Arroz Tapado (Rice-On-Top)


A fun Peruvian dish that looks cool and is always a hit with the kids! Seasoned meat is the surprise center to the rice on top. Makes great leftovers!

side view of a Peruvian dish of layers of rice, seasoned ground beef, and rice, garnished with chopped cilantro and diced yellow tomato
Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
55 mins
Additional Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 30 mins
6 servings


  • 2 cups uncooked white rice

  • 4 cups water

  • 1 egg

  • 1 potato, peeled and cubed

  • 1 cup vegetable oil for frying

  • 3 small tomatoes, coarsely chopped

  • ½ cup water

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • ½ large onion, finely chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon ground dried aji chile

  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin

  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano

  • 1 pound lean ground beef

  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cubed

  • ¼ cup frozen peas

  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter

  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh tomato

  • 1 teaspoon ketchup


  1. Bring the rice and 4 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender, and the liquid has been absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes.

  2. Place the egg into a saucepan, and cover with water by 1 inch. Cover the saucepan and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, remove from the heat and let the egg stand in the hot water for 15 minutes. Pour out the hot water, then cool the egg under cold running water in the sink. Peel once cold. Chop the egg and set aside in a small bowl.

  3. Heat 1 cup of vegetable oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Deep fry the potato cubes until golden brown, about 5 minutes; drain on paper towels, and set aside.

  4. Place tomatoes and 1/2 cup of water in a blender, and puree until tomatoes are liquefied (peel and seed first, if desired).

  5. Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and cook and stir the onion, garlic, aji chile powder, cumin, black pepper, and oregano until the onion begins to brown, 8 to 10 minutes; pour in the pureed tomatoes, and simmer for 5 more minutes, stirring often. Mix in the ground beef and carrots, and cook until the meat is no longer pink and the carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Break the meat up into small chunks as it cooks. Mix in the chopped hard-cooked egg, peas, and peanut butter until thoroughly combined. Finally, gently stir in the cubes of fried potato.

  6. To assemble the dish, oil a flexible plastic bowl (at least 1 cup size) and press cooked rice into the bottom to fill 1/3 of the bowl. Layer about 3/4 inch of meat mixture over the rice, and top with more cooked rice to fill the bowl. With an oiled hand, gently press on the rice to compact the mixture; place a serving plate on top of the bowl, flip, and turn out the rice and meat-filled form. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Garnish with sprinkles of cilantro, chopped tomato, and dollops of ketchup on each serving.

Cook's Note

If you can't find ground aji chile powder, substitute with smoked paprika.

Editor's Note

We have determined the nutritional value of oil for frying based on a retention value of 10% after cooking. The exact amount will vary depending on cooking time and temperature, ingredient density, and the specific type of oil used.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

510 Calories
18g Fat
63g Carbs
23g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 510
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 18g 23%
Saturated Fat 5g 26%
Cholesterol 81mg 27%
Sodium 116mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 63g 23%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 23g
Vitamin C 17mg 87%
Calcium 62mg 5%
Iron 5mg 27%
Potassium 658mg 14%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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