Today’s recipe: Rocoto Relleno

It is no longer a secret that Peru has a very authentic and flavorful cuisine; Peruvian cuisine is actually booming all over the world.  AMAUTA Spanish school in Cusco, therefore, offers an interesting workshop Peruvian Cuisine that can be combined with a Spanish course in Peru.

One of the most famous dishes is the Rocoto Relleno, a stuffed hot pepper that is colorful, aromatic and incredibly tasty all at once. It is a traditional appetizer from the mountain city of Arequipa in the south of Peru, served alongside a delicious potato gratin; however in all fairness, it could make for a complete meal already!

Spanish and Cooking in Cusco Peru at AMAUTA Spanish School

This Peruvian recipe contains beef, pecans, raisins, olives and more. It can take some time to prepare as there are several preparation steps involved (boiling the peppers, filling, stuffing and baking) but once you taste its hot and unusual flavor you know it was all worth it. This heavenly meal will definitely impress at a dinner party.  Serves 8 to 10:


  • 10 rocotos
  • ½ cup + ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 6 tablespoons aji panca paste
  • 900 g. (~2 lb.) sirloin tips, very finely cut in small squares
  • 450 g. (~1 lb.) red onions, diced
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, coarsely chopped
  • Cup of beef broth
  • 10 slices of mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons pecan nuts, ground
  • 8 black olives, sliced, seeded
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons black raisins
  • Salt and pepper
  • Potato Gratin:

  • 900 g. (~2 lb.) potatoes, boiled, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 60 g. (~8 oz.) ‘queso fresco’ (fresh white cheese) in thick slices
  • 1½ cups unsweetened evaporated milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 eggs


  1. To tame the heat of the rocoto peppers, cut the top of each one and using a spoon scrape the seeds and stems from the inside. Be very careful and do NOT touch your eyes!
  2. Put the rocotos and its tops in a pan with water with cover, a tablespoon of sugar, bring to a boil, turn off the heat, and discard the water. Add fresh water and repeat this step three times until bright red and tender. Drain, tap dry with a paper towel, cool to reserve.
  3. Place the raisins in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let them sit for 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a saucepan over high heat, warm the oil, add the aji panca paste, beef, garlic and bay leaves. When cooked, add the onion, ¼ teaspoon sugar, salt and pepper.
  5. Add the pecan nuts, oregano, parsley, drained raisins and beef broth. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until most of the liquid is gone.
  6. Stir in the hard boiled eggs and the black olives. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and cool.
  7. Fill the rocotos with this seasoned mixture (be gentle in order to keep the rocotos intact) and place a layer of mozzarella cheese on top of the filling. Accommodate on a baking sheet, with the reserved lids alongside them.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes in a 150 °C (350F) oven, or until cheese is melted. Cover the rocotos with the tops and serve immediately with the potato gratin:
  9. Potato Gratin:

  10. To make the potato gratin: Butter a baking plate, make one layer of potato slices and cover with queso fresco. Repeat for three layers.
  11. In a bowl whip the four eggs until very thick, add evaporated milk, salt and pepper. Pour over the potatoes and cheese.
  12. When baking at the same time as the stuffed peppers, bake in the 150 °C (350F) preheated oven until golden and thick.

Spanish and Cooking in Cusco Peru at AMAUTA Spanish School

This recipe calls for using Peruvian rocotos, not to mistaken with the ordinary red bell peppers. They are very similar in appearance but the Peruvian ones are countless times hotter. The rocotos are generally difficult to get overseas, so bell peppers could work as a substitute when spicing up the filling with more hot chilies. Just like the rocoto peppers, there is good chance you find the Aji Panca paste in the World or Latin Food section at supermarkets.

Peruvian cooking classes are also offered as one of the many free cultural activities that AMAUTA Spanish School in Cusco organizes for its students. There is a weekly a cooking demonstration by the AMAUTA house chef, which logically often features the popular rocoto relleno. If you are really interested in Peruvian cuisine you can now also register for the ‘Spanish and cooking course’, where you will combine an intensive study Spanish in Cusco with a unique Peruvian cooking experience.

Contact us for more information!