The Tacu Tacu Experiment

Baked Tacu Tacu

Baked Tacu Tacu

Many of the recipes I have posted here come from some of my favorite Peruvian cookbooks, however, I always give them my own personal touch. For example, I decide on different amounts of spices based on my preference, and sometimes I add or substitute for local ingredients. But regardless of the recipe, I won’t post it until I am happy with it, and in some cases it may take weeks of experimenting — this is one of those experiments.

As you know from the recipe for Tacu Tacu I posted in April, the dish consists of refrying rice and beans with a garlic, onion, and aji amarillo sofrito. The goal is to end up with a rice and beans pancake that is crispy, savory, and spicy. But using a skillet I could only do one or two at a time, which is great if I am cooking for myself. But what if I want to cook for a dinner party. How can I prepare this dish for several people all at once?

That question was the inspiration for this experiment, and the answer came to me one morning while I was having a muffin for breakfast. A-ha! What if I baked the rice and beans in muffin tins and then served them upside down? Would it work? There was only one way to find out. All excited I made a special trip to my favorite cookware store just to get a muffin tin that may never see a sweet pastry in its life. I had other plans for it.

I am still working on the final recipe for this dish, but essentially it’s very similar to the original. After sauteing the sofrito, I just mixed it with the rice and beans in a bowl, greased the muffin tin and then put the mixture in the tin. My oven must have been really excited to get some 450°F action, because it did a great job baking that Tacu Tacu. Now if only I could find volunteers to taste test some of my experiments…