Aji Amarillo Sauce for Peruvian Chicken

When I think of Aji Amarillo Sauce, my mind instantly travels to the vibrant streets of Lima, the capital of Peru. I remember the first time I tasted it. I was at a bustling local market, lured by the smoky aroma of grilled chicken wafting through the air. A kind-faced Peruvian woman handed me a plate, and what I experienced next was nothing short of culinary magic.

The Heart of Aji Amarillo

As a fiery food enthusiast, I was always on the hunt for the next big flavor. But Aji Amarillo was more than just a pepper. Its deep orange hue painted a story of ancient Peru, where it has been cultivated for over 7,000 years. The pepper’s balance of sweetness with a kick of heat made it stand out.

A Recipe Passed Down Through Generations

It wasn’t until I became close friends with a local named Rosa that I truly understood the soul of Aji Amarillo Sauce. She shared her grandmother’s secret recipe with me, a treasure passed down through generations:


  • 5-6 Aji Amarillo peppers (Rosa always said, “Remove the seeds, unless you want to dance on fire!”)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil (her choice for its rich flavor)
  • 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • A pinch of turmeric (a little trick for that golden glow)
  • ½ cup freshly plucked cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup queso fresco (soft, crumbly, and tangy fresh cheese)
  • ½ cup evaporated milk (for that creamy texture)
  • Salt and pepper, as per her grandma’s advice, “Always to taste!”


  1. Treat the Peppers with Love: Boil them gently until they soften. Remember to peel and seed.
  2. Build the Flavors: In a pan warmed with olive oil, Rosa would chat about her day as she sautéed the onions. Then, she’d add garlic, waiting for its aroma to fill the kitchen.
  3. The Magic Mix: In goes the peppers, onion, garlic, a sprinkle of turmeric, handfuls of cilantro, queso fresco, and evaporated milk into a blender. She blended until it had a silky texture.
  4. The Final Touch: A dash of salt, a sprinkle of pepper, and her grandma’s secret ingredient: a whole lot of love.

Pairing it Right: A Love Story

To Rosa, pairing the Aji Amarillo Sauce with Peruvian Chicken wasn’t just a culinary choice; it was a tale of two lovers meant to be together. Marinate the chicken with spices, grill it to perfection, and when paired with the sauce, it’s a love story on a plate.

Frequently Asked Questions about Aji Amarillo Sauce for Peruvian Chicken

  1. What is the heat level of Aji Amarillo peppers?
    • Aji Amarillo peppers have a moderate heat level, typically registering between 30,000 to 50,000 on the Scoville Heat Scale. While it’s not the spiciest pepper out there, it offers a perfect balance of sweetness and heat.
  1. Can I substitute Aji Amarillo peppers with another type of pepper?
    • While Aji Amarillo peppers have a unique flavor, if you can’t find them, you might try substituting with Scotch Bonnet or Habanero peppers. However, note that the flavor will be different and often spicier, so adjust the quantity accordingly.
  1. How can I store the Aji Amarillo Sauce?
    • Store the sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should last for up to a week. For extended storage, you can freeze the sauce in ice cube trays and transfer the cubes to a freezer bag, allowing for easy portioned use later.
  1. What other dishes can I pair with Aji Amarillo Sauce?
    • Beyond Peruvian chicken, Aji Amarillo Sauce pairs beautifully with grilled fish, roasted vegetables, and even as a zesty dressing for salads. Its versatile flavor complements a wide range of dishes.
  1. Is there a vegan alternative to the traditional Aji Amarillo Sauce recipe?
    • Absolutely! For a vegan version, replace the queso fresco with soft tofu or cashews to maintain the creamy texture. Swap the evaporated milk for coconut milk or almond milk. Adjust seasonings as needed to taste.

Concluding with a Warm Embrace

Aji Amarillo Sauce, to me, isn’t just a condiment. It’s Rosa laughing in her kitchen, the stories of her ancestors, and the heart of Peru in every bite. Whether you’ve visited Peru or are just venturing into its flavors from afar, let this golden sauce wrap you in a warm Peruvian embrace.

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