Peruvian

Milk Street's Peruvian Quinoa and Corn Chowder (Chupe de Quinoa)

by:
March 14, 2019
7 Ratings
Photo by Connie Miller
Author Notes

Ají amarillo, an orange-yellow chili with a fruity yet earthy flavor, is ubiquitous in Peruvian cuisine. The fresh chilies are difficult to find in the U.S., but ají amarillo paste, sold in jars, is available at well-stocked markets and specialty stores. The paste is key to the deep, spicy flavor of this quinoa chowder. If you can’t find it, use 1 or 2 minced jalapeños instead (if you like, seed the jalapeños for milder heat). The soup is especially good made with fresh in-season corn but, in a pinch, substitute frozen corn kernels. Serve with a simple salad of shredded cabbage, sliced avocado and crumbled queso fresco.

Don’t forget to rinse the quinoa to remove the naturally occurring saponin that gives quinoa a bitter flavor. But check the packaging first, as some quinoa is sold prewashed; if so, there’s no need to rinse.

Excerpted from MILK STREET: Tuesday Nights. Copyright © 2018 by Christopher Kimball, photographs by Connie Miller of CB Creatives. Used with permission of Little, Brown and Company, New York. All rights reserved. —Food52

  • Prep time 7 minutes
  • Cook time 23 minutes
  • Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup ají amarillo paste (see headnote)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 pinch kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 pinch black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 8 ounces sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces (1½ cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups corn kernels
  • 3/4 cup quinoa, preferably red, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/4 quarts (5 cups) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup lightly packed fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges, to serve
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. In a large Dutch oven over medium, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until light golden brown, about 4 minutes. Add the ají amarillo paste, oregano, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Stir in the sweet potato, corn, quinoa and broth. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes and quinoa are tender, 16 to 19 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Off heat, stir in the cream. Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with mint and serve with lime wedges.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • DJ Phil D
    DJ Phil D
  • Jennifer M Silverberg
    Jennifer M Silverberg
  • Brinda Ayer
    Brinda Ayer
  • Jessamin
    Jessamin
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10 Reviews

Jessamin September 9, 2020
This is probably one of the best soups I've ever made. The aji amarillo was easy to find and it's always nice to get to know a new chili paste! The mint and lime on top is sublime. I made a nearly-double batch to get my husband and I through a week of lunches- we are on day four and still looking forward to it every day.
 
Jocelyn L. July 17, 2020
I love this chowder! I didn't have the paste, so used a jalapeño. I felt like it could use a bit more punch so added some Harissa. Turned out great! Ordered the paste online and will make it again to see what difference there is. Thank you for this recipe, Milk Street. Keep the soup & chowder recipes coming!
 
emma December 30, 2019
I make this a lot and I love it! it's a very forgiving recipe as I seldom follow it exactly. I'm much more likely to have sweet onions and white quinoa on hand, and I often use cilantro instead of mint or forego the herb all together. Sometimes I'll add in a can of chickpeas or some frozen edamame for extra nutritional punch. sometimes I'll add frozen shrimp about 5 minutes before the soup is done and let it cook gently in the broth. I still haven't found fresh oregano nearby though so it's good with dried but I can't compare. Definitely worth picking up a jar of aji amarillo paste, didn't have to special order but there's a large Peruvian population in this area.
 
cindy March 20, 2019
Delicious. I used an aji sauce recipe in place of the paste it recommended. (https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/aji-sauce-353812) Wonderful. Also served with a dollop of aji sauce on top. I did add an habernero chili to the aji recipe in place of a jalepeno.
 
DJ P. March 17, 2019
1/4 cup ají amarillo paste (see note) Didn't see the note on how to make or purchase this?
 
Brinda A. March 18, 2019
Hi DJ P., that information is in the headnote: "The fresh chilies are difficult to find in the U.S., but ají amarillo paste, sold in jars, is available at well-stocked markets and specialty stores. The paste is key to the deep, spicy flavor of this quinoa chowder. If you can’t find it, use 1 or 2 minced jalapeños instead (if you like, seed the jalapeños for milder heat)."

Hope this helps!
 
Steven April 3, 2019
I got on amazon for $8
 
Jennifer M. March 16, 2019
Confused by the two different measures of Chicken Broth ... I'd sub veggie, but not sure whether it should be 1 1/4 cups or 5 cups?
 
Randy H. March 16, 2019
Pretty sure they mean 1 1/4 qts!
 
Cheryl April 1, 2019
1 1/4 quarts equals 5 cups