Tacu Tacu (Beans & Rice Omelette)
Turning Leftover Beans & Rice Into Peruvian Home Cooked Meal “Tacu Tacu”
As well as it’s delicious to eat, nowadays we are required to use up leftover ingredients and to eat up meals with respect. So, let’s take a look at abroad, you’ll see wonderful unique ideas in each country. We’re going to show you these ideas in a series of columns. The third one is from Peru. The topic & photos are provided by Ms. Tomoko Nakajima in Lima, Peru. Let us introduce you to a home cooked meal using leftover beans and rice from the day before.
Beans & rice dish eaten for centuries
Peru is about 3.4 times larger than Japan. This country, which is located in the middle of South America by the Pacific Ocean, features huge differences in elevation between the mountainous regions and cities, and an abundance in food from the sea and mountains. As well as being known as a gourmet country and having successful worldwide chefs, it has a wide variety of cuisine: such as local dishes using Andes plateau ingredients, dishes brought over by Chinese immigrants and Nikkei dishes derived from Japan. From such Peruvian cuisines the most famous leftover dish is “tacu tacu”. There are some different claimed origins of this. Firstly, it’s believed to be a dish cooked by African women who had come to work for sugarcane and cotton farms. There are similar dishes such as gallo pinto in other Latin American countries including Nicaragua and Costa Rica besides Peru and also moro in Dominican Republic. Secondly, it’s said to be formed from a Quechuan word “tacuni = mix” which is still used in Cusco and the Andes region. In either case, this beans and rice dish has been eaten in Peru for centuries and still is significant as a home cooked meal today. So, let us show you how to make tacu tacu.
Recipe cooked in a frying pan like an omelette
What you need to prepare are: a bowl of steamed rice, 150g of cooked & mashed Canary beans (a variety of French beans), ½ of a finely chopped purple onion*, 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic*, a tablespoonful yellow pepper paste*, a tablespoonful olive oil, some salt and pepper. Mix rice and beans in a bowl. Cook the ingredients marked with “*”in a heated frying pan with olive oil, and add rice and beans, then season it with salt and pepper. First half of tacu tacu cooking is finished. Next, heat a Teflon frying pan with (a sufficient amount of) olive oil and spread the half cooked tacu tacu in it. As it starts bubbling and turning brown, shake the frying pan to set the patty like cooking an omelette. If it’s difficult, it’s ok to use a plate to cover the patty and turn it upside down to cook the other side. It will taste better to cook until it has crispy surfaces with reduced moisture. Then, it’s all done! Besides some lemon marinade onion salsa and an fried egg, a fried banana is also popular as a garnish in Peruvian households. Be aware some yellow pepper paste can be spicy. It’s delicious without it too.
Tacu tacu, rich in protein, is made with any kind of beans
Leftover beans and rice from the day before are better for making tacu tacu. This is because it’s considered that the leftover beans have a richer and better taste the following day, they are easier to make into paste, and that as the leftover rice is a little hardened, it’s easier to be formed like an omelette. Since most beans are sold as 500g packages in food markets and supermarkets, Ms. Nakajima cooks a full package of beans in a pressure cooker and so tacu tacu is great as a beans-consuming recipe. Tacu tacu can be found on restaurant menus too, however, it’s more likely to be a fancier dish with cooked seafood or beef on top of it like a sauce. Of course, family members will be delighted to see added cooked meat in any household! Finally, regarding varieties of beans, although there is a huge variety in Peru such as chickpeas, lentils, white beans and black beans, Canary beans are commonly used for tacu tacu. It’s a dish with rich proteins. It also tastes great with other kind of beans and so why not try making it?
- A bowl of steamed rice
- 5 ounces (150g) of cooked & mashed Canary beans
- 1/2 of a finely chopped purple onion*
- 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic*
- A tablespoonful yellow pepper paste*
- A tablespoonful olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Mix rice and beans in a bowl.
Cook the ingredients marked with “*”in a heated frying pan with olive oil, and add rice and beans, then season it with salt and pepper. First half of tacu tacu cooking is finished.
Next, heat a Teflon frying pan with (a sufficient amount of) olive oil and spread the half cooked tacu tacu in it.
As it starts bubbling and turning brown, shake the frying pan to set the patty like cooking an omelette. (If it’s difficult, it’s ok to use a plate to cover the patty and turn it upside down to cook the other side. It will taste better to cook until it has crispy surfaces with reduced moisture.)
Topic and photos: provided by Tomoko Nakajima in Lima, Peru (right)
Text: by Chisa Murakami (TNC Inc.)
Food Director / Chef at Maison de Tsuyuki
After graduating from Osaka University of Arts, Chisa got a job in Japan Recruit Centre Inc. Then, she started working as a freelance editor and set up TNC Inc in 2004. Her life & work has been enriched by encounters through “Food” with both national and international interviews.