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Aji Amarillo Sauce?

Hi. I picked up a jar of aji amarillo paste at the market the other day b/c I can not resist condiments and pastes! Does anyone have a good recipe for making a creamy (or otherwise) sauce with this type of paste? Also, how does it rate on the spice scale? Thanks.

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  1. Is this just chile paste, or some kind of prepared sauce? (I don't know about the latter.) I'm sure I've eaten the jarred paste, but never when I was actually aware of it as a separate ingredient so I'm not sure how they compare, but a paste made from the dried chiles tends toward the hotter end of moderately hot, like (dry) chipotles or chiles de arbol.

    In general, it's very (and I think specifically) characteristic of Peruvian cooking. In fact, one of the classic "national dishes" is Papas a la Huancaina, which involves a creamy sauce flavored with the chiles. I don't have a particular recipe, but google brings up a bunch as well as other Peruvian recs that call for the chiles.

    1 Reply
    1. re: MikeG

      It's a paste made out of aji amarillo or yellow chile peppers, not a sauce. The paste is a decently bright yellow color. It's a typical ingredient in Peruvian and Bolivian cooking. I dug up two recipes on google but was also looking for anything that people had already tried. Most of the recipes I found were all different reprints of the same 3 recipes.

      I think I'll try to make a creamy sauce with it for chicken or seafood and I'll report back.

    2. it's hotter than jalapenos, not as hot as scotch bonnet. don't have any creamy sauce recipes, but it adds an excellent flavour to ceviche, and is good in meat marinades.

      1. I add a little to a garlic and herb sauce (kind of a chimichurri--minced garlic, parsley,cilantro,salt, olive oil, red wine vinegar) to use as a dip for tostones.

        1. I have used it to make Peruvian style aji sauce. I put it in the blender with some mayo, olive oil, queso blanco or ricotta cheese, salt, pepper and sometimes cilantro and blend and taste until I get a nice thick sauce. Sometimes I also add breadcrumbs to further thicken it. It lasts a week or two in the fridge... if it doesn't get eaten up first.

          1 Reply
          1. re: JMF

            Hi there. Was wondering if you could give me the proportions for the sauce. Thanks!

          2. The Peruvians I know thicken their aji sauce w/ saltine crackers!

            1. Put in a blender with lettuce, saltine crackers, olive oil, S&P and then thin with water.

              1. I'd say try these two:

                Papas a la Huancaina: Boil one large onion, cut in quarters, until it's a bit glassy. Toss in blender (preserve the water for thinning). Add almost equal volume of ricotta or queso fresco (cypriot haloumi also works in a pinch). Add generous amount of aji amarillo and some olive oil. You can use saltine crackers or bread crums to thicken it, or water to thin it.

                Aji de Gallina: Boil a whole chicken with a standard soup/stew base of aromatics (celery, carrots, onions, a couple cloves of garlic, salt, bouquet garni if you have it). Works best in a pressure cooker for 45 mins. You want the carcass to fall apart as you remove it from the pot. Preserve the broth (of course!). Let the carcass cool enough that you can work with your bare hands. Separate all the meat from the carcass and shred it by hand (along the grain, to create strings of chicken). Leave to one side. In a large and deep pot with oil, fry a few hot peppers (fresh aji amarillo if you can find it, otherwise 3-4 banana peppers combined with one habañero) and two large red onions. Add a *lot* of tumeric and cumin. Lots. Once it has taken a deep yellow colour, add 2 or more tablespoons of aji amarillo paste and quickly add some of the chicken broth. It's okay if it's rather watery, we're about to fix that. Take several slices of stale bread (I prefer dark rye) enough to fill a casserole dish, pour milk over it, and mash it with your fingers until the bread is thoroughly soggy. Toss into pot and mix. Leave to simmer for a few minutes until the sauce has gotten a bith thicker and the bread has mostly disintegrated. Remove from heat and toss into a blender with a handful of pecans or walnuts. You may need to do this in batches if your blender isn't huge (take care while blending hot liquids!). The result should be pretty darn thick, taking care not to overblend-you want little chunks of nuts in there. Return to pot, return pot to heat (medium) and add shredded chicken. Simmer while stirring to reduce, or add more broth to thin. Serve with/over rice.


                (p.s. lots of tumeric = stains forever. Don't do this while wearing light colours!)

