How to make... beef huancaina

Diego Sanchez, head chef at Lima Dubai, shows us how to cook this Peruvian speciality

Beef huancaina. Navin Khianey for The National
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250g beef tenderloin
60g huancaina sauce
For the huancaina sauce:
350g corn oil
450g yellow chilli
200g red onion
10g garlic
160g salted crackers
800g evaporated milk
200g halloumi cheese
For the garnish:
Borage flowers (purple)
Tropaeolum flowers (yellow)
For the annatto oil:
200g annatto paste or seed
300ml corn oil


▶ Clean the yellow chilli, removing the seeds and spicy flesh, and cut this and the red onion into brunoises. Cut the garlic into two pieces.

▶ Heat a saucepan and add the corn oil, garlic, red onion and yellow chilli. Sauté until the mixture is brown and caramelised, but not burnt. Cool and set to one side.

▶ In a blender, blend the mixture with evaporated milk, salted crackers and fresh halloumi until a sauce is formed.

▶ Clean and cut the beef tenderloin, and add salt and pepper. Heat a saucepan and sear the tenderloin, keeping it rare. After it cools, cut into slices measuring about 3 millimetres.

▶ Infuse the annatto paste or seed into the corn oil for about 35 minutes, on low heat.

▶ To serve, place the beef slices on the plate and pour the huancaina sauce around it, outlining the slices. Season with sea salt and some drops of annatto oil, and garnish with small flowers.

Head chef Diego Sanchez of Lima Dubai. Navin Khianey for The National
Head chef Diego Sanchez of Lima Dubai. Navin Khianey for The National

The cheat sheet

▶ Use good-quality crackers for your sauce. Ritz crackers are probably your best bet.

▶ Buy beef sourced from the United States and serve it rare – the beauty of this dish is the red, marbled appearance of the sliced tenderloin.

▶ Use a bottle with a pointed nozzle when placing your sauce on your plate. This will allow you to effectively outline your beef slices.

▶ Serve with a side of potatoes or fries – they go particularly well with huancaina sauce.

▶ Find fresh, colourful, edible flowers at Waitrose for the garnish.