Causa de Pejiballe

Country: Perú, Costa Rica

Notes: Causa, in its most basic form, is a mashed potato mixture mixed with lime, chili and oil.  Salads can have avocado, chicken, tuna or even shellfish added as a filling in the middle of the potato mixture. Causa is popular in Lima Peru, where it is distinguished by the name Causa Limeña. Causa is usually served cold and garnished with hard boiled eggs and olives. When thinking of how to incorporate Costa Rican ingredients we decided to use Pejiballe puree to mix with the potatoes making our Causa unique to Alma de Amon.

Although this dish already existed in ancient times, there seems to be many different versions of how this dish came to be. Even with so many varieties and claims to the origins it seems the dish was popularized when making it to feed soldiers during war times. There are also many stories of how the dish was sold to raise money to feed the military to help support “The Causa”.

It is hard to avoid the many potato-based recipes in Peru when you know that Peru offers no less than 7 potato species and more than 5,000 varieties of all shapes and colors. Potatoes are also not expensive and you can see why they would be preferred to cook when feeding large groups of people such as an army. The fact that you can mix pretty much anything with a little mayonnaise and place it in the middle of the potato puree makes this dish very versatile, convenient and easy to make with basic ingredients.

Preparation: The potato base is made by stirring mashed potatoes with Pasta de Rocotto puree, oil, salt, pejiballe and lime. For the salad mixture heart of palm, avocado, and mayonnaise are mixed together. A base of potato is placed in the center of the plate and then the heart of palm mixture is placed on top and then another layer of potato/ pejiballe mix on top. Then the plate is garnished with cherry tomatoes, plantain chips, heart of palm and watercress.