Hearty Cau Cau – A Traditional Peruvian Stew Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy.

Quick Question: What Is The Flavor Of Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Onion Soup?

Cau Cau soup boasts a harmonious blend of creamy potatoes, mild spiciness from aji amarillo, savory chicken or seafood, and aromatic spices. It offers a unique and comforting flavor with hints of earthiness, heat, and richness.

In this article, we will show you everything you need to know about how to make Cau Cau. It is straightforward to make! So, let’s dive right in and get started!

Often considered a soulful delicacy, Cau Cau is more than just a meal; it’s a culinary experience that embodies the diversity and warmth of Peruvian culture. Whether you’re a novice in the kitchen or a seasoned chef, you’ll find that crafting this dish is straightforward and enjoyable

From selecting the perfect ingredients to mastering the cooking techniques, we’ve got you covered. So let’s dive right in and embark on this exciting culinary journey!

What Is Cau Cau?

Cau Cau is a traditional Peruvian stew known for its richly flavored yellow sauce. The main ingredients are tripe (cow’s stomach lining) and diced potatoes. The dish is hearty and aromatic, seasoned with turmeric, aji amarillo (yellow chili pepper), garlic, and onions. 

Often garnished with mint or parsley, it embodies the rich diversity of Peruvian cuisine, offering a blend of indigenous and African influences. This comfort food is commonly paired with rice, making it a satisfying meal.

History Of Cau Cau  

Cau Cau’s roots trace back to the complex tapestry of Peruvian history. The dish emerged during the Spanish colonial era from the amalgamation of African and indigenous culinary traditions.

Enslaved Africans, utilizing discarded tripe from their masters, crafted this flavorful stew, enhancing it with local ingredients like aji Amarillo. 

Over time, Cau Cau evolved, integrating elements from different cultures, symbolizing Peru’s diverse culinary landscape. Today, it is a testament to resilience, creativity, and the confluence of cultures on one plate.

Interesting Facts About The Cau Cau  

  • African Roots: Cau Cau originates from enslaved Africans in Peru who repurposed the often-discarded tripe.
  • Versatility: While tripe is traditional, modern versions substitute chicken or seafood, catering to varied tastes.
  • Medicinal Beliefs: Some locals believe Cau Cau aids digestion due to the turmeric and tripe ingredients.
  • Minty Touch: A sprig of mint is sometimes added for an unexpected fresh twist.
  • Vibrant Hue: The distinctive yellow color comes from aji amarillo, a native Peruvian chili.
  • Family Tradition: Many Peruvian families have their unique Cau Cau recipe passed down through generations.
  • Staple Side: Traditionally served with rice, it offers a balanced mix of protein, carbs, and spices.

What Makes The Cau Cau Special? 

  • Cultural Melting Pot: It combines African, Indigenous, and Spanish culinary traditions.
  • Unique Texture: The soft tripe contrasts delightfully with the tender potatoes, creating a mouth-feel dance.
  • Distinctive Color: The radiant yellow hue, courtesy of aji amarillo, makes it instantly recognizable.
  • Depth of Flavor: Layers of turmeric, garlic, and onions add aromatic depth, tantalizing the palate.
  • Adaptable Nature: It accommodates diverse tastes, from traditional tripe to chicken or seafood.
  • Herbal Surprise: An occasional mint garnish adds an unexpected freshness.
  • Heartwarming Comfort: Its warm, hearty composition makes it a go-to comfort food for many.

Ingredients List

Beef TripeOne pound
Fresh MintTwo to three sprigs
WaterOne and a half quarts
Cooking OilAbout two teaspoons
Garlic PasteTwo teaspoons
Medium OnionOne, diced
Aji Amarillo PasteHalf a teaspoon
SaltTo taste
PepperA pinch, to taste
TurmericOne teaspoon
CuminOne teaspoon
PotatoesOne pound, diced
Green PeasOne cup
Tripe StockAbout two cups
Bouillon PasteTwo teaspoons

Ingredient Tips 

  • Beef Tripe: Pre-soak in cold water with a splash of vinegar for an hour to remove impurities.
  • Fresh Mint: Choose vibrant green sprigs; avoid any with dark spots or wilting.
  • Cooking Oil: Opt for a neutral oil, like canola or vegetable, to not overpower the dish’s flavors.
  • Garlic Paste: Freshly crushed garlic offers a more potent aroma and flavor than store-bought pastes.
  • Aji Amarillo Paste: If unavailable, substitute with another mild chili paste, but adjust the quantity to taste.
  • Potatoes: Waxy varieties maintain their shape better in stews.
  • Green Peas: Fresh or frozen work, but avoid overcooking to retain vibrant color and texture.

