Sunday, July 24, 2011

Enjoy fresh-squeezed lime juice . . . whenever you want it!

How many times have you bought limes, stored them in your fridge, forgot about them . . . just to find out they went bad when you wanted to use them in a recipe! :(

Well, that won’t happen to you any more if you follow this neat trick I learned last year from a Peruvian co-worker: on one of his vacation trips to Peru—and while shopping for produce at one of our many farmers’ markets—he happened to observe this old lady, at her stall, boiling a green liquid in a saucepan. He got curious and asked her what she was doing. The old lady succinctly told him that she was boiling lime juice. Evidently more curious now, he asked why. She then told him that it was the best way to preserve freshly squeezed lime juice for months. He had already asked “what” and “why” . . . so, the next logical question he asked was “how” . . . and here is the “how-to”. This is not a recipe, but rather a method, and I guess you can perfectly adapt it to lemons, as well.

After learning about this “trick”, I’ve done it twice so far and, each time, the lime juice has lasted in my fridge for months at a time! I didn’t write about it before because I wanted to make sure it was a tried-and-true method.

I made a “fresh batch” this morning and thought this would be the perfect time to tell you all about it. And it can’t be any simpler.  You'll just need:
  • limes (the more the merrier . . . today I used 30 big organic limes, which yields approximately 5 cups of juice)
  • a sharp knife
  • a cutting board
  • a reamer or citrus press
  • a non-reactive saucepan (mine is 2.5 qt.)
  • a fine-mesh strainer
  • a glass bottle with a cap (I use an old Paul Masson wine bottle)

  • Wash your limes under cool running water, scrubbing them lightly with your hands to loosen any debris.
  • Cut the limes in half crosswise (through the middle, not from end to end) . . . but—first—pressing the limes to your cutting board with your palm, roll them back and forth applying steady pressure to the exterior of the fruit. Kneading the lime slightly like this will help to break down any tightness and ensure you get even more juice. If you are taking your limes straight out from the fridge, stick them in the microwave—a good 20-30 seconds on high helps the citrus juice to flow more easily. Let them sit on the counter for a minute before juicing.

  • With a bowl underneath to catch the juice (I did it straight into the saucepan), hold the lime in one hand and press with the reamer into the center of the exposed side, twisting and grinding the ridges of the reamer against the inside walls of the lime to force out all of the juice. If you are using a citruss press, place one of the lime halves inside the citrus press with its flat, cut side facing down. Press the citrus press together to squeeze out the lime juice.

  • Put the saucepan onto the stove over medium-high heat and wait until the juice comes to a roaring boil. Take the saucepan off the stove immediately.

  • Strain the lime juice through a fine-mesh strainer (to catch any seeds and pulp) into a clean bowl and let cool to room temperature.

  • While waiting for the juice to cool down completely, this would be the perfect time to clean the saucepan.

  • Pour the juice into a measuring cup (simply for ease of pouring) and then carefully fill your glass bottle.  Put the cap on the bottle and store it in the fridge.

See the "like", "send" and "share" buttons below? If you liked my post, please share it! You can also leave comments, and let me know what you think! I'll be thrilled to hear from you! Love, Susy :)


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pollo a la Brasa Day

Did you know that Peruvian gastronomy is considered one of the most varied and original worldwide? Peru holds the Guinness record for the greatest variety and diversity of dishes in the world—with 491 typical dishes, to be more exact. We have and immense array of culinary delights: more than 360 fish and seafood dishes, around 2,000 different soups, just in the coastal region, more than 250 traditional desserts, to only mention a few things! And, in 2006, Lima (Peru’s capital) was declared the “Gastronomical Capital of the Americas” by Madrid Fusion, the World Cup of gourmet cuisine.

During this past decade, several important dates have been added to Peru’s food event calendar: Pisco Day, Pisco Sour Day (which I wrote about in my post “Pucker up . . . It’s Pisco Sour Day:, Peruvian Rum Day, Ceviche Day (Ceviche is a dish typically made from fresh raw fish marinated in lime juice), Día Nacional del Chicharrón de Cerdo Peruano (National Deep-Fried Peruvian Pork Day), and the latest one, Pollo a la Brasa Day, which is to be celebrated every third Sunday of July. As with the other events, the official declaration was published in El Peruano, the official gazette.

