Aji

Ají de Huacatay - There is a reason this recipe is a national Peruvian favorite and it’s not just because it’s easy to make; this stuff is delicious. You can make it in minutes and it keeps for quite some time. Try to make it in advance of using it as the flavor improves with time. Put in squirt bottles or simply put in bowls as a dipping sauce. As a condiment, it is at home along-side Pollo a la Brasa as it is Beef, Pork, and Fish.


Instructions

Ingredients:

  • 1 hot chile pepper (Peruvian aji amarillo)
  • 1 rocoto pepper
  • 1/4 cup plain peanuts
  • 1 cup of Huacatay leaves (fresh or frozen. If you use paste, adjust salt and vinegar to taste) 
  • neutral oil (canola, corn, sunflower, etc.) 
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup mexican cheese or mild feta
  • 2 or 3 crackers (saltines or oyster crackers)
  • splash vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Hardware:

  • Pan or Skillet
  • Chef's Knives
  • Cutting Board
  • Upright or Immersion Blender
  • Squeeze Bottles or Bowls for Serving

    Ají de Huacatay

  1. Step 1

    Remove seeds and veins from the aji amarillo and rocoto peppers.

  2. Step 2

    Heat Skillet on stove to Medium

  3. Step 3

    Add the peppers, peanuts, and Huacatay to the skillet. Do not add oil, you simply want to toast these ingredients slightly.

  4. Step 4

    Add the contents of the skillet to the blender and add evaporated milk, salt, pepper, and cheese

  5. Step 5

    Start blending. The mix will be thin. Add the crackers until you have achieved your desired consistency.

  6. Step 6

    Taste it. Add splash of vinegar and salt accordingly.

Tips & Warnings
  • If you don't have fresh Huacatay or any Huacatay at all, fret not. Run to Latin market and you will likely be in luck. If you don't have one of those either...don't worry about it. If you have a garden or grocery store near-by, you may be in business: pulverize fresh mint with coriander and a little basil.
    Alternatively, if you are so inclined, grow the stuff. It’s easy and grows like a weed, Check out our post on Huacatay.
  • Olive Oil becomes very bitter when blended.  As a result, avoid using this as a substitute.