Can You Vary The Recipe With Other Ingredients?

  • Keto: Replace potatoes with radishes or cauliflower florets. Ensure the bouillon paste is sugar-free.
  • Paleo: Again, swap out potatoes, this time with sweet potatoes. Opt for natural, homemade stock, and avoid processed ingredients or additives.
  • Gluten-Free: Ensure that any bouillon paste, stock, or seasonings used are certified gluten-free.
  • Whole30: Use compliant bouillon or stock without additives. Replace regular potatoes with sweet potatoes and ensure aji amarillo paste has no added sugars or non-compliant ingredients.
  • Vegetarian: Substitute beef tripe with firm tofu or a hearty mushroom variety like portobello, maintaining the dish’s texture.
  • Vegan: Follow the vegetarian modifications and also ensure bouillon paste or stock is plant-based.

Recipe Directions

  • Boil Tripe: Boil tripe for 30 minutes, drain.
  • Simmer with Mint: Refill the pot with fresh water, add tripe and mint. Simmer for another 30 minutes.
  • Cut Tripe: Cool and chop into chunks.
  • Sauté: In oil, sauté onions and garlic until translucent.
  • Season: Add turmeric, cumin, black pepper, salt, and aji amarillo paste. Cook for 10 minutes.
  • Tripe & Stock: Add tripe and 1 cup of stock; boil for 10 minutes.
  • Potatoes: Add and cook until tender.
  • Peas: Stir in and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Serve: Garnish with mint. Enjoy hot!

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings 

  • Protein Variations: Swap beef tripe for chicken, shrimp, or even tofu for vegetarian versions.
  • Rice Add-On: A side of Peruvian white rice makes Cau Cau even more hearty and fulfilling.
  • Corn: Add boiled Peruvian giant corn (choclo) for an extra bite and texture.
  • Olives: Scatter some sliced black olives on top for a salty, tangy touch.
  • Boiled Eggs: Sliced boiled eggs on top can provide an additional layer of richness.
  • Avocado Slices: Fresh slices of avocado can offer a creamy contrast to the stew’s warmth.
  • Red Pepper Flakes: A sprinkle of these can elevate the heat for those who enjoy extra spice.

Scaling The Recipe

  • Ingredient Proportion: Always maintain ingredient ratios. If doubling, double all ingredients. If halving, halve all.
  • Cookware Size: Upscale requires larger pots to accommodate increased volumes, whereas downscaling may need smaller ones to ensure even cooking.
  • Cooking Time: While ingredient quantities change, cooking time doesn’t always scale linearly. For instance, doubling the recipe might not double the cooking time. Monitor closely.
  • Taste Test: As you scale, seasonings can behave differently. Always taste and adjust accordingly.
  • Heat Distribution: Larger quantities may require lower heat to cook evenly without burning. At the same time, smaller batches need a touch higher heat.
  • Stirring: Upscaled recipes demand more frequent stirring to prevent sticking or uneven cooking.

What Is Used For Garnishing? 

  • Fresh Mint Sprigs: Their vibrant green hue and aromatic scent contrast the rich, yellow stew, refreshing the palate.
  • Sliced Boiled Eggs: Add a creamy richness and visual contrast.
  • Chopped Coriander/Cilantro: Introduces a fresh, herby note and vibrant green color.
  • Black Olives: Offer a salty contrast and dark visual pop.
  • Red Pepper Flakes: Adds a hint of spicy heat and a splash of color.
  • Lemon or Lime Wedges: Bright yellow or green, providing a zesty kick when squeezed atop.

Can I Make Cau Cau In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot? 

Slow Cooker

  • This method intensifies flavors by slow-cooking for hours. 
  • After sautéing onions, garlic, and spices in a pan, transfer everything to the slow cooker, including tripe, and let it simmer. 
  • Add potatoes and peas in the last couple of hours to prevent overcooking.

Instant Pot

  • This speeds up the cooking process with pressure cooking. 
  • Use the sauté function for onions, garlic, and spices
  • Add other ingredients, set to manual high pressure, and significantly reduce the traditional stovetop cooking time.

Can I Use Store Bought Broth, Or Should I Make My Own? 

Store-Bought Broth

  • It’s convenient, especially when short on time. However, choose a high-quality, low-sodium version to control seasoning. Some store-bought broths contain preservatives and additives, so reading the label is vital.

