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Peruvian dish ideal for snacking

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One of the joys of being a foodie is the opportunity to use food as an avenue to learn about other cultures. Food can be a valuable tool when learning about different cultures and countries, shedding light on foreign customs and, in some instances, foreign economies.

Celebrating the cultures of other countries or regions of the world is something those who enjoy ethnic cuisine do all the time, even if they do it unintentionally. For instance, the following recipe for "Peruvian Quinoa Shrimp Chicharrones With Green Aji Sauce" from Robin Asbell's "The New Whole Grains Cookbook" is a great way to celebrate Hispanic culture.


Peruvian Quinoa Shrimp Chicharrones With Green Aji Sauce

Serves 4


1 large jalapeno chile

2 cloves garlic

1 bunch cilantro, cleaned and stemmed (2 cups leaves)

2 tablespoons lime juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup red quinoa

16 jumbo shrimp or prawns, tails on, deveined

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne1/2 cup unbleached white flour


2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Make the sauce first. In a food processor or blender, finely mince the jalapeno, garlic and cilantro. Add the lime juice and salt, and puree. Drizzle in the olive oil to make a smooth sauce. Reserve.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. After rinsing the quinoa, add it to the boiling water and cook for 10 minutes, then drain. Spread the quinoa out on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to dry. It should be quite dry to the touch; pat it with towels if necessary.

Pat the shrimp dry, if damp, and put it in a medium bowl. Mix the oregano, cumin and cayenne and sprinkle over the shrimp; toss to coat.

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Prepare 2 pie pans, one with the flour, one with the beaten eggs. Dip the shrimp in the flour, then the egg, then the quinoa. Place 2 heavy baking pans in the hot oven for 5 minutes. Take each out, spray liberally with oil, then quickly place the shrimp on the hot pans, keeping them from touching. Flip the shrimp with tongs, then bake for 5 minutes more. Cut one through the thickest part to make sure they are cooked through. The baking time will vary with the size of the shrimp.

Serve the shrimp hot with the aji sauce.