Operation Just Cause


La Causa or Cause in  English (the mashed green stuff under my fantastic ceviche) is a very common and traditional dish from the cuisine of Peru and has a pre-Columbian origin. Traditionally it is prepared with the Peruvian yellow potato, but it is hard to find over here. Its name comes from the Quechua word Kausay, which means necessary sustenance and nourishment, or feeding.

Obviously this is a quick version of la causa, since it usually takes many more ingredients and is filled with tuna, chicken, seafood or other varieties of white meat and served with a light mayonnaise bath. It can also accompany fried fish.

But I’ll leave that recipe for another time, because my goal today is to show you that we can prepare an appetizer or first course as colorful and tasty as this one in no time.2



  • 3 boiled and peeled potatoes
  • 10 leaves of cilantro (approx.)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Prawns Ceviche

  • Shrimp or prawns according to number of guests *
  • Chopped red onion
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Hot pepper to taste. I used 2 chopped green chillies.
  • Chopped cilantro to taste




Mash the potatoes and spread them on a tray to remove excess water.

Blend the cilantro with a little hot water and oil to create a paste or thick sauce.

Mix the potato puree with this paste and reserve.

5Prawns Ceviche:

Peel the prawns, mix with red onion; add salt, a little olive oil, some chopped cilantro, a squeeze of lemon juice and hot pepper or chili to taste.

Let stand for at least 10 minutes.

To serve, shape the cause as little quenelles with the help of two spoons and Place on top or beside the shrimp ceviche. Pour a bit of those fantastic juices all over and you are ready to go.


* I bought my prawns cooked. But if yours are raw, place them in salted boiling water just until they change color, remove from heat and immediately pass them through ice water to stop the cooking.



38 thoughts on “Operation Just Cause

    1. Hi! Oh, is true, YOU can find papas amarillas… How lucky you are! I guess that you have tasted the real causa, if you make this version, please let me know your opinion. Thanks a lot for your comment! 🙂

      1. this was hiding in the unread comments.. lo siento – so sorry that i missed it! it’s morning here, and i’ve not had breakfast, and suddenly i’m wishing to have this fantastic start to the day! i’m about to be traveling, so i’ll have to dream about those comforting papas and the perfect balance of limon y camarones… i’ve always preferred strong robust breakfasts! z

  1. I, too, am glad I read this post till the end. I would have attempted to make it like a ceviche. The colorful potatoes make the perfect platform to hold the shrimp. What a great idea and presentation.

    1. Thank you John! Yes, it is faster if you cook the prawns first, but you can make this ceviche with raw prawns too. First peel and dice the prawns and then marinate over night with salt and lemon juice.

  2. Oh, dear, I’ve read through and I think your “Just Cause” answer is there, but not in my language:) I hope you found out, I don’t know about that one.. But I do know I love this dish. I can think of so many ways a pretty cilantro colored and flavored potato could be used!! This is just so pretty!! xx

    1. Hi Barb! Don’t worry. It was a wordplay. Causa is cause in Spanish. Operation just cause was the code name of the military intervention by the US army in 1989 to topple dictator Noriega. I now realize that it was a bit far fetch… 😉
      Thanks a lot for your comment!

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