This is an adaptation of a layered rice and ground beef dish that is a staple of Peruvian home cooking. Chopped hard boiled eggs are traditionally mixed in with the ground beef. However, I modified this recipe so that it includes a decadent fried egg on top of each portion, instead. —Carlos C. Olaechea
vegetable oil, plus extra for frying eggs
large red onions, diced
large cloves garlic, minced
medium tomato, diced
ají panca paste (see note)
red wine vinegar
bouillon cube (optional)
lean ground beef
cooked white rice (or more)
In This Recipe
Set a large frying pan over medium heat and add 1 T vegetable oil. When the oil is shimmering, add onions and cook for about 1 minute or until onions begin to soften.
Add garlic, cumin, and oregano, and cook until onions are completely soft. Add tomato, aji panca, vinegar, and bouillon cube, if using. Cook, stirring often, until oil separates from the mixture.
Stir in the ground beef and break up any chunks. Cook, stirring often, until the meat is done.
Add raisins to the pan and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover pan and reduce heat to low. Simmer until the raisins are plump.
To serve the arroz tapado, fill a dessert bowl ⅓ of the way with white rice, pressing down with the back of a spoon to pack in the rice. Now fill the bowl ⅔ of the way up with ground beef, packing it tightly with the back of a spoon. Fill up the rest of the bowl with rice, pressing down with the back of a spoon to pack it in.
Now, place a dinner plate upside down on top of the bowl. Hold the plate and the bowl firmly together with both hands, and invert the dishes so that the plate is facing up and the bowl is upside down on top of the plate. Place the plate on a counter or table and lift the bowl. You should now have an attractive layered dome on the plate. Set it aside and repeat the process with a new dinner plate.
When you have assembled all the individual arroz tapados, set a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add an inch of vegetable oil to the pan. When hot, crack an egg into the pan. The egg will bubble and sizzle. Spoon some of the hot oil on top of the egg to cook the top. When the egg white is cooked and the edges of the egg form a golden, lacy crust, remove the egg from the pan and arrange on top of a portion of arroz tapado. Repeat with the remaining eggs.
Note: Ají panca is a dried red chile that forms the backbone of many Peruvian dishes. It has a mild, smoldering heat and slightly sweet flavor reminiscent of dried fruit. You can find jars of ají panca paste at many South American markets or online. If you cannot find ají panca, use paprika and cayenne pepper to taste.
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.