Arroz chaufa is a kind of Peruvian rice dish that is essentially like the “fried rice” that is familiar around the world. This dish is actually a fusion of Peruvian and Chinese cooking, where elements of both cultures show through in the food. Some who are knowledgeable about the dish claim that it was made popular through an influx of Chinese immigrants to Peru, where eventually, a community, locally called chifa, established many elements of Chinese culture in that country.
Various ingredients commonly associated with China show the regional influence on the dish. Ginger is often used. Soy sauce, a traditional Oriental flavoring, is also common. Chinese varieties of onions may also be added.
Some classic Latin American elements also get added to many arroz chaufa dishes. These include red peppers strips or pieces, as well as scallions, garlic, or other stock cooking elements from Peru and surrounding areas. All of these are added to other ingredients like cooked eggs and green vegetables to create the entire dish.
In addition to all of the above, various meat items also play a part in the creation of many arroz chaufa dishes. Chicken or beef can be part of the dish. Other versions of this fried rice presentation include duck or seafood, as well as even more exotic meats like that of a lizard or eel. Some specific types of meat, such as tongue, are also popular.
Most versions of arroz chaufa rely on pre-cooking the rice, which is added at the end of the cooking process. Cooks first add the meat and other ingredients which have a necessary cooking time for food safety. Toward the end, elements that will be less cooked will be added. Many of the flavoring elements are added early on to give the dish time to blend the flavors together. The egg is also added early and cut up into pieces.
Much of the popularity of arroz chaufa and fried rice dishes around the world is the texture of the rice and other ingredients. Rice, when boiled, becomes soft. When fried, it gains a bit of variety in texture, as well as an appealing coloration and taste from soaking up some of the flavors that it is cooked with. Fried rice can also be an easy dish to serve and store.