But . . . what exactly is “Pollo a la Brasa” and why is it so important to deserve a special day? Also known as “Peruvian Style Chicken”, “Charcoal Chicken” or “Rotisserie Chicken”, it just happens that “Pollo a la Brasa” was declared (in 2004) as a “Peruvian Culinary Specialty” by the National Institute of Culture (INC) and, thus, has turned into another flag-dish. According to Peru’s Minister of Agriculture, as of the second half of the 20th century, “Pollo a la Brasa” has become one of the most consumed gastronomic dishes in Peru across all social strata. The Minister is speculating that Peruvians will consume close to 2 million chickens this Sunday, with consumption rising anywhere from 15% to 20%. The Ministry’s department of Agrarian Competitiveness stated that Peru presently has an important production of chicken, with some 45 million units per month, or a 1.5 million per day. The average annual consumption per capita of the bird comes to some 32 kg (about 70 lbs), one of the highest in South America! I personally love anything chicken and usually buy Peruvian style rotisserie chicken once a month! :)

Let me now tell you a little bit about how “Pollo a la Brasa” came to be . . .

After the Second World War, in the early 50s, Roger Schuler—a Swiss citizen—arrives in Peru to establish a chicken farm business in the town of Santa Clara, in the district of Ate, Lima. Among other things, chickens bring the nuisance of flies along with them. Apparently, an American friend of Schuler told him that there was one color (blue) which was good to keep flies away and—never one to miss a trick—Schuler painted the whole farm in blue! Soon, people around were commenting: “Hey, that crazy guy painted his farm blue! Later on, a bad situation turned into a successful business. The chicken farm went bankrupt, so Schuler put a visible sign on the highway: “All the chicken you can eat for 5 Soles”. It was an instant boom! People started flocking in to “La Granja Azul” (The Blue Farm), the restaurant that he improvised in his own hacienda! However, the restaurant was always so crowded, that it started slowing down service because of the way they were preparing the chicken, in a small grill.

So Roger Schuler decides to contact a friend, another Swiss, Franz Ulrich, who owned and operated a metal mechanics shop and asks him to build an oven to cook the chicken. Thus, the “rotombo” oven—also known as “planetario” or “spiedo”—was invented and the patent registered! This oven had six metal rods and each rod could hold eight baby chickens of less than one kilogram each. The metal rods spin clockwise and, independently, around their own axis, at a very high temperature (generally between between 300 and 370 degrees F) cooking the chicken uniformly, sealing-in the juices and giving it a delicious, slightly charred flavor.

People from all over Lima made their way to La Granja Azul to devour the tender “Pollo a la Brasa”. Back then, La Granja Azul became the only restaurant where the aristocracy of Lima allowed themselves to eat using their hands, and to indulge their appetites, often competing to see who could eat the most chicken in a single lunch. The bill was free for those who could break successive records, and their names and pictures were hung in a special spot in the main salon. Originally (during the 50s and until the early 70s) the consumption of “Pollo a la Brasa” was specific to just the high socioeconomic classes; however, its consumption later came to include the middle and low socioeconomic classes, as well. Its popularity became massive sometime during the 70s.

The success of La Granja Azul was such that other “Pollerías” (restaurants where “Pollo a la Brasa” is served) started opening along the years: The first one was “El Rancho”, which opened in 1957. The owner, Isidoro Steinmann, was also a Swiss citizen and Ulrich’s same machine was installed there. Then came “Pío-Pío”, “Norky’s”, “La Caravana”, “El Cortijo”, “Pardo’s Chicken” (which is my favorite one), just to mention a few. Due to its price, “Pollo a la Brasa” was a dish only for elites and became a lunch delicacy, on Saturdays in particular.

After 60 years, the recipe remains the same: the chicken is seasoned with just salt—cooked over carob tree firewood for the best flavor—served with large French fries, and traditionally eaten with the fingers, without cutlery.

Nowadays, La Granja Azul, can accommodate 450 guests at the same time and, naturally, now “all the chicken you can eat” will cost you just under 60 soles (some US$22).

