Weeknight Cooking

Amazonian Fried Rice (Chaufa Amazónico)

May  3, 2019
4 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

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

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: For the Best Fried Rice, Turn to Peru. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more as needed
  • 3 thick slices of best-quality smoked bacon, diced
  • 2 cooked fresh chorizo sausages (not Mexican-style, see Note), thinly sliced
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 ripe plantain, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 cups day-old cooked white rice
  • 5 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 leaves sachaculantro, finely chopped (see Note)
  • 1/2 medium red pepper, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Stephanie B.
    Stephanie B.
  • Carlos C. Olaechea
    Carlos C. Olaechea
  • Eric Kim
    Eric Kim
  • Smaug
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.

11 Reviews

Darian May 17, 2019
I made this for my family tonight and it's a big hit! I used brown rice, and was able to find culantro, but I think regular cilantro would have had the same result. The subtle difference was lost in the myriad of other flavors. We drizzled with hot sauce which definitely took it to the next level. I will definitely make this again!
Carlos C. May 20, 2019
Ooh! Brown rice sounds like a great modification. I'll have to try that. The nuttiness will really pair nicely with all the bold flavors. And about culantro, the difference is very subtle unless you grew up with it. If you have any leftover culantro, just chop it up and freeze it. Add it to stews. Culantro is great for cooking because it can stand up a little better to heat than cilantro.
Melynda T. May 9, 2019
I made this for my family last night and it really was the perfect balance of spicy, salty, sweet, and savory. I used brown rice in place of the white rice and cilantro. Definitely a great weeknight dinner.
Carlos C. May 20, 2019
I am so glad you guys liked it. Feel free to change it up, too.
Stephanie B. May 4, 2019
Hello, I think the note on sacha culantro is missing. Is cilantro an acceptable substitute?
Eric K. May 5, 2019
Hi friend! Thanks for flagging; note has been added. Yes, you can replace the sachaculantro with 1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro.

Hope you make this; it's delicious.
Stephanie B. May 6, 2019
Thank you Eric! I will - it's in my meal planning list for the week .
Smaug May 7, 2019
Culantro is stronger than cilantro, though, you should probably use more. A better sub, if you can find it, is Mexican pipicha (a wonderful plant to grow, by the way). I find the reasoning for replacing Cecina with bacon to be specious, at best, and despite the notes the real nature of the sausage is a bit mysterious- chorizo/ chourico covers an awful lot of ground, and kielbasa resembles none of the types I've tried. I envy the author the Latin markets he apparently has access to- I've never seen anything like the sort of selection he suggests.
Carlos C. May 7, 2019
Hi Smaug. Thanks for sharing your concerns. 1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro comes out to nearly twice as much as two leaves of sachaculantro. Unfortunately, there really is nothing that is readily available to the majority of people living in the United States that will replicate the flavor and texture of cecina. Bacon is the best substitute that I can think of. If you have something else in mind that replicates cecina, please use it in this recipe! Chorizo/chourico DOES cover a lot of ground. The chorizo used in the Amazon regions of Peru is very particular, and you cannot get it here. If you have access to a Peruvian market, you can use salchicha huachana as a close equivalent. However, I know most readers will not have access to that. Most types of chorizo will work in this, and if you do not have access to Latin American chorizo, then a kielbasa is the next best thing - as opposed to an Italian sausage (too much fennel) or an American breakfast sausage (too much sage).

If you want to get really authentic, Smaug, you can source rice from San Martin, bellacos from the Amazon, and aji charapita, which you can probably find frozen. Many Peruvian markets will also sell siyau Kikko. You can also find video tutorials for how to make cecina and chorizo at home. I'd love to see how you make this dish authentically. Until then, no jodes!
Smaug May 7, 2019
There is a domestic brand of chorizo from Nieman Ranch, sort of a middle of the road creation, but it's uncured. Portuguese types of linguica are fairly easily come by, though good ones not so much- at least in my area, Silva brand dominates, and I, at least, don't like it at all. They also make (domestically) a Spanish style chorizo, haven't tried it. I don't know how linguica would do as a substitute- it's usually pretty garlicky, don't know if that would go. You can get Italian sausage without fennel, but I don't like it much, and Italians (at least historically) simply do not smoke sausage. I know nothing of Cecina, but I don't find the fact that someone promoting it suggests it as a replacement for bacon is much of a reason to suggest that bacon could replace it- does it have the intense smokiness and huge amounts of fat that are bacon's primary features?
Smaug May 7, 2019
Another sausage possibility is Andouille- Aidel's makes a good version that is widely available, and there are quite a few others. It tends to lean pretty heavily on black pepper, would that be a conflict?