Looks like an avocado health shake huh? But that green is loaded with all these peppers.
Hmm. You can't tell by the photo but the peppers were pretty big. Ground up to make aji verde (Peruvian green chili sauce). The dipping sauce is served with bread at some Peruvian restaurants.
I am so, so susceptible to food cravings. After reading Dylan of Eat, Drink, and Be Merry's post about Pollo A La Brasa's wood-fired chicken with a photo of their aji sauce, I had to have some then and there. Since it was at least a half hour's drive in either direction to the closest Peruvian restaurant, I set out to make my own.
I figured Alejandro of Peru Food would have a recipe and sure enough I found his green Peruvian hot sauce. His recipe included just the basics -- cilantro leaves, jalapenos, salt, oil, and garlic. I wanted my sauce to be a bit creamier and thicker so I added mayonnaise. If you want to be really authentic though, substitute the amount of mayonnaise in my recipe with oil and keep blending until the oil becomes "mayonnaise."
The aji pepper is a type of Peruvian chili pepper, but the word is also used in parts of South America for all peppers. Since I couldn't find aji peppers here, I substituted with jalapenos. I also tossed in several other varieties of chili peppers just for fun.
Obviously, adjust the amount of chili depending on your spicy tolerance. For some reason, when I ate this right away, it had a nice spicy burn on my tongue. But left overnight, it just became a mild green sauce.
As it's a sauce, I'm just giving estimations to start with. Add more mayonnaise or oil to adjust creaminess and thickness until it's to your liking.
Aji Verde (Peruvian Green Chili Sauce)
Adapted from Alejandro of Peru Food's Green Peruvian Hot Sauce
For several dipping bowls of sauce, you'll need:
1 bunch of cilantro
As many chili peppers as you can stand. The recipe generally calls for about 3 jalapenos.
1 clove of garlic
Salt to taste, about 1/2 tsp to start
Olive oil, about 1/4 cup to start
Mayonnaise, about 3 tblsp to start (Substitute with oil and blend until it becomes creamy if you want to keep this more authentic.)
1/4 cup water
Optional: Freshly squeezed lemon juice or white wine vinegar if you want a bit of tang.
Some recipes call for cilantro leaves only, but I threw in the stems as well to add some liquid to the sauce. I know cilantro is an acquired taste, so substitute with iceberg or romaine lettuce if you want a neutral taste but want to retain the green color.
Halve and de-seed the chili peppers. Make sure you wear gloves or thoroughly wash your hands afterward. And don't rub your eyes!
Puree all the ingredients in a blender, food processor, or hand immersion blender. It's like making pesto, start with the basic portions and adjust according to your taste. What worked for me was roughly those amounts. Add mayonnaise for creaminess. You can add water too if the sauce appears too thick. I've seen some recipes that called for white cheese or nuts, but felt those were too strong in taste since the versions of aji sauce that I've liked were light in flavor, with just an undertone of spiciness.
Serve with bread for dipping.
1 year ago today, Food Choices, Fu Lin Chinese Restaurant, and Burrito-Sized Egg Rolls in Salzburg.