The Peruvian yellow sauce for chicken known in Peru as salsa de ají amarillo or salsa de polleria was born in the popular pollerías but now this spicy sauce has become a staple in Peruvian cuisine.
What are the pollerias:
Are kind of fast food restaurants specializing in roasted chicken, cooked on a spit over charcoal or in a spiedo, that born start in Peru in the second half of the XX century, being so popular that now “pollo a la brasa” is more consumpted that ceviche (like shrimp ceviche) or chifa food (like peruvian fried rice).
In pollerias we can find chicken, french fries, and 3 kinds of sauces: this sauce of aji amarillo, Ají Pachamanquero (a creamy green sauce), and rocoto sauce (a sauce based on a really hot pepper)
Aji amarillo pepper or yellow aji chili:
The key ingredient is this tasty sauce, this chili has a mild-flavored pepper but a unique taste.
Don´t be confused if you translate the name as yellow chili, you may think it is the typical bright yellow and long chili also called crystal chili. But this is different, is shorter and thicker and his color is more exactly amber.
Sadly is hard to find outside the Peruvian Andes but can be replaced with aji amarillo paste that can be easily found in the United States.
This yellow chili is also used in several Peruvian sauces that share similar tastes, like huancaina sauce or the sauce of aji de gallina, but all these sauces have different bases, like queso fresco, a kind of fresh cheese, or milk with bread crumbs, or this yellow sauce for chicken that use oil and therefore its texture resembles mayonnaise.
In Peru is also used for the sauce huacatay, which is an herb known as black mint but it isn´t a kind of Peruvian variety of mint, even if its smell is similar. Fresh huacatay is really hard to buy outside Peru (but it exists a huacatay paste), and it isn’t essential in this recipe, because you will use the chili sauce instead of the fresh chili, so I won t even include it in the ingredient list.
If you already have yellow chili paste, take advantage of preparing this delicious Peruvian lomo saltado recipe.
How to store and shelf life:
Once ready, this sauce must be refrigerated and it lasts 5 days in an airtight container, ideally of glass.
What is this ají amarillo sauce good for?
Since this sauce was born in Peruvian restaurant of “Pollo a la brasa” that is rotisserie chicken the easy response is chicken, but in Peru is like ketchup in America, and it is used as dipping sauce for french fries or potato chips, white rice, or even hot dogs.
Pro tips for this aji amarillo sauce recipe
The authentic peruvian recipe can be really spicy, and different aji amarillo paste could be stronger than others, so add half of the paste and taste it, If you want it spicier add the rest. If already is too strong for you, can add some sour cream. the capsaicin (the compound that gives to chilies his spiciness) can be neutralized with lactose, so if you don’t have sour cream, you can replace it with plain yogurt, milk o even shredded cheese, anything with lactose will work.
If you don’t have evaporated milk you can replace it with regular milk, the problem is that milk lasts less, so you will have to eat your sauce in 48 hours, before it turns bad.
Is better to store the sauce in a recipient of glass or ceramic, because it can stain plastic
If you want to make a version of this sauce with less oil, you can thicken it by adding half of oil al some saltine.
Every time you are going to use fresh garlic it is good to cut it in two lengthwise and remove the center, that way it will not be so strong.
How to make this sauce with fresh yellow chili pepper?
Each medium chili is equivalent to 1 tbsp of aji amarillo paste (the conversion is approximate because it depends a lot on the maturity of the chili) For making your own paste: Cut the ends of the yellow pepper and slice them lengthwise in two.
Remove the seeds and veins using a knife.
Place them without seeds or veins in a pot with plenty of hot water.
Let them boil for 10-15 minutes at medium heat or until the skin of a chili pepper peels off easily when rubbed.
Remove them from the water, Let them chill at room temperature for a few minutes, and peel the chili peppers, then add them to the blender.
If you want a really spicy sauce you can add some seeds.
If I don´t have a blender or food processor?
You can make this delicious sauce anyway, replacing the oil and the evaporated milk for 1 cup of mayonnaise, if you realize this sauce is a kind of homemade vegan mayonnaise.
Peruvian yellow sauce for chicken
- 5 tbsp yellow chili paste
- 1 or 2 garlic clove
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup evaporated milk
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 cup vegetable oil or olive oil the exact quantity depends on the texture you prefer
- drops of lime juice or lemon juice optional
Put the paste chili peppers in a high-powered blender along with the other ingredients except for the oil; that is: cloves garlic, dijon mustard, dried oregano, and evaporated milk. Blend them well.
Gradually add the oil in a thin stream to the blend of spices with the blender running until you achieve a texture similar to mayonnaise. You can add more oil for a thicker consistency or less oil for a thinner consistency. Keep in mind that it thickens slightly when refrigerated.
Add to your chicken, and french fries and enjoy!