Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ají Amarillo: Peruvian Hot Sauce

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
Bon appetite
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! 


Anonymous said...

This looks delicious and I am going to try and make it this weekend. I am hoping Whole Foods has the Aji Amarillo peppers, but if they do not I will probably use a mix of Habanero and Serrano. But I really want to make this the intended way. Thanks again for the idea and recipe.

Finkster Photos said...

I hope they have Ají Amarillo as well, if they have rocoto that is the spicier type of ají and it is delicious as well! Depending on how hot you like your sauce you can adjust the amount of pepper you put in. I hope all goes well with your cooking experience, please report back how it went! Best of luck!

Short.Kimberly said...

Ooo! Sounds fantastic! I may try making an ultra mild flavored one for my little ones sake. ;)

Joshua Luies said...

Wonderful post and I can't wait to "travel" with you some more. Thanks for sharing your trip with us. Amarillo roofing.

Anonymous said...

I just bought frozen aji amarillo at Bravo Supermarket in FL. They also have aji amarillo paste in a jar. I also bought aji mirasol paste in a jar. I just made aji de gallina and it reminds me of American comfort food. This is great hot sauce, too. Thank you for the recipe.

Anonymous said...

I am growing Aji Omnicolors, and this will be a great recipe for them, so stoked!!!!

dmyra said...

Yo! this recipe was perfect. pretty much just followed it. I think its amazing the way nothing stands out, you cant pick out the parts, its just this new thing, Peruvian aji sauce, from a few simple ingredients. i'm in Costa Rica, and always have aji peppers growing, for years and have finally made the sauce. so worth it

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