Time for Some Colombian Spice: Aji

Colombia, Latin, Recipes — By on September 14, 2011 10:09 pm

After some requests, I decided to go ahead and share the recipe for the Colombian hot sauce or “Aji”.

It’s really very simple, and you want to remember that, contrary to popular conception, Colombians don’t eat really spicy food. Something else I want to note, I don’t like chopping with the food processor which, to my taste buds, changes the taste of some sauces like Aji or Chimichurri. Here’s what you’ll need:

2 large bunches of cilantro

1 bunch of green onions

2 or more jalapenos (add one at a time until you get it as hot as you want it)

Salt to taste

2 spoons full of olive oil

1 1/2 large limes (you may squeeze 2 limes if you want more juice)


Here’s the way I make it – the old fashion way. First, wash the cilantro well and make sure to pick out any damaged leaves, trimming a bit of the bottom of the stems to use only the prettiest green. Now, start chopping. Chop the cilantro super fine, this will require you to go back-and-forth in different directions until you get the cilantro really fine. Wash the green onions thoroughly, peel off any dead or not fresh-looking parts, then chop off the roots and the ends of the leaves. Gather the green onions and start chopping along the stems then, as with the cilantro, chop very finely.

Next up, the jalapenos. I cut and take out the seeds of the jalapenos because they are too hot for me, but you can add the seeds if you want, or just add more jalapenos, as you see fit. Chop the jalapenos just as finely as the previous ingredients. Mix the cilantro, green onions and jalapenos in a large bowl. Now take the limes and squeeze the juice into the bowl containing all the greens, add salt to the taste, and drizzle in the olive oil. Mix everything with a large spoon and let it sit for a few minutes to give all the juices time to fuse together.

You can serve the Aji just like salsa in small bowls, or you can do as Colombians do and pour it on boiled salty potatoes, empanadas, yuca, steak and soup. Keep refrigerated and you can enjoy it for a week.


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