Chef's CornerDesiree Brassert

Peruvian Causa Rellena

Chef's corner headerLet’s showcase the humble potato with this cold dish that is a soul satisfying starter, lunch, or snack. From the Quechuan word “kausaq” = “to give life”, spicy mashed potatoes are layered with either cooked chicken, avocado, tuna, shrimp, mayo or no mayo, hard boiled eggs, olives, or any combination thereof.

In this recipe I am using a tall ring mold with shrimp, avocado, and egg salad, but a deep glass vessel also works well to serve lasagna-style.


  • 1 kilo or 2 lbs of peeled potatoes
  • 1 or 2 yellow Peruvian aji peppers, to taste
  • 4 tablespoons of lime juice, divided
  • 6 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cooked and shredded chicken, cooked shrimp, or cooked or canned tuna
  • Thin slices of avocado
  • 1 hard boiled egg
  • 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise (optional)
  • Pitted olives for garnish (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • Parsley or cilantro leaves for garnish
  • Slivers of aji peppers for garnish


  1. Boil the potatoes in salted water until completely cooked and soft.
  2. Boil the seeded aji peppers separately. Peel the peppers and blend the flesh with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of lime juice.
  3. Mash the potatoes until smooth and mix with the pepper purée.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Allow to cool.
  6. Build the causa with a layer of cold potatoes, avocado slices, chicken, mayo, or whatever your choices, and finishing with a top layer of mashed potatoes.
  7. Make a dressing with remaining olive oil, lime juice, a little chopped herbs, and salt and pepper.
  8. Before serving, finish the presentation with some of the remaining filling on top: eggs, olives, shrimp, parsley or cilantro and drizzle some dressing around the bottom of the serving plate for the final touch.