Aji de Gallina Recipe
One of the dishes I enjoyed in Peru was aji de gallina. Aji can mean many things in Latin America. First of all, it actually means pepper. But different dishes or sauces can be called aji in different countries. Therefore, when talking about the aji of a certain country, it is useful to put the name of that country at the beginning of the name. By the way, the j sound is pronounced as h in Spanish. Just like jalapeño is pronounced halapenyo and fajita is pronounced fahita, aji is pronounced ahi. Aji de gallina means aji with chicken. Aji here means cream/sauce made with Peruvian orange aji peppers.
Aji de gallina looks like a type of curry at first glance. Its taste and consistency is like curry. It just doesn't have a very spicy taste. The spiciness will vary depending on the spiciness of your peppers. If the peppers you use are not too hot and you want the dish to be spicy, you can add some hot pepper sauce or chili peppers. If you can't find orange or yellow peppers, you can also use red peppers. Only the color will be slightly different.
While we are talking about this pepper issue, let's also remember the csirke paprikas recipe from Hungarian cuisine, from a geography far away from Peru. In my opinion, they are as similar as aji de gallina adapted to the current conditions and ingredients.
The original recipe for aji de gallina is a bit complicated. The peppers are boiled and processed with a vertical blender and added to the sauce, the bread is also ground and added in the same way, etc. I Turkified the recipe a little. I roasted everything in a pot and blended it with a hand blender. It was no different from what I ate in Peru. So why should I use more containers and prolong the process?
Another change I made to the recipe was to remove the cheese. One thing I found strange about Peruvian cuisine was that they put cheese and olives in dishes that I would never think of using as a Turk. I have eaten a dish called juane de gallina, which they cook on special occasions in the Amazon. They put chicken and rice, boiled eggs, fresh cheese and olives into a large leaf and cook it. Rice with chicken is wonderful, but in my opinion, it would be fine without eggs, cheese and olives. It seems to me that Peruvians have invented cheese (they have very delicious fresh cheese), they have known how to pickle olives (they have large, delicious black olives that are perfect for breakfast), they already have eggs, and since they couldn't make brewing tea a tradition, now Turkish breakfast is famous, not a Peruvian one. And Peruvians had to add cheese and olives to their meals. Cheese is used in aji de gallina as well. I didn't add it because I doubted it would make a big contribution to the flavor. If you wish, you can also add a few tablespoons of grated cheese of your choice to the dish.
When many people think of Peruvian cuisine, only ceviche comes to mind. Although ceviche is a dish that deserves this reputation, I think aji de gallina is a dish that is at least as delicious as ceviche. I wanted to share it because I thought it was a dish that needed to be known and recognized.
Aji de gallina is traditionally served with rice, boiled potatoes, boiled eggs and olives. But if you want a simpler and plainer presentation, just rice will be enough.
Enjoy the recipe...
Aji de Gallina Recipe with Video
- 1 whole chicken breast,
- 1 potato
- 2 eggs,
- 1/2 onion,
- 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper,
- 2 bay leaves,
- 20 black olives.
For the sauce:
- 1 onion,
- 1 clove of garlic,
- 3 (150-200 g) Peruvian orange aji peppers,
- 200 ml of heavy cream,
- 3 slices (60 g) of white bread,
- 1/3 cup of walnuts,
- 5-6 tablespoons of olive oil,
- Black pepper,
- Take the potatoes into a sauce pan, add enough water to cover them and simmer them until they become soft,
- Place the bread slices in a bowl and pour the cream over them,
- Place the chicken in a sauce pan,
- Add onion, bay leaf, black pepper and water, close the lid and boil until soft,
- For the sauce, heat the olive oil, add the finely chopped onion and garlic and fry until softened,
- Add finely chopped aji peppers peppers and stir fry until softens,
- Add the cream-soaked bread, walnuts and a cup of the broth of the chicken and blend them,
- Add salt, black pepper and cumin and mix,
- Shred the boiled chicken, add it to the sauce and mix,
- Boil the eggs, peel them and cut them in half,
- Take a small bowl of plain rice on a serving plate,
- Place a few slices of potatoes next to it,
- Put the chicken dish with sauce on the plate,
- Place the half-boiled egg on the plate and sprinkle a few olives on top.
Enjoy your meal...