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Dec 6, 2006 06:35 PM

Peruvian Light Green Sauce - Ahi? (Aji?)


Hoping you guys can help me with my quest. I just got back from eating an amazing lunch at this Peruvian resto in Stamford (Fiesta) and want to know what sauce was served with the bread.

It was light green in color and when I asked the waitress what it was, she said aji (spl?). If I had to guess, I think there might have been sour cream (lighter consistency), garlic, chili peppers (it was a little spicy), parsley and cilantro? It was served with the bread, but we ended up putting it on all the food ;)

Anyone know what I"m talking about? And do you have a recipe you'd like to share????


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  1. I am not sure but I think it has green aji's and tomato along with parsley and or cilantro. Don't think there is any dairy but again I can't be sure. A similar sauce is served in bolivia that uses the above mentioned ing. except it includes an herb called huacataya "black mint" instead of parsley or cilantro. In Bolivia it is called llagua.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bolivianita

      Bolivinita, I lived in Bolivia for 4 years and miss my llagua & saltenas! Do you know of a source huacataya in the US?
      Send me an email if you wish, it is in my profile.

    2. I doubt that this answers your question, but I found an interesting web page about Peruvian peppers when I searched the web:

      4 Replies
      1. re: Nettie


        Have you ever been in a Peruvian restaurant in Queens which is called PIO PIO. I used to live there and I realy like the green sauce, when I ask the name of the sauce, they never tell me. I thougt you might know it. They serve with chicken but you can use for every food. it is very hot ,and light green. I am noot living in NY anymore, I really miss that sauce. Anyone know what I"m talking about? And do you have a recipe you'd like to share?

        Thank you so much!!!!

        1. re: arhous

          Haven't been there but as most of these replies have mentioned, it probably contains huacataya "black mint". Stores that carry Peruvian groceries usually have the bottled sauce. You could give that a try and see if it matches the taste of that sauce you liked. If you need them, I have a link for an online source for Peruvian groceries.

          1. re: arhous

            lol yeah they keep that recipe a big secret! there are lots of recipes for the mystery green sauce on the internet, but i have yet to try one out. there is also a similar sauce at sophie's cuban restaurant. this is one recipe i'd like to try

            1. re: arhous

              Arhous: Pio Pio won't give you the ingredients but they now sell it for $5 for a generous portion. They've expanded and now have a take out/eat eat store two doors down from the restaurant.

          2. I don't know the exact components of the green aji sauce you had but typically Peruvian chilis called aji amarillo (or another variety, aji mirasol) are blended with the "black mint" mentioned above, called huacatay in Peru, and often fresh (farmer's or Mexican-type) cheese. example:
            Huacatay grows like a weed in my friend's backyard in Queens, planted from seeds brought from Peru; it either reseeds itself or is a perennial.
            Huacatay is also blended with a larger concentration of fresh cheese to make the sauce to cover potatoes for papas a la huacaina. (example:


            If you don't have access to fresh huacatay, it can be found ground up in jars in Latin American markets. The same goes for aji amarillo. The supermarket chain Western Beef ( ) has a large selection of Peruvian canned goods at their branch in Flushing, NY (on College Point Blvd). Frozen aji amarillos are available at some Latin American markets in Jackson Heights, Queens; I have gotten them at a large market on Junction Blvd and 37th Ave, along with a host of other Peruvian ingredients. Here's a source:

            I have not seen fresh huacatay for sale although I haven't looked since we have access to an endless supply from the backyard!

            1. i wondered the same thing recently at a peruvian restaurant so i asked the server.

              its mayonnaise and jalapeno mixed together. no wonder its so good.;)

              1 Reply
              1. re: junglekitte

                Daisy Martinez (Daisy Cooks!) made some Aji a week or so ago on her show. She made it with Serrano Peppers, Garlic, Red Onion and lots of Lime Juice. She also talked about it for a while and mentioned that, like Sofrito, there are lots of different ways to make Aji. She said something to the effect that it is standard table sauce (like ketchup) in Chile. I got the impression that the term "Aji" is pretty broad. I also beleive that it just means pepper in Spanish, but someone else can speak to that.

                I made a batch similar to hers a last week and have really enjoyed it on pretty much everything but my breakfast cereal.

              2. I actually just took a cooking class that focused on Peruvian food. Aji means chile in Peru. We used Aji Amarillo (yellow chiles) in my class and made a sauce similar to what you seems to be talking about. We made a recipe with twist (it was a nuevo latino course) for the Huacaina sauce. Ingredients are:
                2 Tbs. olive oil
                1 small onion, minced
                2 tsp minced garlic
                2 1/2 tsp ground aji amarillo (if you can find whole dried aji amarillo you can grind it up in a spice/coffee grinder)
                1/2 tsp tumeric
                2 cups milk
                6 oz. crumbled feta
                salt and pepper to taste

                saute onions and garlic in olive oil until transluscent, add aji amarillo and tumeric, stir for 2 minutes, stir in milk and simmer 3 minutes. season with salt and pepper. transfer mixture to food processor and blend with cheese to produce a smooth sauce.

                This isn't quite the traditional sauce (aka the feta cheese) but i was delicious served with fried yuca! if you added cilnatro it might enhance it even more.

                2 Replies
                1. re: AnjLM

                  Just ate lunch yesterday at the Inka Kitchen Grill in Palmdale Ca (1st time for Peruvian food - delicious) and I encountered the "Light Green Sauce", wasn't quite sure what to do with it, so used it to cool down the spicyiness of the maindish. Upon inquirey, was told its made from Aji peppers, mayo, lettuce, and other spices which were not revealed. Lettuce as an ingredient (which I hadn't seen mentioned above) makes sense, given its light green color, and almost watery texture.

                  1. re: relaxed

                    For a recipe of what appears to be the Light Green Aji Sauce that JoLi described above to start the thread (with no tomatoes, cheese, milk, mint, oil, etc, as others seem to have misinterrupted) go to