to the bustling streets of Lima or the serene landscapes of the Andes. Each bite is a flavor-forward reminiscence of Peru’s multifaceted culture. While the Cau Cau may be a gateway dish to Peruvian cuisine, the depth of its flavors and the thoughtful inclusion of indigenous ingredients embody the culinary prowess that defines the nation’s food scene.

Whether you’re a seasoned foodie or an adventurous amateur, preparing and tasting the Cau Cau offers an experience that is as enriching as it is delicious. Have a go at the recipe, invite your friends over, and share in the joy of this culinary masterpiece. Bon appétit— or as they’d say in Peru, ¡Buen provecho!

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