When we were growing up (this was late 60s-early 70s), I remember that every Saturday evening we would go to Chucuito (a small fishermen bay-town between the Province of Callao and the district of La Punta), to a “Pollería” called “Se Salió el Pollo” (something along the lines of “The Chicken Popped Out”) and buy “Pollo a la Brasa” to go. After some 40 years, this “Pollería” still exists!

There are hundreds of recipes for preparing “Pollo a la Brasa” and every restaurant brags about having their own “secret family recipe”. But, aside from the different touches each one gives to their particular recipe, most people agree that the basic marinade has cerveza negra (dark beer), ají panca (a dark red, mild pepper with a smoky, fruity taste), soy sauce, rosemary, cumin, salt and pepper, among other ingredients. “Pollo a la Brasa” is always served with French fries (never with rice) and with a simple salad of lettuce and tomato, along with different sauces or condiments. I particularly love the “mayonesa de leche” (milk mayonnaise) served at “Pardo’s Chicken” and “La Granja Azul”!

Even though in Peru we traditionally eat everything with rice, the story behind why “Pollo a la Brasa” is always served with French fries is quite simple: Schuler hated rice, hence, he would always serve the chicken with French fries!  :)

If you feel like attempting to prepare “Pollo a la Brasa” but don’t have a special oven, you can cook it in a gas or electric rotisserie oven or on a grill that has a rotisserie set up. If you don’t have any of these, you can also roast the chicken in a regular oven on 350 degrees F or grill it—just keep it at least 12 inches away from the flame over low to medium heat.

“Pollo a la Brasa Recipe”

  • 1 whole chicken without giblets (about 2-3 1/2 lbs—do not use a Kosher chicken since it is already salted)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp aji panca paste (found in Latin markets)
  • 3 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ginger, finely grated
  • 1 tsp huacatay (black mint) paste (found in Latin markets)
  • 1 tsp rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup dark beer
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  Mix the rest of the ingredients thoroughly to form a paste, adding more beer if you would like it thinner.  Taste the paste and adjust seasoning as needed. Rub it on the chicken inside and out, under the skin if possible, making sure it does not get cut or broken.  Place chicken in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before cooking it.  Serve with French fries, salad and condiments or sauces (see recipes for three sauces below).  Serves 4.

And here are some sauces for your "Pollo a la Brasa":

Creamy cheese sauce:
  • 1-12oz package queso fresco (“farmers cheese”, found in Latin markets, but may be substituted with feta or ricotta cheese)
  • 1/4 red onion sautéed (with very little oil)
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric (cook the turmeric in 2 tablespoon hot oil, for 3 seconds)
  • 1 aji amarillo chili (found in Latin markets)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
Blend queso fresco, red onion, oil, milk, turmeric, aji amarillo, salt and pepper, and lime juice in a blender until it becomes creamy.

Aji sauce:
  • 1 cup of cream of aji (6 to 9 ajies in the blender with salt, 1 clove of garlic, ground black pepper, and 1/2 cup oil)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
Mix cream of aji, olive oil, green onions, and lime juice in a medium bowl.

Milk mayonnaise:
  • 1/3 cup very cold evaporated milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 small garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • About 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt to taste
Combine the milk, lemon juice, garlic, and pepper in a 2-cup glass measuring cup. Using a handheld blender (or a blender), buzz on high for 30 seconds until frothy. With the motor running on high, slowly pour in the oil a few drops at a time, and gradually increase this to a fine thread, moving the blender up and down, until the mixture thickens lusciously and resembles a soft mayonnaise. You may need more or less oil. Season with salt to taste. The mayonnaise will last up to 1 week in the fridge.

Photo credits:  All the photos (except for the first one and the two last ones) posted here come from La Granja Azul's page on Facebook.

