Jalea Limeña: A Fried Seafood Recipe from Gaston Acurio’s Cookbook

Phaidon has kindly given me permission to publish three recipes from Peru: The Cookbook by Gastón Acurio (Phaidon, 2015). I’ve already featured two of my favorite recipes from the book — ají de gallina and picante de mariscos — and now comes jalea limeña.

There are various types of jalea in Peru, such as jalea mixta and jalea a la chiclayana, all of which are incredibly tasty comfort food dishes based around fried seafood. As the name suggests, jalea limeña is the Lima version of this popular Peruvian dish. The recipe requires salsa criolla, tartar sauce and mayonnaise, which you can either purchase or prepare yourself using the instructions found below the main recipe.

Quick Tip:  If travelling to or from Lima Airport, it is strongly recommended to use the luxury Airport Express Lima  bus to get to or from your hotel. Safer and cheaper than a taxi with no baggage limit as well as Free Wi-Fi and USB chargers onboard, it is ideal for travellers.

Jalea Limeña (Lima-Style Fried Seafood and Yucca Root Medley)

jalea limeña

Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour — 1 hour 10 minutes

Use any fresh, flavorsome fish and any type of seafood for this recipe, provided it is very fresh.

  • 1 lb 2 oz (500 g) yucca root (cassava), peeled
  • 1 corncob
  • 14 oz (400 g) fish fillets, cut into 3/4  x 1 1/2-inch (2 x 3-cm) pieces
  • 12 shrimp (prawns), cleaned
  • 12 scallops, cleaned
  • 7 oz (200 g) octopus, cooked and cut into pieces
  • 4 x 4-oz (120-g) squid, cleaned and cut into rings
  • 2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • juice of 2 small lemons
  • 2 1/3 cups (11 oz/300 g) all-purpose (plain) flour
  • 1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz/65 g) potato starch
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 4 cups (34 fl oz/1 liter) vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) Creole Sauce (see below)
  • 1 1/2 tomatoes, skinned, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon limo chile, seeded, membrane removed, and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) Tartar Sauce (see below), to serve
  • salt and pepper

To garnish

  • 2 cups (4 oz/120 g) banana chips
  • 1 cup (8 oz/225 g) cancha (toasted corn)
  • 1 small handful of culantro or cilantro (coriander) leaves

Bring a pan of water to a boil, add the yucca root (cassava), and cook until tender. Drain and cut into batons. Boil the corncob until tender, then drain and remove the kernels. Set aside.

Place the fish pieces in a bowl with the shrimp (prawns), scallops, octopus, and squid. Add the chopped garlic, soy sauce, and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, and mix together well. Set aside.

Mix together the flour and potato starch. Dip the seafood in the beaten egg, drain off any excess, add to the flour mixture, and coat evenly.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan or deep fryer to 350° F/180° C, or until a cube of bread browns in 30 seconds. Drop the seafood carefully into the oil and cook for 6–8 minutes until crispy and golden. Drain well on paper towels and set aside.

Add the yucca-root batons to the oil and fry for 8 minutes until crispy, remove from the pan, and drain on paper towels. Arrange the fried seafood and yucca-root batons on a platter with the seafood in the center and the yucca-root batons around the edge.

Mix the Creole sauce with the corn, tomatoes, and limo chile and pour the mixture over the seafood. Top with the banana chips, cancha, and culantro or cilantro (coriander) leaves and serve with tartar sauce.

Salsa Criolla (Creole Sauce)

Peru the Cookbook, Gaston AcurioMakes: 5 oz
Preparation Time: 5 minutes, plus 5 minutes soaking

  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • ice cubes
  • 1 limo chile, seeded, membrane removed, and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped culantro or cilantro (coriander) leaves
  • juice of 3 small lemons
  • salt

Soak the onion slices in iced water for 5 minutes to crisp. Remove from the water, drain, and place in a bowl.

Add the sliced chile, culantro or cilantro (coriander), and lemon juice to the onion. Season with salt and mix together thoroughly. This sauce is best served immediately and is the ideal accompaniment to chicharrones (fried pork rind), rice dishes, stews, fish and other dishes. A different variety of Creole sauce is made in northern Peru, which is pickled for longer and includes chopped radish and blended yellow chiles as additional ingredients.

Salsa Tártara (Tartar Sauce)

Makes: 1 1/2 cups (13 fl oz/375 ml)
Preparation Time: 5 minutes

  • 8 oz (225 g) Mayonnaise
  • 1 egg, hard-boiled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers, chopped
  • 1 1/2 oz (40 g) small dill pickles (gherkins), chopped
  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon chopped parsley leaves
  • salt and pepper

Put the mayonnaise, chopped egg, capers, dill pickles (gherkins), onion, mustard, and parsley in a bowl. Season with salt and mix together well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer to a suitable container and keep refrigerated until needed. This sauce is generally served as an accompaniment to fish chicharrones (fried fish dishes) and fritters, as well as sandwiches and snacks.

Mayonesa (Mayonnaise)

Makes: 4 cups (2 lb/900 g)
Preparation Time: 8 minutes

  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • juice of 1 small lemon
  • 4 1/4 cups (34 fl oz/1 liter) vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper

Place the egg, mustard, and lemon juice in a blender. Season with salt and pepper. Blend together, gradually drizzling in the oil, until thick and creamy. If too thick, thin with a little water.

Transfer to a suitable container and keep refrigerated until needed.

Mayonnaise can be used to prepare the filling for causas (Peruvian potato dishes), as a condiment for a number of dishes, and as a base for other sauces.

If you enjoyed this and would like to try out some real life cooking classes in the Peruvian capital you can check out the options and make a reservation here.

All recipes reprinted with permission from Phaidon (phaidon.com/peru). All images © Phaidon.

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