This story first appeared in Side Dish, a weekly newsletter. Subscribe at sidedishatlanta.com.

Authentic Peruvian cuisine is here in Atlanta – and you can make it at home. 

Tio Lucho’s opened earlier this summer, helmed by Chef Arnaldo Castillo of the Peruvian pop-up La Chingana and restaurateur Howard Hsu. The restaurant offers authentic Peruvian cuisine, inspired by Castillo’s time growing up in the cities of Lima and Piura. 

The entire menu at Tio Lucho’s is worth writing home about, but today Castillo is sharing a recipe for causa limeña with shrimp salad. According to Castillo, causa (which is Spanish for “the cause”) is a wartime Peruvian creation. When men were away fighting, women stayed at home and created this dish as a way to support their cause. Today, causa is one of Peru’s most iconic dishes. Tio Lucho’s does three variations of the dish: a “southern style” chicken salad version, a seasonal vegetarian version, and a tuna version with Nikkei (Peruvian/Japanese) flavors. 

Check out the full recipe below. A note from the chef: “Think of this as a Peruvian potato salad, you can do endless substitutions and use any seasonal ingredients to make up your own version. This is your template.”

A photo of Tio Lucho’s tuna causa, photographed by Bailey Garrot.

Causa Limeña & Shrimp Salad

Ingredients:

1# Yukon gold potatoes
1# Purple potatoes (if available)
2 each ripe avocado
5  tomatoes 
3-5 cherry radish
1 bunch parsley
5 limes
1-2 cups mayo (preferably Duke’s)
1/2# shrimp (21-25ct or jumbo, fresh or frozen work) (can substitute poached chicken, or canned tuna, or really any other protein)
1 jar aji amarillo
Salt to taste

*Vegetarian: Replace mayo with a vegan or vegetarian friendly substitute. Replace shrimp with more tomato and avocado, or roast favorite veggies to add to the causa.

*Special tools needed: Potato ricer (can substitute with hands or fork, or masher), large plastic or metal bowl, small casserole pan (for family style serving).

Directions:

  1. Wash and rinse potatoes, add to a medium stockpot, fill with water, add salt
  2. Bring potatoes to boil and check for doneness with a skewer or fork
  3. Let potatoes cool to room temp
  4. While potatoes are cooling, start on your shrimp salad, wash/peel/devein your shrimp
  5. Bring a small pot of water to boil. Add about 1 tablespoon of salt and your favorite dry herbs like bay leaf or thyme to flavor the water.
  6. With water boiling, add shrimp and poach for about 2 minutes. You are looking for a translucent color and a snap to the shrimp. When shrimp is overcooked it shrinks and starts to get mealy.
  7. Cool down shrimp to room temp. Cut into bite size pieces and add to a mixing bowl.
  8. Add your favorite mayo (Duke’s obvi) some salt and lime juice to the bowl and mix well. Add some aji Amarillo paste for flavor and heat. Start with 1/2 tablespoon. 
  9. Rough chop your parsley. You only want the leaves, not the bottom stems.
  10. Add a pinch of chopped parsley to your shrimp salad and combine well. Set aside in the fridge.
  11. Take your cooled potatoes and peel them all the way. Using your ricer, press all the potatoes until you have a smooth texture. Add lime juice, aji Amarillo, salt and mayo (start with 1 cup) until you have a well seasoned mash. If using different color potatoes, you can press and mix them up or keep them separate for presentation purposes. Set aside.
  12. Garnish time! Take your tomatoes and quarter them. Slice off the pulp and keep the flesh. Reserve, Cut and peel your avocado. Slice into bite size portions and reserve. Very carefully slice your radish into coins. Reserve in some water so they don’t dry out.
  13. In a small casserole, grease it with some oil (canola, grapeseed, olive) and then add potato mash and press it until you have covered the bottom of the pan. Make sure to reserve some potato for the top layer.
  14. On top of the first layer of potato, add your avocado and make a layer, season it with salt, add your tomato and make a layer, season with salt. Add some chopped parsley liberally.
  15. Cover the whole thing with your last layer of potato mash. 
  16. Grab your shrimp salad or roasted veggies and top the causa to create another layer. Garnish with your radish and another sprinkle of chopped parsley  to finish.
  17. Scoop and serve. If making personal plates, grab some potato mash and roll into a ball. Place in the middle of the plate and lightly smash into the plate and round the edges. Build your layers until finished. A ring mold will help with execution.

Sammie Purcell

Sammie Purcell is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers.