Amazonian cooks added their own touches to the Chinese-Peruvian favorite, and before too long, they came up with chaufa amazónico—Amazonian fried rice. At its core, this dish includes all of the usual suspects: day-old white rice, soy sauce, eggs, and scallions. However, things get interesting with the addition of three ingredients that instantly evoke the Amazon’s food culture while giving the dish an appealing mix of savory, sweet, and smoky flavors: ripe plantain, chorizo sausage, and cecina (which I've replaced here with the easier-to-find bacon). —Carlos C. Olaechea
Heat a large wok or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add oil and bacon. When the bacon starts to brown, add the chorizo. Cook, stirring often, until the bacon and chorizo are browned and crisp. Remove pan from the heat and transfer bacon and chorizo to a large bowl using a slotted spoon.
There should now be a fair amount of rendered fat in the pan. Return the pan to the heat and add the beaten egg all at once, swirling to make the eggs cover the surface of the pan. Fry the eggs until they are fluffy and cooked through. Break up with a spatula, remove the pan from the heat, and transfer the eggs to the bowl containing the chorizo and bacon.
Place the pan back on the burner and add a little bit of vegetable oil as needed. Once the pan is hot, add the plantains and fry, stirring often, until they are browned. Add the garlic, stir to combine with the plantains, and fry for about 30 seconds.
Add the rice, red pepper, scallions, sachaculantro, chorizo, bacon, and eggs to the pan. Stir thoroughly to combine all the ingredients, breaking up any large chunks of rice. Add the soy sauce and stir to combine.
Continue stir-frying the rice until it heats through and becomes somewhat toasty. Serve immediately with your favorite stir-fry or on its own with a drizzle of my mom’s ají sauce.
Note: This recipe calls for fresh chorizo, which is a common type of sausage throughout Latin America. Fresh Spanish, Colombian, Cuban, or Puerto Rican chorizo will work in this, as well as Brazilian or Portuguese chouriço. You can find these sausages at most Latin grocery stores. Do not use dried Spanish chorizo cantimpalo, as its flavor is too strong for this dish. Also avoid Mexican chorizo, which has a crumbly texture that will fall apart when stir-fried. If you cannot find chorizo, use smoked kielbasa or Georgia sausage. Sachaculantro is the Peruvian term for saw-tooth coriander, which is also known as culantro or recao in different parts of Latin America. It is available at many Asian and Latin American grocery stores. If you cannot find it, use 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro.
I was born in Peru to a Limeño father and a Texan mother. We moved to Miami when I was five, and I grew up in the "Kendall-suyo" neighborhood—often called the 5th province of the Inca Empire because of its large Peruvian population. I've been writing about food since I was 11 years old, and in 2016 I received a master's degree in Gastronomy from Boston University. A travel columnist at Food52, I'm currently based in Hollywood, Florida—another vibrant Peruvian community—where I am a writer, culinary tour guide, and consultant.