                1. Hi candice....i know its too late but you can make 1000's of things with aji amarillo.
                  The firs thing is Huancaina sauce.....aji amrillo, soda crackers, evaporated milk and littele feta cheese.....important thing : the veins and the seeds inside the yellow pepper are spicy like every chile, so its up to you how spicy you wanna it.
                  The second thing i should make with aji amrillo is: Tiradito kind of Sashimy Style fich with key limes,garlic and yellow pepper blend on it.
                  Well im a chef so let me know if you need help.

                  1. Candice
                    Aji Amarillo-, also known as yellow hot pepper, Capsicum baccatum. Amarillo is the most commonly used pepper in Peruvian Cuisineit has a finger like shape, a fruity flavor, and is not too hot someone else posted a reply that refered to the amarillo as being hotter than the jalapeno, not true . Aji Amarillo is often pureed into a paste before adding to food, when added during cooking Amarillo will give your dish a delicate yellow color and fruity aromatic flavor.
                    Aji Amarillo is excellent with meats, poultry, fish, and starch preparations

                    Aji Amarillo Puree also known as Paste – Seeded and boiled until tender, then pureed and seasoned into a paste. Common uses are dips and sauces. You can also buy amarillo jelly that is sweet and spicy. Aji Amarillo jelly is excellent with cheese, particularly with goat cheese or when glazing roasted and grilled meats.

                    A very simple recipe for Amarillo dip

                    2 cups Ricotta Cheese
                    1 tbsp Amarillo Paste
                    3 tbsp olive oil
                    1 small lime Juice only
                    Salt and Pepper to taste

                    Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth, you can serve it as a cold dip with cheese and crudite or even fried potato.


                    1. Does anyone know if you can substitute regular bell peppers for the yellow chile peppers??? I want to make this dish so bad as I've had it before, but my fiance can't eat hot or spicey foods.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: clearlysuspect

                        You can substitute and get an edible, probably tasty dish, but it won't be the same. What else can you expect?

                        1. re: clearlysuspect

                          In surcuisine's recipe there is only a Tbs of pepper puree. A tablespoon of bell pepper puree isn't going to contribute much to the sauce. A whole bell will contribute body and color, and a bit of flavor. If you want the sauce to be smoother, you might want to roast and peel the peppers first, or use a jar of prepared ones (like TJ's roasted red peppers from Spain).

                          With more body in your sauce coming from the peppers you could cut back on the fresh cheese (Ricotta is probably a substitute for a Peruvian queso fresco). You can also use bread crumbs or crackers as a thickener.

                          Spanish romesco sauce recipes might also give you ideas. Those often use ground nuts, tomatoes, along with fresh or dried peppers. And being Spanish, lots of olive oil and garlic.

                          There's lots of room for experimentation with cold blended sauces like this. Think about what is going to contribute body, what will thicken it, what will thin it, what will flavor it, etc. Flavors usually include a mix of sour, sweet, and salty, as well as the hot (to taste).

                          1. re: paulj

                            I found this colorpaste in a jar at my local Tradefair and finally could not resist.
                            We made a rabbit stew and loved it. The flavor is very fruity and hot at the end.
                            But the heat grows on you at lot - enouph that we had digestive discomfort and the poor jar is sitting there in my fridge - am inspired by some of these cold sauce ideas.

                            I recently bought some Aji Mirasol - the dried pepper version of these colorful peppers and am looking forward to using them. Maybe I will use them Indian style in dals.

                          2. re: clearlysuspect

                            just boil the aji amarillos for atleast 30 mins, then peel of the exterior film of the aji and throw away the veins and seeds. You should get all of the flavor with none of the spicyness, good eats!!!

                          3. I plan to purchase some aji amarillo powder and use it in chili. We'll see how it works.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                              Aji amarillo paste recipe: in blender put 1 can evap milk. Squeeze 3 tbl lime juice and let it sit 5m (it will have bubbles). Start blender and add 1 block (about 6oz) feta cheese, approx. 3Tbl aji amarillo paste or less if you don't want too spicy. Blend blend blend a good 5m. Drizzle in approx. 1/4C of oil. blend blend blend 5 more min. You can't over blend. Pour into small containers if preferred. It will thicken upon sitting. I make a pot of pasta, add chicken or shrimp, tomatoes, whatever I have and add the sauce to it. Also good on potatoes, rice. It can be frozen although it may be a bit thinner. The paste itself can also be frozen and used later. I have also substituted low fat feta. Make it your own.

