Fish-Stuffed Caigua
from Lambayeque

Caigua con Relleno de Pescado

Serves 8

Caigua is the odd, twisted-shaped green gourd with a hollow center that is found all over Peru. I have not yet discovered its botanical history. From a culinary point of view, Peruvians empty the vegetable of seeds and veins and fill it with fish or chicken stuffing. It is popular with families and ubiquitous in public markets.

Since, caigua is not, to my knowledge, available in New York, Peruvians have suggested that sweet red or green peppers can be legitimately substituted.

The Stuffing

  • 8 medium sweet red or green peppers
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 pound fish fillets, such as flounder, red snapper,
  •      or a similar fish; cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 slices white bread, crusts removed, and moistened with
  •      milk (to make 1 cup)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thin (1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

The Broth Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon corn oil
  • 1/4 cup sliced onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped tomato
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 cloves garlic, ground to a paste with 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup reserved fish broth

1. Cut out a 2-inch round from the top of each pepper and remove the core and seeds. Set aside.

2. Make the stuffing: Bring the water to a boil. Add the fish fillets,cover the pan, and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Remove the fish and cool. Reserve 1 cup broth. Pull the cubes apart into threads. In a bowl mix the fish threads with the moistened bread and add the egg, onion, salt, and pepper, mixing well.

3. Make the broth sauce: Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the onion, tomato, paprika, and garlic paste and stir-fry over low heat for 3 minutes. Add the 1 cup reserved fish broth and bring to a boil.

4. Fill the peppers with the fish stuffing and replace the tops. (Should there be any stuffing left over, shape egg-sized fish balls and set aside.)

5. Place the stuffed peppers in the broth sauce (with any fish balls from any leftover stuffing). Simmer, covered, over low heat for 15 minutes.

Serve hot, with rice.

Special Note: The same stuffing may be used to prepare egg-shaped balls, Albondigas de Pescado. Cook in 1 cup of either fish or chicken broth for the time indicated in the recipe. Serve with rice.

  • from:
  • The Exotic Kitchens of Peru
  • The Land of the Inca
  • by Copeland Marks
  • M. Evans and Company, Inc.
  • Paperback, 230 pages, 2001
  • ISBN-10: 0871319578
  • Reprinted by permission.

Buy the Book


The Exotic Kitchens of Peru


Visit Peru page


This page modified February 2007

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