Homemade Broth

  • Making your own ensures a fresh, rich flavor and gives you control over ingredients, avoiding additives and excess sodium. The collagen from simmered bones in homemade broth can elevate the texture and taste of Cau Cau.

Can I Use Different Types Of Meat/Fish/Pasta/Vegetables For The Stew? 

  • Meat: While traditionally made with tripe, other meats like chicken, lamb, or pork can be used. The cooking time might vary based on the chosen meat.
  • Fish: Firm white fish or shrimp can provide a lighter variation. Ensure reduced cooking time to avoid overcooking seafood.
  • Pasta: Adding pasta like orzo or small shells can transform Cau Cau into a heartier soup. Cook pasta separately to prevent overcooking.
  • Vegetables: Swap or augment potatoes and peas with veggies like bell peppers, carrots, or zucchini.

Success Tips – Tips And Tricks For Making The Soup

  • Browning: Sear meat before stewing. This caramelizes the meat’s surface, enhancing flavor.
  • Consistent Cuts: Ensure ingredients, especially vegetables, are of uniform size for even cooking.
  • Layering: Add ingredients in stages, starting with those that take longer to cook.
  • Deglazing: After searing, broth, or wine lift browned bits from the pan. These deepen the stew’s flavor.
  • Low and Slow: A good stew shouldn’t boil but gently simmer. This melds flavors and tenderizes meat.
  • Skimming: Skim off excess fat or impurities during cooking for a clearer broth.
  • Resting: Before serving, let the stew sit for a while. Flavors continue to develop as it cools slightly.
  • Thickening: For a richer consistency, use flour and cornstarch. Alternatively, remove the lid for the final cooking period to reduce the liquid.

Nutritional Values  

Cau Cau isn’t just a taste sensation; it’s packed with nutritional value. From protein-rich beef tripe to essential vitamins in its colorful ingredients, every bite is a nod to wholesome Peruvian goodness.

What Are The Total Calories In The Stew? 

Calculating the exact caloric content of the Cau Cau stew requires precise measurements of each ingredient and knowledge of their caloric values. However, a generous serving of Cau Cau might range between 300-500 calories. 

However, this is a rough estimate. Using a nutrition calculator with exact measurements is advised for a precise count.

Dietary Restrictions Of The Cau Cau 

  • Gluten: Generally gluten-free, but always check store-bought broth or bouillon for hidden gluten sources.
  • Meat: Contains beef tripe, making it unsuitable for vegetarians or vegans.
  • Allergens: Ingredients like garlic or aji amarillo might cause reactions in sensitive individuals.
  • Low-FODMAP: Contains onion and garlic, which aren’t suitable for those following this diet.
  • Kosher/Halal: It might not be compliant depending on meat processing.
  • Low-fat/Low-sodium: It contains cooking oil and salt, though it can be adjusted for those watching intake.
  • Carbohydrates: Potatoes contribute carbs, making it a consideration for low-carb dieters.

Health Benefits Of The Cau Cau 

  • Nutrient-Rich Tripe: Beef tripe is a good source of protein and offers essential nutrients like selenium and B12.
  • Digestive Aid: Mint, a key ingredient, is known for its digestive benefits and soothing properties.
  • Anti-inflammatory Spices: Turmeric contains curcumin, a potent anti-inflammatory agent, while cumin aids digestion.
  • Vitamin Boost: Onions and green peas provide vitamins and antioxidants beneficial for overall health.
  • Aji Amarillo: This Peruvian pepper adds flavor and offers capsaicin, which has metabolism-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Low in Fat: Compared to other meat-based stews, tripe is relatively low in fat.

Nutrition Table 

How Can I Make Cau Cau Lower In Sodium? 

  • Homemade Broth: Opt for homemade stock or broth without added salt, giving you complete control over sodium content.
  • Limit Bouillon: Reduce or eliminate bouillon paste, which often contains high sodium.
  • Salt Awareness: Add salt sparingly, if at all. Rely on natural flavors and spices for taste.
  • Fresh Ingredients: Use fresh vegetables instead of canned, as canned options often have added salt for preservation.
  • Herbs & Spices: Boost flavor with sodium-free seasonings like fresh mint, cumin, turmeric, or aji amarillo.
  • Taste and Adjust: Season gradually, tasting as you go, to avoid over-salting.

How Can I Make Cau Cau Lower In Sugar? 

