|Raw ají amarillo peppers|
|Adding in the oregano, pepper, and cumin|
|Time to remove from heat|
|Adding a bit of water and salt before mixing|
|The Amazing Lucy finishing off the Ají Sauce|
Today marks the first recipe shared on the blog! I have to say after the launch of the site yesterday I was pretty happy to see that within 24 hours there were over 140 views from 19 countries, thanks to everyone who was a part of that first day! That aside we are now going to look at how to make ají amarillo, a typical Peruvian hot sauce. Since my first day in Lima I have been in love with this salsa and I put it on almost everything! If you are a spicy food lover this will definitely be a recipe you will need to try!
Ají is a native Peruvian pepper from the andes and many Peruvian dishes use it to add extra flavor and color. While I love to have a strong and spicy ají sauce it is not necessary to make it super hot. In a one-line description of the importance of ají in Peruvian cuisine I will share a quote from a blog I was reading that states, "Ají is the soul to Peruvian food." I don't know about you but learning how to cook with soul sounds pretty good, so why not give this recipe a try and see what happens!
One warning is that ají is a native pepper to Peru so you will probably not find it in stores in the United States or other countries. The best bet is going to a whole-foods store and crossing your fingers that they have them. If they don't then I have read that habaneros are a good substitution for the spice lovers, serranos are also a decent substitute, or any other medium heat pepper that you enjoy. While the taste will not be exact to the Peruvian flavor I am sure the sauce will still taste delicious! After experimenting yourself please report back with your findings!
For this recipe all you will need the following:
- 6 ají amarillo (or varied amounts of your substitute to taste)
- 1 large onion
- 1 clove of garlic (or a garlic paste if you prefer)
- About 1/4 tbs. of pepper (Lucy said for pepper, cumin, and oregano it is more of seasoning to taste so you may want to change these amounts after tasting it)
- About 1/4 tbs. of cumin
- About 1/4 tbs. of oregano
- 1 tbsp. of salt
- Enough oil to fry ingredients
First off you will need to chop up the ají peppers, onion, and garlic. If you like you can gut the seeds of the peppers and peel them in order to have a smoother sauce but at my house we don't do either. If you want to peal the peppers put them in a hot water bath first and then afterward peel off the skin. After your raw ingredients are chopped put them in a median frying pan over a medium heat with enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. After adding the ají, garlic, and onion add the pepper, oregano, and cumin as well. Continue to stir all these ingredients as they sweat in the frying pan for about 8-10 minutes in order to help bring out the flavor. The third photo above is what our ingredients looked like when we took them off the heat. Once you take the pan off the heat let it sit until the contents are relatively cool, this may take 20-30 minutes. After your ingredients have cooled down put them into a blender with a little bit of added water to help with mixing purposes and then add your salt. Finally turn on the blender and watch as your ingredients turn into the delicious ají sauce! Once you feel your sauce is well mixed turn off the blender, take a taste, and experience the mind-blowing taste of ají! This recipe should make about 2 small containers similar to the laste photo.
Well folks I hope you enjoy getting down to business and making your ají sauce because it will add amazing flavor to many meals to come! As always please share this link on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and whatever other social media sites you are plugged into. Also if you are a student studying abroad in another country please leave a comment below if you are interested in doing a guest post! For those of you that do make the ají sauce please share your experience with us on how it went! Best of luck!