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May 9, 2014 12:48 PM

Ecuadorean Aji sauce or fresh tamarillos/tree tomatoes in the Triangle?

Does anyone know of anyplace that sells fresh or bottled Ecuadorean aji criollo or aji tomate de arbol? Alternatively, has anyone seen tamarillos (tree tomatoes) for sale?

I'm trying to replicate some Ecuadorean dishes from vacation and they would be quite lacking without these sauces!

Thanks, all!

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  1. Have you tried Compare Foods? I think I've seen aji tomate de arbol there, but I've never bought it, so I could be wrong. In any event, they have a pretty deep selection of such products.

    8 Replies
    1. re: carolinadawg

      Thanks! I'll check it out and let you know what I find.

      1. re: corkys

        Don't know about fresh but I've seen it in bottles on the shelves at Compare.

        1. re: bbqme

          I was in Compare on Avondale Drive in Durham a few days ago. I found Tradiiciones Andinas brand Yellow Pepper Paste (Aji Amarillo Pasta) and mirasol Pepper Paste (Aji Mirasol en Pasta) and PancaPepper Paste (Aji Panca Pasta) and Inca's Food brand Aji Panca and Aji Amarillo.

          1. re: boaviagem

            bbqme and boviagem,

            Thanks for the info - I will head over again. Popped into to a Compare Foods in search of the fresh tamarillos and they indicated that they do not stock them. However, I did NOT check out the jarred sauces/salsas. Will take the time to do that soon!

            Also, boviagem, I checked out recipes for causas that you referenced below and they look quite tasty. If you use a recipe that is particularly good, would you mind sharing?

            1. re: pandora1320

              Not sure when we will make causa. I will try to find this thread again and let you know when we do. The biggest trick will be finding the right type of potato to use. I need to check the recipe we got from the cooking class we took in Lima. I think they suggested a mix of russet and some other potato (maybe yukon gold).

              1. re: pandora1320

                We made causa for the first time today using the recipe from our cooking class in Lima. We used a mix of russet and yukon gold potatoes for the mashed potatoes. We had a layer of shrimp salad (instead of chicken salad) and a layer of avocado inside, and shredded carrot, avocado, serrano pepper slices and smoked paprika on top. (We did not make the sauce from the recipe.) Tasty and very filling.

                We took the cooking class at SkyKitchen in Lima.
                We highly recommend them. We had a tour of a local market where we learned all about the fruits and vegetables. When we got to the SkyKitchen we got to sample all of the fruits and then we had a sensational hands-on cooking class and course-by-course lunch. The work space was perfect for five of us, and the owner and staff were fantastic.

                1. re: boaviagem

                  Interesting, I was wondering what causas were as I never came across them in Ecuador. Looks like a more baroque version of a llapingacho.

                  1. re: Naco

                    They are all delicious potato based items. Lllapingachos are pan fried. Causa is flavored mashed potato served cold or at room temp. No additional potato cooking after boiling and mashing the potatoes.

      2. Fantastic question. We were recently in Peru and Ecuador. We took a cooking class in Lima and we need to buy or make salsa de aji to use in making causas.

        2 Replies
        1. re: boaviagem

          Sounds like a great (and tasty) trip!

          Were you in Ecuador around Easter? Were you able to try the Easter soup, fanesca?

          I found this website and am going to try some of the recipes:

          1. re: corkys

            We were there in March so we were too early for fanesca.

            Thanks for posting the link to Laylita's website.

        2. I've bought a jar of aji amarillo at El Mandado in Raleigh, but I'm not familiar enough with Ecuadorian products to know if that's what you're looking for.

          4 Replies
          1. re: rockycat

            Oh, thank you for the recommendation of El Mandado. I'll check it out.

            1. re: rockycat

              The ají that I had in Ecuador was definitely not yellow-more like a less-processed/pureed and much less spicy Mexican salsa roja.

              But when I put "ají ecuatoriano" into Google, half or more of the examples are yellow. Maybe this is a costeño thing; I was in the Andes the whole time.

              Isn't there an Ecuadorean-run bakery in Raleigh? Perhaps they'd have a line on some.

              1. re: Naco

                Used to be. The original owners of Espiga on Capital Blvd. were Ecuadorian. They sold the bakery a while ago and when I went in recently, it seemed more like a Mexican panaderia. They kept the Ecuadorian empanadas but most everything else was Mexican. No more sandwiches, either.

                1. re: rockycat

                  That's disappointing. I hadn't been there for a year or so...