How to Make Spicy and Versatile Aji Amarillo Sauce

Aji Amarillo chile peppers
Chasqui/Flickr
  • 10 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 3/4 cup (serves 8 - 10)
Ratings (27)

This versatile, spicy yellow sauce is the perfect accompaniment to roasted chicken, vegetables, french fries and fried yuca. The star ingredient is the aji amarillo chili pepper, a staple in Peruvian cooking. Recipes vary from region to region, and the most authentic recipes do not contain mayonnaise, as this one does.

Look for jarred aji amarillo paste in a Latin food market. If you can't find the paste, you can use frozen aji amarillo peppers. Thaw and dice one pepper and saute it in olive oil until it's soft. Add the cooked pepper to the rest of the sauce ingredients and process.

What You'll Need

  • 2 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons aji amarillo paste or one aji amarillo pepper, chopped and sauteed in oil
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup queso fresco, ricotta or feta
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • Juice of 1 to 2 limes to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to Make It

  1. Put the chopped onions; aji amarillo paste or sauteed pepper; mayonnaise; sour cream, queso fresco, ricotta or feta cheese; ketchup; and lime juice into a food processor or blender.
  2. Process until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  3. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste and chill until ready to serve.

Note

This flavor of this sauce improves after 24 hours in the refrigerator. You can store the sauce in the refrigerator for up to one week.

How to Use Aji Amarillo Sauce

In Peruvian cooking, aji amarillo sauce is a basic ingredient. This hot and spicy but cheesy and creamy combo is used in Peru as a dipping sauce for french fries, roasted chicken, baby potatoes and fried plantains. It's also used as a dipping sauce for Peru's trademark dish, ceviche, and as a sauce over cooked potatoes and chicken, beef and fish. The sauce turns common dishes with mild flavors like these into meals with personality.

In the U.S., it serves as a dipping sauce for chicken fingers, chicken wings, onion rings, waffle fries, sweet potato fries, tater tots, potato chips, hot pretzels, pita bread, broccoli or cauliflower. 

Variations

Peruvians make two kinds of aji (chili) sauce -- green and yellow. The sauce made with aji amarillo -- this recipe -- is the yellow sauce. Green aji sauce substitutes jalapenos for aji amarillo and adds cilantro for spice. Garlic is also commonly an ingredient in both types of aji sauce; use to taste. Huacatay, called Peruvian black mint, is also often part of the recipe for yellow aji sauce.