Causa Rellena is a unique Peruvian appetizer consisting of potatoes, protein and avocados presented as a small layered cake. First, yellow potatoes are boiled, flavored and mashed and then the protein, which is usually tuna or chicken, is mixed with mayonnaise, herbs and spices.
The avocado is sliced thinly and the mashed potatoes are pressed into a mold to create the first layer. The filling and sliced avocados are used to create the inner layers with the top layer being more potatoes. Causa Rellena is served cold.
The informal meaning of causa is cause and rellena means stuffed. While chicken and tuna are the most common proteins, other lesser used proteins are light colored seafoods like white fish and crabs and white meats such as turkey or even boiled eggs for the vegetarian version.
The most authentic recipes are made with Peruvian potatoes which are hard to find outside of Peru, so yellow fleshed potatoes are the next best substitute. The potatoes’ deep yellow color is aided by the addition of Aji Amarillo paste which may also be troublesome to find, so yellow peppers may be used.
Origin & Cultural Significance
There’s no dispute that Causa Rellena originated from Peru, the country with the most potato varieties. The most accepted story of origin is that during the Pacific war the countries’ citizens were encouraged to “support the cause” by helping to feed hungry soldiers (hence the name causa) and that Causa Rellena’s creative originality came from food scarcity and the use of whatever ingredients were available.
Peruvian Causa Rellena Recipe
- Yellow potatoes, large - 3
- Canned tuna - 3
- Aji Amarillo paste - 1 tbsp
- Yellow peppers – 2
- Red onion - 1
- Tomato, medium - 1
- Avocado – 1/2
- Mayonnaise – 3 tbsp
- Chives - 1 tbsp
- Juice of half a lemon
- Parsley leaves
- Black Olives
- Peel and chop the potatoes into medium pieces and put them to boil in a pot with water and a pinch of salt.
- Chop the onion, tomato and yellow pepper into very small cubes.
- Cut the avocado into thin slices.
- Mix the tomato, onion, part of the yellow pepper, the cans of tuna, mayonnaise and chives. Add a pinch of salt.
- If the potatoes are ready, put them in a large container and mash them. Add a splash of olive oil and lemon juice.This is where the aji paste is added.
- Mix everything very well until it is smooth but not too creamy. The potatoes need to hold their shape.
- Using a round mold, start with a layer of mashed potatoes and press lightly with a spoon.
- Add a layer of sliced avocadoes then a layer of the tuna mix
- Then add a last layer of mashed potatoes, again pressing lightly.
- Carefully slide off the mold. Garnish with parsley and
olives – optional.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 563Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 835mgCarbohydrates: 68gFiber: 9gSugar: 12gProtein: 39g