                            2. Tacu-tacu

                              Tacu-tacu (together with Anticuchos and Picarones) is probably the most characteristic of Afro Peruvian recipes. Black Africans were brought by the Spanish during the Viceroyalty to work as slaves on the coastal plantations, and they introduced their own cooking styles and ingredients to the Peruvian melting pot.

                              Originally, tacu-tacu was prepared with leftover seasoned beans and rice, which resulted in a very economical and nutritious dish. Today it's usually prepared on-the-moment, and served in many different ways, from the classical criollo style -accompanied with fried eggs and bananas- to the flamboyant (with foie gras). For great classic tacu-tacu in Lima, you can try José Antonio or Brujas de Cachiche. Pescados Capitales has an absolutely astonishing tacu-tacu with prawn sauce.


                              2 cups canary beans, left to soak overnight

                              1 lb (½ kg) pork fat or bacon, diced

                              1 cups of cooked rice

                              2 tbsp vegetable oil

                              1 large onion, finely chopped

                              3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

                              ½ cup ají amarillo paste

                              Salt and pepper


                              Drain and cook beans in unsalted water together with pork fat until soft (about 90 minutes). Set aside and let cool. Mash beans with a spoon or fork, just enough to obtain a rough purée.

                              In a large skillet, sauté in hot oil the garlic and onions until the latter acquire a golden colour. Add the ají amarillo and cook for an additional couple of minutes Add the beans and rice, stirring and turning over with a wooden spoon to mix well. Salt and pepper to taste.

                              To make the tacu-tacu, fry each serving of the beans & rice mixture slightly (in vegetable or olive oil, turning it constantly) and shape into a compact tortilla or tamale.

                              Serve with anything you like: fried eggs, fried banana, fried tenderloin beef, foie gras, etc.

                              Tip: to enhance the taste, pour some olive oil on the tacu-tacu tortilla.

                              Ají de Gallina (Chicken in Chili sauce)
                              • 1 whole chicken or hen (about 4 lb or 2kg)
                              • ½ cup vegetable oil
                              • ¼ lb of chopped walnuts
                              • 1 cup ají amarillo paste
                              • 3 slices white bread
                              • 1 can evaporated milk
                              • 2 oz grated Parmesan cheese
                              • 1 large finely chopped onion
                              • 1 chicken stock cube
                              • 1 celery stalk
                              • 1 onion cut in halves
                              • 1 carrot coarsely chopped
                              • Salt and pepper to taste
                              • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
                              • Pinch cumin
                              To serve :
                              • 6 Potatoes
                              • 1/2 cup of black olives
                              • 4 hard boiled eggs
                              • Boiled rice
                              Boil chicken in salted water together with the stock cube, celery, carrots, and onion halves, until the meat is tender (about 20 minutes after water starts to boil).
                              Remove chicken and, when cool, shred meat into bite size pieces. Keep the resulting chicken stock broth (but discard vegetables).
                              In a saucepan with oil, sauté the chopped onion and garlic until the onions are soft (a couple of minutes). Add the ají amarillo paste, salt, pepper, and cumin.
                              Soak the bread in 2 cups of the stock from the boiled chicken and blend for a couple of minutes. Add the resulting mixture to the saucepan. Cook slowly, stirring to thicken, for 10 minutes.
                              Add the chopped walnuts, grated cheese, and chicken pieces. Cook until it has a thick creamy texture (add broth if necessary). About 5 minutes before serving add the evaporated milk and continue cooking on low heat.
                              Serve with white rice and garnish with halved potatoes, hard boiled eggs, and olives.
                              Makes 8 servings.

                              1. I buy aji amarillo paste in a jar ... can't get the fresh chiles where I live. Mostly use it for lomo or pollo saltado, occasionally for papas huancaina. it's not the hottest chile in the world. It has a flavor that's very distinctive, which is why Peruanos tell you there is no substitute. Make whatever you make, remembering how much aji paste you use. If it's too hot, use less next time. If it's too bland, use more next time. My starting point is a rounded teaspoon per half pound to pound (200 to 450 g) of meat.