Rice and chicken is a typical dish from the coast of Peru. Its flavor and color characterize it once it is cooked. Other countries in Latin America also feature this dish. What distinguishes the Peruvian version is its cilantro, called culantro in Peru.
It is easy to find the ingredients for a good Peruvian rice with chicken, arroz con pollo, are easily found. Our markets and supermarkets in Cuzco provide all that you need. You will just need to find a good recipe and study the steps to get a delicious dish that will delight you.
As with much of our food, the base for this dish is what we call an aderezo. A good aderezo is what gives the food flavor. The first step is to sautee garlic and onions in a lot of oil. You also need to carefully select your rice. If you have one that is too small grained the rice will fall apart in cooking and stick to your pan. It will not come out the way it should.
Different brands of rice found in Peru that are good are the arroz cholo, arroz gallitos, the costeño, etc. However, you need to look out to make sure the grains of rice are uniform.
You then take the leaves off the stems of cilantro and run them through the blender and add to the rice. The cilantro is what will give it an exquisite color and flavor when you taste it.
Chicken is another ingredient that is important. You need the chicken to turn out tender and well cooked. The rice and seasoning is not all that gives the dish flavor, but the combination of the chicken with the rice. To give it additional color we use green peas, red peppers, and strips of julienned yellow aji peppers.
You will find this dish included on the menus of all kinds of restaurants, from the fine novo-Andean ones to the ma and pa kind we name guariques. If you wished, you could eat it everyday in Peru. Though seemingly complicated it is easy to prepare. As a result, you can easily make it up. Weekends are a good time to make up some rice with chicken. In Cuzco you just ask the market women how you should go about making it and they will tell you the recipe. Otherwise, here is a recipe from us.