“The Soul of Peruvian Cuisine”

Chile Capsicum frutescens                                                                                                                                        http://www.uni-graz.at/~katzer/engl/Caps_fru.html

One of the Peruvian foods I found particularly tasty was the Aji Amarillo. In Spanish Aji means chile pepper, and of course, amarillo means yellow.  Aji Amarillo is a spicy yellow chile pepper that the magazine the Atlantic called “the soul of Peruvian cuisine.” I had the opportunity to sample this pepper is a couple of dishes both before I went to Peru at Machu Picchu in Raleigh, NC and while cavorting around Lima, Cusco, and Tambopata. The two dishes that are mostly commonly associated with the aji amarillo are Papa a la Huancaína and Aji de Gallina.

Below are some fabulous recipes for making the spicy pepper sauce that tops the Papa de la Huancaína, as well as the that recipe, I found in entry on South American Food at About.com

Inti Foods                                                                                                                                                               http://intifoods.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=4

You can even buy the Huancaína sauce online.  I wonder if I can find it in a specialty store as well?  Hmmm… I will let you know if I find it.

Spicy Cheese Sauce – Salsa a la Huancaína

Huancaína (wan-kay-eena) sauce is typically served over cold sliced potatoes in the famous Peruvian dish Papas a la Huancaína. Made with aji amarillo peppers, it is a versatile sauce that goes with many flavors. Serve it as a dipping sauce for bite-size boiled potatoes or raw vegetables. You can adjust the spiciness by using fewer or more yellow chile peppers.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes


  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3-4 yellow aji amarillo chile peppers (frozen is fine), or 1/2 cup jarred aji amarillo paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, mashed
  • 2 cups white farmer’s cheese (queso freso)
  • 4 saltine crackers
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Remove seeds from yellow chile peppers and chop into 1 inch pieces.
  2. Sauté onion, garlic, and chile peppers (or paste) in the oil until onion is softened, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. Place onion/chile mixture in a food processor or blender. Add evaporated milk and blend.
  4. Add cheese and crackers and blend until smooth. Sauce should be fairly thick. Thicken sauce with more saltines or thin sauce with milk if necessary.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Cómo Hacer Papa La Huancaína                                                                                                                                       http://sobre-peru.com/2010/02/08/como-hacer-papa-a-la-huancaina/

Papa a la Huancaína – Potatoes in Spicy Cheese Sauce

Papa a la Huancaína is dish of sliced potatoes covered in a spicy cheese sauce that is typically served cold, as a first course or luncheon dish. It’s delicious made with yellow or white potatoes. If you prefer a spicier sauce, add an extra yellow chile pepper (aji amarillo).


  • 8 yellow or while potatoes
  • Huancaína sauce
  • Lettuce leaves
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • 8 large black olives, halved


  1. Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling and add the potatoes.
  2. Boil potatoes until tender when pierced with a fork.
  3. Drain water from potatoes and let cool.
  4. Slice potatoes and arrange on top of the lettuce leaves.
  5. Pour huancaína sauce over potatoes, and garnish with slices of hard-boiled egg and black olive halves.

Serves 4 to 6.


Chair of Social Science, Humanities,
& Foreign Languages

Liberal Arts & University Transfer
Craven Community College

800 College Court
New Bern, NC 28562
Email: bellaceroc@cravencc.edu
Phone: 252.638.7328
Fax: 252.638.3231

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