  • Broth Selection: Opt for homemade or store-bought broths with no added sugars.
  • Aji Amarillo Paste: Some commercial versions might contain sugar. Check labels or make your own.
  • Vegetable Choice: While naturally sweet, peas have some sugars. You can reduce the quantity or omit them.
  • Limit Carbs: While not direct sugar, reducing the number of potatoes can decrease the overall carb content.
  • Seasonings: Ensure any seasoning mixes or bouillon are free from added sugars.
  • Fresh Ingredients: Using fresh, whole ingredients eliminates the risk of hidden sugars often found in processed foods.

How To Serve The Cau Cau At Its Best? 

  • Presentation: Opt for a deep bowl to highlight the rich, colorful stew and allow for ample broth.
  • Temperature: Cau Cau is best enjoyed hot, right after cooking. This maximizes the melding of flavors.
  • Garnish: A sprig of fresh mint on top adds vibrancy, compliments the taste, and evokes authenticity.
  • Accompaniments: Traditionally, it’s paired with white rice on the side, soaking up the rich flavors.
  • Lime Wedges: Offering lime wedges allows diners to add a zesty freshness.
  • Crispy Bread: A slice of crusty bread can be an excellent companion, perfect for savoring every drop of the flavorful broth.
  • Serve Promptly: Once ready, serve immediately to retain warmth and aroma.

Perfect Side Dishes To Complement Cau Cau 

  • White Rice: A classic accompaniment, rice absorbs the stew’s flavors and adds a mild counterpoint.
  • Quinoa: A nutritious Andean grain, it offers a nutty flavor and unique texture.
  • Steamed Vegetables: Lightly seasoned vegetables, like broccoli or green beans, provide a fresh contrast.
  • Tostones or Plantains: Their slight sweetness contrasts the savory stew.
  • Crisp Green Salad: A tangy vinaigrette over mixed greens can cleanse the palate between bites.
  • Salsa Criolla: This Peruvian red onion relish adds freshness and tang.
  • Cornbread: Its sweetness and soft texture are a delightful contrast to Cau Cau’s spiciness and richness.

How Long Can We Store The Stew? 

  • Refrigeration: Transfer Cau Cau to an airtight container once cooled to room temperature. It can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  • Freezing: For extended storage, freeze the stew in portioned, airtight containers or freezer bags, eliminating as much air as possible. Cau Cau can last up to 2-3 months in the freezer.
  • Reheating: Always reheat only the amount you plan to consume, and ensure it’s heated thoroughly. Avoid repeated reheating, as it can degrade flavor and pose safety concerns.

Can I Make The Stew In Advance? 

  • Cook Completely: Prepare the stew as directed, ensuring all ingredients are cooked through.
  • Cool: Allow the stew to reach room temperature.
  • Store: Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate.
  • Reheat: When ready to serve, reheat gently on the stovetop until piping hot.
  • Serve: Garnish fresh, ensuring the stew looks and tastes its best.

What Can We Do With Leftovers? 

  • Cau Cau Tacos: Use the stew as a filling for tacos. Add fresh toppings like avocado or salsa criolla.
  • Enchiladas: Use as a filling for enchiladas, topped with a mild cheese and baked.
  • Pasta Sauce: Add to pasta for a unique fusion dish, perhaps with a sprinkle of cheese.
  • Sandwich Spread: Blend into a thicker consistency and spread on sandwiches or toast.
  • Pie Filling: Use the stew for a savory pie or empanada.
  • Omelet Filling: Mix into an omelet for a hearty breakfast.
  • Soup Base: Thin with broth to create a rich soup, adding veggies or grains.

Special Tools/Equipment Needed

  • Heavy-Bottomed Pot or Dutch Oven: Essential for even cooking and preventing the stew from burning.
  • Sharp Knife: For precise cuts, especially when dicing the tripe and vegetables.
  • Cutting Board: Preferably two for meat and one for vegetables to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Slotted Spoon: Useful for removing boiled tripe and other ingredients when necessary.
  • Fine Mesh Strainer: Helpful when draining the initial boiled water from the tripe.
  • Wooden Spoon: For sautéing and stirring without scratching your pot.
  • Measuring Spoons and Cups: Ensures accurate quantities of spices and other ingredients.
  • Airtight Containers: For storing leftovers or portioning out for later use.
  • Ladle: For serving the stew.
  • Thermometer: To ensure the stew is heated to a safe temperature when reheating.

Final Thoughts

We hope that you have enjoyed this article! Make sure to check out our site when you get the chance! We cover a range of fantastic topics which you are sure to love. Thanks for reading!

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is There A Particular Type Of Potato Best Suited For Cau Cau?

While any potato variety can work, waxy potatoes like Yukon Gold or red potatoes tend to hold better shape in stews, making them ideal for Cau Cau.

