PAPAS RELLENAS - Daring Cooks' Challenge - March/2011


Kathlyn of Bake Like a Ninja was our Daring Cooks’ March 2011 hostess. Kathlyn challenges us to make two classic Peruvian dishes: Ceviche de Pescado from “Peruvian Cooking – Basic Recipes” by Annik Franco Barreau. And Papas Rellenas adapted from a home recipe by Kathlyn’s Spanish teacher, Mayra.

This month the Daring Cooks visited Peru through this amazingly delicious challenge. We had to choose one of the classic Peruvian dishes chosen by our hostess Kathlyn.  I chose to make Papas Rellenas, which is mashed potato dough filled with ground beef (I used pork) and hard boiled eggs, then breaded and deep fried. They are delicious but I wasn't lucky with the potatoes found here in Korea. There aren't different potatoes to choose from (at least they all look quite similar) and they are not labeled as starchy or waxy. So I found out (the hard way) that they are waxy potatoes, because they are moist and creamy, but not the best for this kind of dough. So it was really difficult shaping them, and at the time of frying, they would crack the breading and start spilling in the oil. But, in the end, it came out just fine, not very golden but delicious. I will definitely try it again as soon as I have access to starchy potatoes. By the way, I learned a lot about potatoes this month at the forum, where our fellow Daring Cook Audax shared with us lots of information and also, at The Cook's Thesaurus where there is some interesting info about potatoes.

Well, in the end, I had filling mixed with dough, some cracked Papas, but I almost never lose my temper... :o)

Mr. Rellenas Head, Mr. Mashed Potato Head, Mr. Papa Head, were the names given to my boy at the forum :o))
Thank you Kathlyn, for this amazing challenge!!

If you want to see the amazing Peruvian food the Daring Cooks have made this month, visit THE DARING KITCHEN, where you will also find the original recipes and guidelines for this challenge.

(my alterations in red)


For the dough:
2¼ lb (1 kg) russet potatoes
1 large egg

For the filling:
2 tablespoon (30 ml) of a light flavored oil
½ lb (250 grams) ground (minced) beef (I used pork)
6 black olives, pitted and chopped (use more if you love olives)
3 hard boiled large eggs, chopped (I used  one whole quail egg for each Papa)
1 small onion, finely diced (about 1 cup (240 ml))
½ cup (120 ml) (90 gm) (3 oz) raisins, soaked in 1 cup (240 ml) boiling water for 10 minutes, then minced (I halved the amount)
1 finely diced aji pepper (ok to sub jalapeño or other pepper – if you are shy about heat, use less)(I used Korean red pepper flakes, about 1/4 tsp)
2 cloves garlic, minced or passed through a press (if you love garlic, add more)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (4 gm) (1/8 oz) ground cumin (use more if you like cumin)
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) (2 gm) (1/16 oz) sweet paprika (I omiited, couldn't find)
¼ c. white wine, water or beef stock for deglazing (I used wine)
Salt and pepper to taste

For the final preparation:
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm) (5 oz) all-purpose flour
Dash cayenne pepper (I omitted)
Dash salt
1 cup dry (240 ml) (110 gm) (4 oz) or fresh (240 ml) (60 gm) (2 oz) bread crumbs (you can use regular, panko, make your own or use store-bought)

Oil for frying (enough for 2” (50 mm) in a heavy pan like a medium sized dutch oven)


In order to save time, you can boil the potatoes, and while they are cooling, you can make the filling. While that is cooling, you can make the potato “dough.” In this way, little time is spent waiting for anything to cool.

For the dough:

Boil the potatoes until they pierce easily with a fork. Remove them from the water and cool.

Once the potatoes have cooled, peel them and mash them with a potato masher or force them through a potato ricer (preferred).

Add egg, salt and pepper and knead “dough” thoroughly to ensure that ingredients are well combined and uniformly distributed.

While the potatoes cool down before finishing the dough, you can make the filling:

Gently brown onion and garlic in oil (about 5 minutes).

Add the chili pepper and sauté for a couple more minutes.

Add ground beef and brown.

Add raisins, cumin and paprika and cook briefly (a few seconds).

Deglaze the pan with white wine.

Add olives and cook for a few moments longer.

Add hard boiled eggs and fold in off heat.

Allow filling to cool before forming “papas.”

Forming and frying the papas:

Use three small bowls to prepare the papas. In one, combine flour, cayenne and salt. In the second, a beaten egg with a tiny bit of water. Put bread crumbs in the third

Flour your hands and scoop up 1/6 of the total dough to make a round pancake with your hands. Make a slight indentation in the middle for the filling.

Spoon a generous amount of filling into the center and then roll the potato closed, forming a smooth, potato-shaped casing around the filling. Repeat with all dough (you should have about 6 papas).

Heat 1 ½ - 2 inches (4 – 5 cm) of oil in a pan to about 350 – 375° F (175 - 190°C).

