Pollo a la Brasa (Peruvian Chicken) #CooktheBooksClub

Pull up your favorite coffee mug and tuck in with a blanket, because it’s Cook the Books time (and what’s better than a coffee, a blanket, and a good book?)  The April/May book pick was Buttermilk Graffiti by Edward Lee.

The book follows Edward Lee as he traverses the United Stated looking for unique ethnic restaurants with a story.  Lee goes to these restaurants, enjoys the food and then sits down with the chef/owners to hear their stories.

Lee’s specialty is fusion cuisine, but not in the “break all the rules” trendy way.  No.  Lee believes that our experiences change and shape us.  And those experiences, those twists on a recipe because we can’t get those ingredients in our area, that is what makes fusion cuisine. It’s about the heart and the memories, that’s what makes good food.

You guys!  I love that way of thinking about fusion!  So often, I set out to make an authentic recipe, but continually question its actual authenticity (with the internet, you never know) or I have such trouble finding ingredients that I have to make substitutions.  I always end up loving the recipes, though – and isn’t that the real goal here?

While I loved his way of thinking, I did not love most of the recipes described or included in the book (most were a bit too far out of my comfort zone)…except this one.  A Peruvian chicken recipe that translates to “grilled chicken”…Yep, grilled chicken that I baked in the oven, sriracha that I used in place of gochujang, ground ginger in place of fresh…substitutions, remember?

This kids were a bit skeptical at first, saying, “Mom it smells like tacos, I thought you said we’re having chicken!”  Skepticism aside, they ate with gusto and we all enjoyed this Peruvian version of roast chicken!

Pollo a la Brasa

1 whole chicken (about 4 pounds)
¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
¼ cup lime juice
2 tablespoons sriracha
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

Place the marinade ingredients in a small food processor or blender and pulse until smooth and combined.

Loosen the skin of the chicken.  Rub the marinade all over the chicken, both under the skin and over it.  Place the chicken in a large casserole dish, cover and refrigerate overnight.

About ½ hour before baking, remove the chicken from the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and bake the chicken, covered for about 45 minutes.  Remove cover and cook for another 20-30 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked through and skin is browned and crispy.  Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before slicing.


  1. I loved Lee's attitude towards ethnic and fusion cooking too. I really enjoyed the memoir and I think I would enjoy that chicken as well.

  2. This recipe is also on my to-try list: your chicken looks great so now I am even more motivated :)

  3. I thought about this one although I ended up writing about something else. Was actually in Lima and Cusco Peru while on a business trip. The altitude was a killer but it was a great experience


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