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Shared by Vivian Wecselman-Fishman

Tacu-Tacu (Peruvian Lima Bean Cakes)

Yield: 16 servingsTime: Overnight soaking, plus 2 H 30 min

Shared by Vivian Wecselman-Fishman

Tacu-Tacu with salsa criolla on a blue plate.
Photographer: Armando Rafael. Food Stylist: Judy Haubert. Prop Stylist: Vanessa Vazquez.

Tacu-Tacu (Peruvian Lima Bean Cakes)

Yield: 16 servingsTime: Overnight soaking, plus 2 H 30 min

Family Journey

Bucharest, RomaniaTel AvivLima, Peru
MontrealScarsdale, NY

Beans and rice are formed into cakes or patties and fried for this Peruvian dish that Vivian Wecselman-Fishman’s mom used to make for Shabbat. The dish is one that came out of slavery, explains Peruvian chef Nico Vera. “In Peru, Afro-descended women fried leftover rice and canary beans with lard to make tacu tacu, a dish whose name comes from the Quechua word taku, which means ‘mixed.’ Today, tacu tacu is part of Peru’s Creole cuisine, and there are many popular variations.” In Vivian’s family, it’s made with lima or butter beans and served with the classic accompaniment salsa criolla.

Try Vivian’s recipes for pastel de choclo (South American corn and beef casserole) and ají de gallina (Peruvian chicken curry) and read more about her family in “Shabbat Dinner by Way of Romania and Peru.”


For the tacu-tacu

  • 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice 
  • 2 cups lima or butter beans 
  • 1 red onion, medium chopped 
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ½ teaspoon ají amarillo (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper

For the salsa criolla:

  • 1 red onion
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil, separated
  • 3 teaspoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • ⅛ cup yellow pepper, thinly sliced 
Overnight SidesShabbatVegetarianSouth and Central America


  • Step 1

    Prepare the lima beans: The night before making this dish, soak two cups of dry lima beans in a large bowl of water. They will expand, so be sure to give them a lot of water and space. Rinse and strain the beans in the morning.

  • Step 2

    Cook the rice: Wash the rice and let it sit on a strainer until it’s mostly drained. Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a pan. Then add one teaspoon of fresh chopped garlic and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir well, preventing the garlic from burning. Add the raw rice to the garlic and mix it well while cooking it. Once the garlic has turned a golden color, pour 2 cups of water and stir a few times, making sure there isn’t anything stuck to the bottom of the pot. Cover the pot and leave the rice cooking on medium high heat until the water starts boiling. Right when it starts boiling, bring the heat to low and cook for approximately another 8 minutes. Turn off the heat and fluff with a fork. Set aside to cool.

  • Step 3

    Cook the lima beans: In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and saute the onion, garlic and ½ teaspoon salt over medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Add in the lima beans and cook for another 4 minutes. Pour in 4 cups of water or enough to cover the mixture by two inches. Simmer for 1 hour or until the water has reduced and the beans have fallen apart. Remove the pot from the stove, strain and then mash the lima beans. Allow to cool to room temperature.

  • Step 4

    In a large bowl, combine the cooked rice, lima beans, flour, 1 teaspoon of salt and aji (if using). The mixture should be thick and hold its shape when formed.

  • Step 5

    In a skillet, heat 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil and heat over medium. Scoop about ¼ cup of the mixture into your hand and shape it into a round, flat cake with a 3 inch diameter. Fry each cake for about 3 minutes per side, making sure that they become golden brown and crispy.

  • Step 6

    Make the salsa criolla: Slice the onion in half and then thinly slice crosswise. Soak it in a bowl of water with ½ teaspoon of salt for 10 minutes. Strain and pat dry. Mix in the chopped cilantro, lime juice, sliced peppers and 1 teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper. (Optional) Mix in ¼ teaspoon aji.

  • Step 7

    Serve hot with fresh salsa criolla.