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Cooking Tips

These Two Peruvian Sauces Make Everything Taste Better

Garlicky-tangy-spicy ají verde and ají amarillo sauces are perfect accompaniments to pollo a la brasa—and anything else you put them on.
By Published June 2, 2022

If you’re familiar with pollo a la brasa (Peruvian grill-roasted chicken), then you know that the succulent, smoky birds are typically presented with an array of ají (chile) sauces. Peruvians love to drizzle the garlicky-tangy-spicy mayonnaise-based mixtures onto the chicken (as well as the accompanying French fries and salad), but the sauces are so packed with vibrant, interesting flavors—and so quick and easy to make—that I’ve been keeping batches on hand to add spark and depth to just about everything.

A generous spoonful of our ají amarillo or ají verde sauce works magic on simple grilled meats and seafood and perks up tacos and burritos. But that’s just the start: I also adore the creamy mayos on eggs, grain bowls, and roasted vegetables. 

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Each sauce calls for just a handful of ingredients; buzz them in the blender and you’re ready to go. The sunny chiles featured in the Ají Amarillo sauce give off fruity, habanero-like vibes with moderate heat; lime juice, garlic, and huacatay, an herb that’s often called black mint with vegetal and menthol undertones, accent the chiles. Our Ají Verde sauce also features huacatay, as well as grassy jalapeños, garlic, salty cotija cheese, and tangy lime juice. Both sauces can be refrigerated for up to one week. 

How to Make AjÍ Verde (Peruvian Green Chile Sauce) 

Combine ½ cup mayonnaise, 1 jalapeño chile, stemmed, seeded, and chopped coarse, 3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro, 2 tablespoons grated cotija cheese, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 tablespoon jarred huacatay paste, and 1 garlic clove, minced, in a blender and process until smooth, about 1 minute.  

How to Make AjÍ Amarillo (Peruvian Yellow Chile Sauce)

Combine ½ cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons ají amarillo paste, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1 garlic clove, minced,  and  1 teaspoon jarred huacatay paste in a blender and process until smooth, about 1 minute.

More Dipping Sauces

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.