Any grilled or baked meats get an instant upgrade with this this bright green Peruvian sauce. Aji Verde, the most popular sauce out of Peruvian cuisine, is just a quick blend away.
If you’re fan of Pollo a la Brasa, that famous and flavorful Peruvian chicken, you might have come across the green sauce that comes in plastic squeeze bottles.
Do you remember how they generously drizzle their beloved Aji Verde all over the meat? There’s reason for that…
The chicken and this green sauce are almost inseparable, it enhances the whole culinary experience so much. Now you will find out how easy and quick it is to make this creamy, tangy and a little bit spicy sauce.
This recipe uses ingredients that are readily available to you, and delivers the same bold punch you are familiar with.
Last week we cooked Pollo a la Brasa, the very popular chicken dish out of Peru. It’s our next post, of course. But before that, we’d like to tell you all about the green sauce it’s served with, Aji Verde!
This is the sauce that you have to HAVE if you are going the Peruvian way in your kitchen. It’s extremely easy, as you’re simply throwing all the ingredients in a blender for a quick whirl.
This one is addictive and has so many uses. You can drizzle it on almost anything. Steak, fish, roasted veggies, salads, one bowl meals… This is one condiment you will be glad to have in your refrigerator.
What is Aji Verde?
Aji Verde is a traditional Peruvian green spicy sauce, which is a standard condiment all over Peru. Aji Verde is often served with that Peruvian Roast chicken, Pollo a la Brasa, but it’s the most beloved sauce with many other Peruvian meals.
This sauce is bright, creamy and zesty. It’s a simple blend of cilantro along with other herbs and chili peppers, garlic and lime juice, a little cheese and creamy mayo.
“Aji Verde” translates from Spanish to English as “green chile”, so of course locals like it spicy.
Everyone has their own take on Aji. Some like it pretty hot with more jalapeño. Some like it more creamy. Some versions omit the mayo and use olive oil instead.
Whichever version you have, it packs a punch with the spicy jalapeños, but the cool cilantro and mayo take some of the heat away.
In Peru, Aji Verde is made with herbs and chili peppers that are native to their region. The herbs are cilantro and huacatay, and the chili peppers are mostly aji amarillo. Huacatay is a Peruvian variety of mint. It’s essentially black mint, which is native to the mountains of Peru. It is a very aromatic herb with the fragrance profile of basil, cilantro and mint.
Aji amarillo is a yellow pepper indigenous to the Peruvian Andes. It’s a mild-flavored pepper that is a bit sweet and delicious.
Both huacatay and aji amarillo are quite difficult to find in the United States. Cilantro and mint are great substitute for huacatay, and you can use jalapeño and serrano peppers in absence of aji amarillo. You’ll still end up with a great tasting aji sauce.
Aji Verde Ingredients
As mentioned earlier, we are making Aji with ingredients which are easily found all over the world. If you happen to lay your hands on aji amarillo or huacatay, you can throw them in blend.
But today we are using ingredients that are more readily available. So here are our everyday ingredients that yield great tasting Aji Verde:
- Cilantro – One of the reasons for the bright green color. We mostly use leaves, but you can keep a few tender stems.
- Jalapeños – You can sub with serrano peppers if you like. Remove the seeds and membranes unless you want it extra spicy, and roughly chop the peppers. You can use more or less depending on how hot you want your Aji.
- Garlic – We used just a couple of them, but again you can add more if you like it garlicky.
- Lime juice – For zest and instant pop to any sauce.
- Mayonnaise – Good quality mayo adds a creamy touch to the sauce. You can sub it with yogurt for lighter Aji Verde.
- Grated cotija or parmesan cheese – Enhances the flavor profile.
- Sea Salt
Aji Verde Recipe
It takes a few minutes to blend all the ingredients into this green Peruvian Sauce.
In a blender, place cilantro, jalapeño and garlic, then blend till chopped finely. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend it to an almost smooth consistency (it will still have some texture).
Taste and adjust the green sauce for salt and taste. If you like hotter, add more jalapeño, or add additional lime for more zing. Serve immediately, or store covered in the refrigerator.
Aji Verde Variations
- Use a little fresh mint, if available. Some versions also include green onion to the mix. How about some avocado in the mix? Sounds great too.
- Avoid mayo and blend the sauce with 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil.
- Use yogurt in place of mayo for lighter Aji Verde.
- Add more jalapeños or serrano for a spicier version.
Uses for Peruvian Green Sauce
- Traditionally, it’s paired with Peruvian Roast Chicken, Pollo a la Brasa. It works wonderfully with the already flavorful roasted or grilled chicken. It would be an equally great flavor enhancer for any rotisserie or air fryer chicken. Try it with grilled or baked fish, or steak.
- Drizzle it over roasted veggies, salads, fried potatoes, French fries or steak fries.
- Top it on tacos (imagine fish or steak tacos with this green sauce… yum), burrito bowls, grain bowls, sandwiches, breads and crostini.
- Flavor enhancer for rice and beans.
- Try it on fried or scrambled eggs.
- It’s a great dip for Tostones or yuca.
Aji Verde can be refrigerated in a clean air tight container. Use within 1 week for best quality. Simply drizzle it over your meal anytime you want a little flavor booster.
There you go, make this delicious zesty and spicy Peruvian sauce for our upcoming Pollo a la Brasa. We promise it’s one of the tastiest roasted chicken dishes you have ever tasted.
Life is great when you invite flavors from all around the world, and we are always excited to present them to you. One more sauce from GypsyPlate, our easy Aji Verde.
You can make in no time with easy to find local ingredients. That means there’s no excuse saying you can’t make it today in your very own kitchen…
Aji Verde, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
Try these other easy and delicious condiments!
Louisiana Style Remoulade
Cilantro Mint Chutney
Utah Fry Sauce
Aji Verde (Peruvian Green Sauce)
Aji Verde is a wonderfully tasty mayo based Peruvian green sauce with cilantro and chili peppers. It's so good you'll always want this condiment in your fridge!
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 cups cilantro, mostly leaves
- 2 jalapeños, roughly chopped (see note 1)
- 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup grated cotija or parmesan cheese
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- In a blender, place cilantro, jalapeño, garlic and blend till chopped finely. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend it to an almost smooth consistency (it will still have some texture).
- Taste and adjust the green sauce for salt and taste. If you like hotter, add more jalapeño, or add additional lime for more zing.
- Serve immediately, or store covered in the refrigerator. (It's great refrigerated up to 1 week)
- Jalapeños can vary a lot when it comes to heat. Always try them a little before adding to the sauce. If they are very hot, remove the seeds and white membranes inside. You can always add more later if you prefer more heat later. For a spicier version, you can use serrano peppers instead.
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