Peruvian cuisine is filled with interesting flavors that come as a result of a rich cultural mix that has happened over the past centuries. All sorts of ingredients come together from different parts of the world and get together in a warm kitchen to make the best dishes, worldwide known for being the most delicious. One of these ingredients- probably the most popular one- is ajíamarillo. This bright food is part of some classic meals but not many know where it comes from. Check out more about this type of ají and learn how to make 2 incredible recipes that will amaze your guests at dinner.
What is ají amarillo?
First off, let’s dig in a little deeper on the origin of this ingredient. Ajíamarillo is a mildly spicy pepper that’s actually bright orange in color. It has a long and thin shape and it measures approximately 3 inches. As we mentioned, ajíamarillo is not as spicy as other Peruvian chillies, and if you don’t include the seeds in your sauces or dishes the taste is even milder.
Ajíamarillo is considered one of the main ingredients in Peruvian cuisine because it can be easily added to any recipe, whether it’s chopped into a fresh cold meal or mixed with spices to create a thick sauce.
There are plenty of dishes that typically include ajíamarillo, and this ingredient is so popular that you can add it to whatever you want and it’ll mix well. Check out 2 mouth-watering recipes that include this exotic pepper.
Ajíde Gallina Recipe
This is a very traditional dish among Peruvians, which you can easily find at any home served along with a bed of white rice and boiled potatoes with black olives. Preparing Ají de Gallina is very simple by following this recipe:
- 4 yellow potatoes
- 4 slices of white bread
- ¾ cup of evaporated milk
- 1 ½ pounds of chicken breast
- 4 cups of chicken stock
1 jar of ajíamarillo paste
- ½ cup of vegetable oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons of walnuts, chopped
- 3 tablespoons of parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 hard-boiled eggs
- 10 black olives, halved
- Place the potatoes on a pot with water and cook them until they feel tender when you pinch them with a fork.
- Let the potatoes cool. Peel them, cut them into quarters and set them aside to rest.
- Place the bread slices on a wide bowl and pour the evaporated milk over them, letting them completely soak in it. Set the bowl aside.
- Take a large pot and put the chicken breast to simmer with the chicken broth. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes until the chicken is barely cooked and looks a little white.
- Set the chicken aside to cool, strain the chicken broth and save 2 cups of it in a bowl.
Take the jar of ajíamarillo and toss it on the blender to be mixed with the vegetable oil.
On a medium-sized skillet sauté the garlic and onion with a little oil until they look golden, then pour the ajíamarillo Once it’s warm enough take from the heat and set aside.
- Shred the cooked chicken into bite-size pieces.
Place together the bread slices with evaporated milk, the nuts and the parmesan cheese into the blender and mix them well. When it’s completely smooth, add the ajíamarillo paste with garlic and onion.
- Take this new mixture into a skillet and add the saved chicken broth to make the texture lighter. Bring to a low simmer and add the chicken pieces, slowly stirring and adding more chicken broth if necessary to lighten the sauce.
- To serve, add the potato slices, black olives and sliced hard-boiled eggs.
Coconut and Ají Amarillo Braised Chicken Recipe
It’s always a good idea to add a fun spin on a classic dish, and this is the case here. Mixing some traditional Peruvian ingredients such as chicken and ajíamarillo with the exotic flavor of coconut gives it a whole new meaning for your mouth. Although it seems very high-end cuisine, this recipe is actually pretty easy:
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
- 4 bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs
- ½ large yellow onion, finely sliced
- 4 medium cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 1 can of coconut milk
¼ to ½ of ajíamarillo paste jar
- ½ small-sized butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch thick slices
- ¾ cup of fresh or frozen peas
- ½ bunch of fresh cilantro leaves with tender stems, finely chopped
- 1 cup of cooked rice (for serving)
- 1 large boiled yuca (for serving)
- Salt to taste
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
- Add the coconut oil to a large, oven-safe pot and heat over medium-high heat until oil starts to shimmer.
Season the chicken thighs with salt and place on the pot to sear, skin side down, until they reach a golden brown color or approximately for about 4 minutes. Flip the chicken to the other side and let it sear for another 4 minutes. When the chicken’s done take it out and set aside.
- Drain excess oil from the pot and turn down the heat to medium.
Add the sliced onion and the minced garlic to the pot and let them cook until they’re translucent, approximately for 5 minutes.
Turn up the heat of the pot and add the coconut milk, the ajíamarillo paste and the squash and bring all to a simmer. Add salt to taste to season and return the chicken to the pot along with the juices it accumulated. Make sure the chicken is resting on top of the squash so the skin remains above the surface.
- Take the pot out of the stove and place it on the oven without covering. Leave it there until the chicken is completely cooked through and the squash is completely tender when being pinched. This could take approximately 45 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the oven and add the fresh peas and chopped cilantro.
- Serve along with a portion of white rice and boiled yuca.
With these 2 recipes you’ll be the most popular host for dinners, so bring a little Peruvian flavor to your meals with ajíamarillo!
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