Chorrillana-Style Fish with Red Quinoa Pilaf

Recipe contributed by Morena Escardo; photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  4 servings
Prep Time:  25 minutes Cook Time:  30 minutes

Chorrillana-Style Fish with Red Quinoa Pilaf

This luscious Peruvian fish dish is named for Chorrillos, the section of Lima where the fish market is located. The dish gets its heat from aji amarillo paste, a staple of Peruvian cuisine. It is usually served with rice, but it works wonderfully with a healthful red quinoa pilaf made with finely diced yellow bell pepper and zucchini. You can use the sauce with just about any seafood, rice, or quinoa dish, and even with pasta or beans.



3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 large red onion, half finely chopped and half sliced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon aji amarillo paste or ¼ teaspoon cayenne or hot chili powder

1 tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

½ cup fish stock or vegetable broth

½ cup cherry tomatoes, each cut in half

½ teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 fillets (4 ounces each) cod, tilapia, or any mild white fish

Fresh oregano, for garnish

Quinoa Pilaf:

1 cup red quinoa

½ teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

½ cup chopped yellow bell pepper

½ cup chopped zucchini


  1. Put the quinoa in a medium pot with 2½ cups of water. Bring to a boil, season with salt and pepper, and lower the heat to medium.
  2. Cook for 12 minutes, add the bell pepper and zucchini, and cook for 13 minutes more, or until the quinoa is al dente, not mushy. If all the water is absorbed and the quinoa seems dry before it is fully cooked, add a bit more water. Or, if there’s still water left in the pan when the quinoa is cooked, drain it in a colander. Cover and keep warm.
  3. While the quinoa cooks, heat the 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet set over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic, and cook, shaking and stirring the pan, until very tender, about 4 minutes. Add the aji amarillo paste or chili powder, and stir. Add the chopped tomato and cook for about 4 minutes.
  4. Add the red wine vinegar and fish stock or vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. The liquid should reduce a little, but do not let it dry. Add the sliced onion and cherry tomatoes, reserving a few tomato and onion pieces for garnish. Season with half of the salt and black pepper to taste. Remove from the heat, cover, and keep warm.
  5. Meanwhile, season the fish fillets with the remaining salt and pepper. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet set over medium heat, place the fillets into it in a single layer, and sear for about 3½ minutes. Turn with a spatula and sear the other side for 3½ minutes longer, until the fish is golden brown. It should remain juicy in the center.
  6. Divide the quinoa pilaf evenly amongst 4 bowls and top with each with a fillet and ¼ of the sauce. Garnish with fresh cherry tomatoes, sliced red onion, and oregano.

Kitchen Tips

Aji amarillo paste is available in Peruvian and other Latin American markets and online, but you can also substitute fresh red chili pepper, finely chopped (1 teaspoon), or ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper.

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