Peruvian Green Sauce aka Peruvian Green Aji Sauce is so good!
My name is Debi, and I have an addiction.
It isn’t as bad as you might first think.
I’m addicted to Peruvian green aji sauce. I put it on everything from veggies to bread. I put it on chips and crackers. I put it on top of nachos. I’ve had it with fish or rice or cheese. And well, I’ve stuck my finger into it to just to lick my finger. Oh, and it was fabulous in scrambled eggs (break a few raw eggs into a bowl, lightly mix with a couple of spoonfuls of green sauce, and cook the scramble over medium heat. Wrap the hot scrambled green eggs up in a warm tortilla and you have breakfast Nirvana!).
This addiction might not be such a bad thing except for the fact that the green sauce is hot. It makes my mouth tingle and my brow perspire. It makes my face flush with redness. It makes me warm, really warm. I have to go take my jacket off. I think I may be burning a hole through my mouth. Yet, it is a sort of comforting burning hole in my mouth. So good. So tasty. So satisfying. As if… yes, as if I were addicted.
The nice thing about being able to make something in your own kitchen is that you can adjust the seasonings to your taste. But, even with this ability to change the recipe, I think I’ve actually made the sauce hotter. Maybe I should try taking the seeds and membranes out of the peppers to cool it down a bit. Maybe, I could try adding less chile. Maybe, oh, maybe I’ll just keep making it hot. It’s so good that I just keep going back for more. It almost seems that the only thing that’ll put out the heat is … more green sauce. Nonsensical, I know. But there it is. I’m addicted.
This full-fledged addiction started a few months ago. Before October, but I don’t exactly know when. I thought I would try to recreate that green sauce at home. Look it up on the internets. They have everything on the internets. And, although that may be true, the recipe may be out there. However, so are tons of other recipes. And it’s these other ones that lead you astray. They just aren’t right. Bland. No kick. Tasty, sure, but it wasn’t the green sauce.
To my utter surprise and delight, I found a class taught by a Peruvian woman who would teach me about green sauce. She was a wonderful sweet lady who wasn’t comfortable speaking English. Her daughter helped teach the class by translating for mom. The elder Peruvian woman was an old-fashioned cook who cooks with all her senses – sight, smell, taste, feel, and hearing. She might add a pinch of this or a spoonful of that. She might pour in some water if she can hear that something is cooking too hot and fast. She tastes the dish and adds two more spoonfuls of something else. Her dishes probably never come out the same way twice.
Well, this is a great way to cook, and I wish more people were comfortable with this. However, it isn’t such a good way to write recipes. So, I’ve had to interpret her actions in class as best I could. I’ve also tried a few variations to the recipe and it has turned out different each time. (Like I said, I’m addicted, and I have made more than a few batches of this). I forgot to add any Serrano peppers one time. The teacher forgot to bring the lettuce to class and made the sauce without it. I tried it without any cheese to lower the fat content. Add more cilantro? That’s fine. Or, more of the Peruvian chile peppers. I’m still working on the sauce. I’m still trying to figure out what makes it tick. What makes it so that I don’t mind the heat? What makes it so addictive?
I’ve had a few people ask what this green sauce is called. And, a few people call it aji sauce. The word “Aji” is what the Peruvians call chile peppers. The Peruvian hot pepper is a unique species of chile, containing several different breeds. They come in different colors and have that distinctive, fruity flavor. So, Peruvian Green Aji sauce is a great way to describe the sauce.
Lastly, there are a few ingredients that will be difficult to find at the local grocery store. I’ve been going to a Mexican meat market that the Peruvian teacher told us about.
Until I perfect the recipe, I will continue to test. A brave sacrifice, I know. But, someone must do it. Someone must try. Someone must be addicted. Er, I mean, yeah, that’s what I meant. In the meantime, there’s always the great Peruvian restaurants Inka Grill (The first place that I ever experienced green sauce), Nory’s Restaurant, Mr. Pollo, Inka Mama’s, and here’s a listing of several Peruvian restaurants in OC (if you aren’t in the OC, check Yelp for a list of other restaurants in your area).
Recently I found this recipe on the internet. She talks about all the questions I had & she talks about her research into the sauce. Her’s is very close to what I ended up with. I do think that it really makes a difference if you get authentic ingredients rather than just “close” ones. For instance, take the time to buy the Peruvian chiles rather than just using jalapenos. It’s worth the extra time and expense to find the right ingredients.