See the "like", "send" and "share" buttons below?  If you liked my post, please share it!  You can also leave comments, and let me know what you think!   I'll be thrilled to hear from you!  Love, Susy  :)


Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Case of the Lost-and-Found Recipe

The first time I ever heard of a “Sweet Potato Pie” was in Lima, when I was in my early 20s. After so many years I can’t recall where I got the recipe from, but I’m guessing it had to be from an American magazine, since the copy I jotted down on a piece of paper was in English . . . so, I’m guessing the magazine wasn’t mine either! What I do clearly remember is that every time I prepared this pie it was just delicious and got rave reviews from everyone! I even remember that sometimes I would bake several pies at the same time so I could leave a couple at home and take one to the office! Even though I made this recipe innumerable times and knew the ingredients and preparation by heart, every single time I whipped it up, I would have my well-used, batter-splashed copy of the recipe in front of me. Eventually, I just got tired of preparing the same dessert, put the recipe away somewhere, and moved on to try other recipes.

In my late 20s I decided to move out of my house and share an apartment with a couple of roommates . . . something unheard of back then, specially in Lima. However, three years later, it made smart economic sense to move back in with my parents. You know how packing and organizing are among the trivial parts of moving, yet, when unpacking time comes, certain things inevitably get lost or misplaced . . . and I think that’s how my recipe for the sweet potato pie simply disappeared! Fortunately, my mom—for some reason I will never know, but I’m glad for—had her own copy of the recipe, translated by her into Spanish. That’s how I got back the recipe in my hands and brought it with me when I moved to the States.

Two weeks ago, when I wrote my posting “Before It’s Too Late”, I started scouring through my extensive collection of recipe clippings (four file storage boxes) for my sweet potato pie recipe, all to no avail! I got sad and thought that, once again, I had lost the recipe for good! Earlier today I ended up throwing away around two full garbage bins of paper that was taking up room in my filing cabinets and then, all of a sudden, I got across a folder with old recipe clippings . . . and wouldn’t you know it . . . the famous pie recipe was right there! :)

During all these years I constantly remembered about the recipe (and, obviously, didn’t remember where I put it!) and so, every now and then, I would look up on the Internet for sweet potato pie recipes, trying to find one similar to mine. Yes, I know there are hundreds of recipes for sweet potato pies on the Internet . . . but the one I used to prepare called for grating the raw sweet potatoes, as opposed to all the recipes I’ve seen so far, which use cooked and mashed sweet potatoes!

So . . . after some years the case of the lost-and-found sweet potato pie recipe is finally solved. Of course, I had to translate it back into English! I’m posting a provisional photo from the Internet for this pie—since I don’t have the ingredients to prepare it right now—but I promise I will bake it some time soon and will post my own photos! :)

Sweet Potato Pie (Pie de Camote)


For the crust
• 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cold
• 5 tablespoons warm water
• 1 teaspoon vanilla

For the filling
• 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
• 1 cup evaporated milk
• 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
• 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 2-3 medium size sweet potatoes, grated


Mix the sugar into the flour, and then add the butter. If you have a pastry cutter, great, but if not, two dinner knives work just as well. Cut the butter into small pieces, sliding the knife blades across each other to catch all the pieces. The pieces don’t all have to be completely mixed into the flour, but they should be roughly the same size and you should end up with a crumbly texture. Add water and vanilla and mix with your hands to form a ball. Roll out to fit a 9” pie dish. Bake at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool down. Start preparing the filling in the meantime.

Mix together all ingredients and pour mixture into the pie crust. Place pie dish in the oven, centered on the middle rack. Bake at 325 degrees F for 50 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Serve as is, or with whipped cream and/or vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Before it's too late . . .

Yep . . . I know my last post was a little bit over four months ago, but I went through a lot of issues during this time, including knee surgery, and kinda lost my "mojo".  I was finally able to come out of my "black cloud" and decided that it was about time to start writing again!  :)

During these months, however, I thought of different things I wanted to write about.  There was this one article, though, that I read in the March issue of "Bon Appétit" and that got stuck in my headSave Your Recipes Before It's Too Late, by Monica Bhide.

I always tell everyone how I got my inspiration for cooking from my mom (Mami Amparo) and my paternal grandmother (Mama Sultana).  Reading this article brought back memories of the times when, as a kid, I watched my mom cooking, or when, later on, we used to cook together, or of those times when I would call her long distance (after I moved to the States) to ask her about a certain recipe.  I still keep some old note pads in my mom's handwriting with recipes she wrote down while watching cooking tv shows (there weren't that many back then) or notes from a cooking class she attended.  Unfortunately, I don't have any of her own recipes written anywhere!  I wish I would have thought of doing this while she was still around!  She was such a good cook and could whip up a delicious meal in no time at all!