I’m Not A Fan Of Tripe. Can I Still Enjoy Cau Cau?

While traditional Cau Cau uses tripe, you can substitute it with chicken, beef, or even seafood. The unique blend of spices and flavors will still shine through.

What’s The Significance Of The Yellow Color In Cau Cau?

The vibrant yellow hue primarily comes from the aji amarillo paste, a staple in Peruvian cuisine. It not only adds color but a distinctive, mildly spicy flavor.

I Can’t Find Aji Amarillo Paste. Is There A Substitute?

While aji amarillo offers a unique flavor, in its absence, you can use a blend of bell pepper for color and mild chili pepper for heat. Remember, the goal is to mimic the mild spiciness of aji Amarillo.

Can I Make Cau Cau Spicier?

Yes! Adjust the amount of aji amarillo paste or add freshly chopped chili peppers during cooking to dial up the heat to your preference.

Hearty Cau Cau - A Traditional Peruvian Stew Recipe

Hearty Cau Cau – A Traditional Peruvian Stew Recipe

0 from 0 votes
Recipe by Hanna Barnes Course: Stew


Prep time


Cooking time







Cau Cau is a hearty Peruvian stew made primarily from beef tripe and potatoes. It’s comforting and tantalizingly flavorful, infused with spices and vibrant aji amarillo paste.


  • 1 Pound 1 Beef Tripe

  • 2-3 Springs 2-3 Fresh Mint

  • Quarts Water

  • 2 Teaspoons 2 Cooking Oil

  • 2 Teaspoons 2 Garlic Paste

  • 1 1 Medium Onion (Diced)

  • 1/2 Teaspoon 1/2 Aji Amarillo Paste

  • Salt (To Taste)

  • 1 Pinch 1 Pepper

  • 1 Teaspoon 1 Turmeric

  • 1 Teaspoon 1 Cumin

  • 1 Pound 1 Potatoes (Diced)

  • 1 Cup 1 Green Peas

  • 2 Cups 2 Tripe Stock

  • 2 Teaspoons 2 Bouillon Paste

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Boil Your Tripe
    The first thing you need to do is get your tripe ready. To do this, you need to boil it for about thirty minutes.
  • Put New Water In The Pot
    Throw out the old water and fill the pot with fresh water. Put the trip in the bowl and add the mint. Let these two ingredients simmer for about thirty minutes before moving on to the next step.
  • Chop Up The Tripe
    Take the tripe out of the pot, put it on a cutting board, and let it cool down. Make sure not to throw out the water! When your tripe has cooled down, cut it into chunks.
  • Sauté Onions And Garlic
    Grab a pot or a pan and add a bit of cooking oil. Next, chop your onion and garlic and toss them in the pan. Make sure that it has heated up thoroughly and on a medium-high heat.
  • Add Some Seasoning
    Once the garlic and onion are soft, add the turmeric, cumin, black pepper, and salt. Stir until they coat the onion and garlic. Next, add your aji amarillo paste and stir it again. Allow these ingredients to cook for a further ten minutes.
  • Add The Tripe
    Grab your chopped tribe and add it to the pot. Next, add about one cup of stock into the mix and allow it to boil for about ten minutes before moving on.
  • Add Your Potatoes
    Add your potatoes to the pot and allow them to cook through before you move on to step eight.
  • Add The Peas
    Once your potatoes are cooked, add your peas to the stew and let them cook for about five minutes.
  • Serve Your Stew
    Scoop some of your stew into a bowl and put a little mint on top for a garnish. This stew is best enjoyed hot!
  • Enjoy The Fruit Of Your Labor
    With that, your stew should be ready to enjoy!

Recipe Video


  • Always use fresh tripe; it ensures optimal flavor and texture.
  • Adjust spiciness by varying the amount of aji amarillo paste.
  • For a thicker stew, reduce the broth quantity slightly.
  • Fresh mint not only adds flavor but also aids in reducing the tripe’s strong aroma.
  • It’s always best enjoyed hot; reheat leftovers only once to maintain quality.
  • Pairing with white rice enhances the overall dining experience.

Leave a Comment

Author picture

soup chick!

You've entered a realm where each bowl isn't just a meal; it's an expedition to the core of comfort, well-being, and the sheer delight of feeding both body and soul. My name is Julia, and I'm here to navigate you through the flavorful worlds of Soup Chick. Together, we'll uncover the artistry behind each recipe, share stories that warm the heart, and celebrate the simple pleasures of making and enjoying soup.

More About Me