Causa limeña is one of the most patriotic dishes in Peruvian cuisine. Quite apart from the patriotic element, it's perfect for serving either cold or at room temperature together with a cava reserva (aged for more than 15 months), that will make absolutely sure you discover all those delicious flavours.
The possible origins of the name of the dish are really interesting. According to culinary historian Rodolfo Tafur, who specialises in Peruvian cuisine, the word "causa" comes from the quechua term "kausay", which means "life", and is also used as a name for potatoes.
That said, it's not altogether clear where the name really comes from, because it's surrounded by stories and legends from its country of origin. When the dish first appeared in pre-Hispanic times, it was a simple a plate of potatoes and slices of ají (a kind of chilli), two key ingredients of rural cuisine in the Andes. In colonial times, different ingredients were added to the potatoes and ají, exactly what these might be, depended on what people had to hand. It's said that in the Republican period the recipe further evolved because a noble lady from a good family in Lima found herself quite unexpectedly faced with having to feed a battalion of soldiers who were celebrating Independence Day. And this is when a boiled egg on top was added as decoration. There's also another story set during the War of the Pacific, when the Peruvian army was up against the invading Chilean forces. These were times of food shortages, and it's said that the women who accompanied the soldiers scrape together the little they had to feed the Peruvian battalions: potatoes, ají, lemon, salt and pepper. After discovering a way of mixing all these ingredients together, the women fed the troops with the rallying cry that would give the dish its name: “¡Para la causa!” (For the cause!).
Whatever the real history of causa limeña might be, this delicious recipe is made with the most typical of the country’s ingredients and is well worth a prominent place in our cookery books.
It can be served either cold or at room temperature, as you prefer. If you want to eat it right away, you'll need to add the grated egg and some slices of avocado as decoration, and then you’re ready to serve. On the other hand, if you want to serve it cold, it's best to wait until a few minutes before you’re ready to eat to decorate, so that the avocado keeps its fresh green colour and doesn't have time to go brown.
Ready to go! A Peruvian dish packed with flavour that's great served with "choclo" (Peruvian corn). With or without the Peruvian corn, at the Cava Regulatory Board we recommend accompanying the dish with a cava reserva (aged for more than 15 months) in order to enjoy to the maximum all of the flavours so typical of this dish.
Choclo Peruano: is a type of sweetcorn typical of the Andes that’s popular in Peru, in much of Latin America and also in Central America. You can either buy it specialised shops, or order it from shops that sell imported fruit and vegetables.