Chef Ricardo Zarate makes this easy Peruvian paella at Mo-Chica in Los Angeles. He starts with already-cooked rice, which means it’s quicker to prepare than traditional Spanish paella. Zarate flavors the dish with spicy Peruvian chile paste (you can substitute soaked and pureed ancho chiles). For serving, he tops the seafood and rice with a bright, fresh tomato salsa called salsa criolla. Slideshow:  Quick Fish RecipesRecipe from Food & Wine Chefs' Easy Weeknight Dinners

Ricardo Zarate


© Fredrika Stjärne

Recipe Summary

45 mins
45 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Make the salsa criolla
  • In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients and season with salt and pepper.

Cook the rice and seafood
  • In a large, wide saucepan, heat the canola oil. Add the ají panca paste and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the rice and stir for 1 minute, then stir in the clam juice and bring to a boil. Add the mussels and cook until they open, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to a bowl. Discard any that do not open. Reduce the heat to moderate and continue simmering the rice, stirring constantly, until it has the texture of a very loose risotto, about 4 minutes longer.

Make Ahead

The salsa criolla can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.


Ají panca paste, made from red Peruvian chiles, is available at specialty food shops and online at