If you've got any leftover rice and beans, here's a delicious way to transform them into something new!
"Tacu-tacu" is one of Peru's most popular dishes. Most countries in Latin America have their own version of rice and beans, like gallo pinto in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, arroz moro in the Dominican Republic, arroz congrí in Cuba, and so on. This one is ours, and like all the others, it's a dish that originated from African slaves who were brought to the New World by the Spanish colonizers.
Tacu-tacu was essentially a way to repurpose leftovers. The dish is made with previously cooked rice and previously cooked canary beans, lentils or pinto beans. To this was added a variety of spices and chile peppers. In Lima, Creole women would purchase these ingredients at the Descalzo or La Calle shopping center, which still stands today. They would make tacu-tacu and accompany it with fried plantains, egg, pork or beef.
Today, this dish has become a tradition in Lima and all of Peru. It's typically formed into a kind of mound or patty when cooked, but in some regions it's served loose, like fried rice.
And if you're wondering where the cute name comes from, "tacu-tacu" is derived from the quechua language, and it means "mixed" or "mashed."
Preheat a pan over medium heat. When hot, add 3 tablespoons olive oil and the chopped onion, and sauté for five minutes. Add the garlic and cook about 1-2 minutes more. Set aside.
In a blender, pour 1 cup cooked canary beans. Add the onion and liquefy.
In a bowl, combine the cooked rice with the remaining cup of cooked beans. Add the liquefied bean and onion mixture, the ají amarillo paste, 1 tablespoon olive oil and the salt & pepper. Mix together until you achieve a uniform dough-like consistency.
Preheat a pan over medium heat and, when hot, add 1 1/2 cups canola oil. Transfer the rice and bean mixture to the pan and, using a spoon, distribute it until it covers the pan evenly.
Cook for 20 minutes, flipping once to fold.
For the Churrasco
Rub the steak with garlic, cumin, iodized salt and pepper until well seasoned. Heat the vegetable oil in a pan over high heat. When hot, quickly sear the meat on both sides.
Lower heat to medium and cook for 10-15 minutes, depending on how well done you like your steak.
Transfer to a plate along the the tacu-tacu. Serve with fried sweet plantains and garnish with finely chopped parsley.