Dip each papa in the three bowls to coat: first roll in flour, then dip in egg, then roll in bread crumbs.

Fry the papas (in batches if necessary) about 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Flip once in the middle of frying to brown both sides.

Drain on paper towel and store in a 200ºF (95ºC) (gas mark ¼) oven if frying in batches.
Serve with salsa criolla (or other sauce of preference) immediately.


  1. Mr Mashed Head is a charmer sorry to hear about the limited choice of spuds in your areas. But you seem to have overcome this and made marvellous papas so so cute. Lovely work on this challenge as always. Also I love the lemonade spoon photos well done.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  2. Your papas came out beautifully, no matter about the potatoes you had! And I actually love the color you got on the fry. Absolutely beautiful! And your Mr. Papa is great! He really reflects the joy you bring to the challenges! Great work!

  3. Great job with the challenge! I definitely will need to bookmark all the wonderful resources about potatoes when I attempt the papas rellenas - haha I LOVE your smiley face!

  4. Sorry that the potato options were so limited, but it looks like that didn't stop you at all! Your papas look wonderful, and I love Mr. Papa Head. :) As always, beautiful work. And, also as always, it is a pleasure "cooking" with you in the forums, with your wonderfully sweet commments and encouragement of everyone.

  5. I love seeing other people who play with their food, too. A much-needed smile, thanks!

  6. I love your mr mashed potato, he's so cute :-). Your pictures look so professional, and appetizing. I'll be stopping by your blog more.

  7. Renata, you did such a great job--all the papas you show here are completely uncracked--and I'll bet even the cracked ones tasted great. :) I really like the shot with the hard boiled egg inside; I found that eggs to be a surprising part of the filling, but nice. Well done on the challenge!

  8. I was going to do this challenge, Renata. I bought a bag of potatoes, set them on the step while I opened my door and forgot them there. Two days later I see a bag of potatoes on my front step, frozen solid! Threw those out. Bought another bag but just didn't get to it. I have never understood the description 'waxy' with potatoes. Perhaps this will help me remember. Great little Potato Head!

  9. I think your rellenas came out beautiful! They are so round and pretty and those cute little eggs for eyes are adorable :D

  10. What a lovely post :) You look like you had so much fun with this challenge and the result looks beautiful and tasty too! :)

  11. Wonderful job! You really had fun this month, didn't you?! I love Mr. Potato Head!

  12. Your papas are lovely! And Mr. Papas-Head was definitely a hit with everyone!!

    I have a feeling that the potatoes in your challenge, while finicky, were quite delicious together with the filling. I made some papas last night out of leftover mashed potatoes which were super soft and hard to form, but they were yummy! And the softness was a nice texture with the filling.

    Lovely challenge!!

  13. with limited varieties of potato you made awesome delicious fried balls. it is similar to our breaded cutlet, that is devoid of any filling though.

  14. I love Mr Papa Head. I used starchy potatoes and still had a little trouble with cracking - I pan fried and they would crack right at the top of the oil - but it wasn't too bad. The pork sounds good - will have to try this with some different meats.

  15. Your papas rellenas (not relleñas) look very good. One trick is to add about a TB of flour to your potato mash to give it more body. Also, this is one recipe which can be successfully done with instant mashed potato, just adding less liquid. Or you can combine your mashed potato with some flakes of instant mash to firm it up a bit.

  16. Love the way you plated Mr. Papa Head :) And the filling sounds yummy, great job on this challenge!

  17. @ Frances Thanks for your tips and for correcting my bad Spanish :/ I swear I have seen it written like that in many places. I will correct it, thanks for advising!

  18. Oh I love the papas head pic ha ha. Well sorry you had problems with the potatoes but from the pics one could not tell you had difficulty in making them. They look awesome!

  19. Renata! Great challenge, I love your pictures, especially, Mr. Papa Head. He's so cute! haha :)

  20. Renata, I LOVE your Mr Papa, he is making me smile.
    You did a lot better than me if you didn't lose your temper - I lost mine. It was still a fun challenge though.

  21. When I looked at my finished papas rellenas, I had the same silly grin on my face as you Mr Potato Head.

    Beautiful work on this challenge.

  22. LOVE the face! These came out beautifully despite your trouble with the potatoes!

  23. The look lovely and golden to me, even if your potatoes weren't quite right. Cute idea with the head!

  24. I love the shape of your papas, and they are a beautiful golden colour! Perfect job!

  25. You did a wonderful job with this challenge. I love that you had humor in making your papas...so cute;)

  26. I love the Mr. Potato aka Rellenos Head reference and photo. Your papas look amazingly gorgeous and delicious, but what else is new? Love how perfect that egg is, just calling my name! I forgot about the challenge and put up boring noodles instead, totally unaware, a first..lol Beautifully done, Renata!

  27. The last photo is so funny.
    I tried to make this challenge but when I tried to fry them the potato broke in lots of pieces :((
    yours look perfect Renata


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