Monday, September 13, 2010

Re:visiting Peru | Causa Rellena

The finished product is on the left.

Causa is one of my favorite Peruvian comfort foods. My grandmother made it for us as children, and once in a while I made it with her. The tangy and lime-y flavor of the potatoes, the creamy tuna, the spice of the red onion and the peppers, and the buttery avocado just make a great combination. Despite the apparent randomness of ingredients, this dish looks beautiful and tastes delicious.

I prefer to come home to causa already made and ready to eat, of course, but since my grandmother is thousands of miles away, I make do with making it myself. The neat thing about this dish is that you can substitute any seafood for the tuna. I've had it with fresh shrimp and with octopus in Lima, Peru. This version is homey, with canned tuna and extra mayonnaise, and makes enough for six.

I used small bowls this time, but you can use a 9" springform pan.

  • 2 lb yellow potatoes
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • aji verde, rocoto or any hot pepper sauce
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 can of tuna
  • 1 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 sliced avocado
  • 1 sliced hard boiled egg
  • 1/4 cup of diced red onion
  • chopped parsley

    1.Boil potatoes in salted water, peel them while they're still warm, and pass them through a potato ricer. Don't have one? Mash 'em with a fork!
    2. Set the potatoes in a bowl and mix in the olive oil, hot pepper, lime juice, salt, and black pepper.
    3. Divide the potatoes into 3 equal portions.
    4. Line your oiled glass bowl or springform pan with one portion.
    5. Mix the tuna with 1/2 of the mayonnaise, and place it on top of the first layer of potatoes.
    6. Add the second layer of potatoes.
    7. Add the rest of the mayonnaise, then layer the avocado, the boiled egg, and the red onion over it.
    8. Add the last layer of mashed potatoes, cover the dish, and let it set for a half hour. Decorate with a little parsley, or with sliced avocado and boiled eggs, as I did.


  1. This is my favorite dish...along with Aji de Gallina and Lomo Saltado. Looks so good!!! Childhood memories...

  2. I'm tasting this in my mind!! I can't wait to make it!

  3. Lol, it's funny that you mention Aji de gallina Flavia--I just told my husband now that I want to make this causa, and he told me, "Ask her if she has an aji de gallina recipe!!"