Mama Sultana, curiously enough, didn't know how to read or write, but she would bake the most amazing things!  I clearly remember (when I was in my teens) one Saturday she was staying home with us and I asked her if she would share some of her recipes with me.  Armed with pen and paper, I sat down by her side on the couch in the living room and, listening to all her fascinating stories, I started writing down all of her detailed explanations.  Later, I gathered all my recipes and put them together in a plastic folder.  That same year, on the last day of school, I had the most unfortunate idea:  I took my plastic folder with me to school to show it to some of my classmates.  One girl asked to borrow it and promised to return it soon.  Hesitantly, I agreed.  To make a long story short, that was the last time I saw this girl and my folder with my treasured recipes!  :(

I know that if I read certain cookbooks or look into other people's cooking sites on the Internet, I would probably be able to recreate some of Mami Amparo's or Mama Sultana's recipes . . . but it's never going to be the same!  So, if you happen to read this posting and you are lucky enough to have your mom or your grandmother alive and enjoy their food, do yourself a huge favor:  ask for the recipes and save them before it's too late!

This is exactly one of the reasons why I started my blog:  to preserve memories.  So, I decided to post a very old but simple recipe that I used to prepare at home whenever there was a birthday party or any other gathering and we had guests.  I think I have kept this recipe for some 30 years now!  :)

Jamón del Diablo (Deviled Ham Spread)

Odd enough, this recipe doesn't have any ham or hot sauce in its ingredients!  Also, back in the day, I would prepare it in a blender, but you may use a food processor, as well.

  • 1 chicken breast, cooked and cut into small chunks (reserve the stock* resulting from cooking the chicken)
  • 4 hot dogs, boiled and cut into slices (any kind you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • few drops of red food coloring
  • 1/2 Knorr chicken bouillon cube
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients (start with a little amount of the chicken stock) in a blender or food processor and blend/process until smooth.  Add more chicken stock, if needed, to bind ingredients.  Pour mixture in a mold and refrigerate for, at least, three hours or over night, until it sets.  Unmold and serve with crackers, bread or toasts.

*  Cook the chicken breast with bone and skin in enough water to cover it.  Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.  Also, if you want, you can add vegetables and herbs to the stock to make it more flavorful (carrots, onion, celery, parsley, bay leaf, etc.).  Once the chicken is cooked (it takes anywhere from 20 to 25 minutes), strain the stock and discard solids.  Also, discard bone and skin before cutting chicken breast into chunks.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Vladimir . . . the new kid on the block!

Vladimir came into my life two weeks ago . . . Berta, one of my coworkers, gave him to me as a gift . . . here are some photos of him . . .

The little guy lives in a small bowl on my desk, surrounded by my plants and everybody at the office has always something nice to say about him! :)

He is very finicky when it comes to eating and if any of his food lands on the bottom of the bowl, he simply ignores it, so now I only feed him one or two little pellets of food two or three times a day and that seems to work!

I also keep a lamp on over the bowl most part of the day . . . but, unfortunately, the security guards at work turn off the lights late at night and during the weekends . . . eventhough I put a note on the lamp for them not to turn it off! :(

My boyfriend wrote a poem for Vladimir and I thought it was so cute, that I decided to share it with you here:

Vlad The Beta

When Vladimir thinks he sinks.
If Vladimir thinks he sees you,
he sinks down to focus true.
If Vladimir thinks he smells food,
he sinks down to mellow his mood.

If Vlad thinks he sees another beta,
his instincts will always win.
He uses his strongest blue fin
to feather fluff the purple-ish-red fins,
until every one of his fins are puffin’.

Vladie’s bad but never stays sad.
He is always thinking and sinking
or fin fluffing and huff puffing,
erecting each of his colorful fins,
attracting your friendship, he always wins.

R Jay Slais


Saturday, February 12, 2011

"Picante de Camarones" . . . Hot or Spicy?

