Sauces (cremas) and chili peppers (ajíes) are a bloodline for Peruvians. Try to name a dish that isn’t made with or has a sauce on the side. From appetizers, entrees, to street food: you’ll be hard pressed to find a Peruvian eating a meal without a sauce or two. These are Acurio’s recipes for the most popular Peruvian sauces.
Have it, of course, with papa a la huancaina. But, why stop there. Peruvians have it on top of tallarines rojos (spaghetti Amatriciana), tallarines verdes (pesto, see below), arroz con pato, or with anticuchos, and the list can go on.
Drizzle oil and sauté 3 peppers (remove veins and seeds) with garlic and onion. Add to blender, and as you blend slowly add milk, queso fresco, and at the end the saltines. Add salt to taste. See video below:
A staple from Arequipa:
Toast ajíes (remove veins and seeds) with onion and garlic. Blend with 3-4 tablespoons of oil and another few tablespoons of water, add in the walnuts, crackers. Drizzle oil or water as it thickens, add cheese and check for salt. Add a little bit more oil or milk if desired to get creamier consistency.
Listen to Acurio here (recipe starts at 2:38).
Peruvian pesto, or tallarines verdes, is typically served with steak, breaded steak or chicken, and huancaina sauce. Some throw in a fried egg because, why not?
Drizzle olive oil, add garlic, onion, sauté. Add spinach and one bunch of basil. Add to blender, then add the rest of the basil, pecans, cheeses, salt, olive oil, milk and blend until smooth. Check out Gastón making pesto with liver below:
The simplest and most versatile of Peruvian sauces, and it’s not even technically a sauce. It’s so popular that you’ll find variations. Some say, make it with hierbabuena (spearmint) as does Acurio and La Lucha. Others say it should be with cilantro. Salsa criolla will be served with pan con chicharron, butifarra, arroz con pato, papa rellena, seco con frejoles, tamales, pan con pejerrey, and a variety of other dishes. The measurements of the ingredients depends on the amount you’re making.
Thinly slice onions Julienne, thinly cut strips of ají, add chopped hierbabuena or cilantro, drizzle juice of one or two limes, and mix. A pinch of salt if you desire. Here’s Acurio making pan con chicharron, he starts making the sauce at 1:58:
Cover photo: G M/Flickr
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