If you look up on the Internet for a "Picante de Camarones", you'll mainly find it described as "shrimp in spicy sauce", "shrimp in hot sauce" or "shrimp in aji sauce".

When it comes to translating into English names of Peruvian dishes that use the words "picante" or "ají" (which means that some kind of hot or chilli peppers have been used), people often use the words "hot" and "spicy" interchangeably. However, these two words represent two different taste sensations in our palate. When we talk about a food being "hot" in taste, we really mean that it produces a burning sensation in our mouth. On the other hand, "spicy" traditionally describes savory and flavorful foods, foods that have been heavily seasoned with spices, foods that have a pungent flavor . . . but that are not necessarily hot.

So . . . is a "Picante de Camarones" hot or spicy? . . . well . . . it's both!  It's a dish prepared with shrimp (camarones), bathed in a creamy, flavorful hot and spicy sauce . . . yum!!!

Last Sunday I was checking my Facebook wall and came across a recipe for "Picante de Camarones" posted by Peruvian Chef Herbert Ackermann on his page "Perejil and Culantro" (translates as "Parsley and Cilantro").  A quick glance at the list of ingredients . . . and, yep, I had them all!  It isn't everyday that I have shrimp in my freezer (I had just bought them), so I jumped at the opportunity to prepare a Peruvian dish!  Well, I didn't exactly have the same ingredients, but it was close enough (for instance, can tomatoes instead of fresh ones), so I adapted the recipe to what I had . . . and it was a success!!!  As I started cooking, I decided to take photos, but then I got so involved in the preparation that I completely forgot about them until the very end!  I only took three or four snaps . . . you'll see what I mean!  Also, I was so hungry by the time the dish was ready, that I didn't bother taking a photo of the "Picante" on the plate . . .  and just sat to chow down! :)

I really hadn't initially thought of posting the recipe, but my friends Ylia and Margarita loved it (they both tried it at the office) and that encouraged me to do it!

Picante de Camarones (Shrimp in Hot-Spicy Sauce)

  • 1.5 lb cooked shrimp (had a 2 lb bag, 51-60 count, tail on, frozen)
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 red onions, finely chopped
  • 2 fish bouillon cubes (optional)
  • 3 teaspoons of minced roasted garlic
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1-14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano, no salt
  • 3 teaspoons of "pasta de ají amarillo" (Peruvian yellow peppers paste, found at any Latin store)
  • 3 slices of white sandwich bread
  • 6 oz of evaporated milk (half a can)

The preparation of this dish won't take more than 20 minutes, so it's better to have your "mise en place" ready before you start cooking!

  • If, like me, you happen to have a bag of frozen tail-on shrimp, start by preping them first.  The original recipe called for uncooked shrimp and making sort of a broth with the heads.  My twist on this:  Cut the tails off, put them in a small saucepan and cook them in one cup of water and 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt for 3 minutes.  Pour everything in the blender and process it for about a minute.  Strain the liquid and reserve.  Keep the tail-off shrimp in a bowl until you are ready to use them.

  • Blend the whole can of diced tomatoes to the consistency of a smooth purée and reserve
  • Soak the slices of bread in the milk for 5 minutes and then blend them to the consistency of a smooth purée and reserve
Heat the oil in a dutch oven pan and sauté onions for two or three minutes to soften them.  Add the fish bouillon cubes and stir with a wooden spoon to break them up.  Then add the garlic and sauté for one more minute.  Season with pepper to taste.  Keep cooking and stirring with the wooden spoon until you notice little brown bits forming at the bottom of the pan, which will take about a couple of minutes.  Add the tomato purée and scrape up the brown bits.  Add the "ají amarillo" paste.  Cook and stir for about 5 minutes.  If the preparation looks too thick, thin it out with a little bit of the reserved shrimp broth.  Then add the reserved bread and milk purée and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.  Adjust seasoning if needed.  Keep adding the shrimp broth as needed.  Finally, add the reserved tail-off shrimp and let them heat through in the sauce for no longer than 5 minutes.

If you want to eat this dish "Peruvian style", serve it with rice, slices of boiled potatoes and half a boiled egg.  Enjoy!!! :)