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Aji de Gallina – classic recipe

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Cooking peruvian food

Aji de Gallina recipe

“I learned to cook the delicious Peruvian food Aji de Gallina when I was in the jungle at the magical Tambopata Research Centre in Peru,” says Andean Trails’ Kat.

One morning it was really far too rainy to watch colourful macaws and monkeys swinging from the tree tops because they were – very sensibly- hiding. A cooking class sounded like just the right thing to get me out of my hammock.

The resident chef David and his assistant Manolo invited us into their kitchen and vowed to teach us a typical Peruvian dish – Aji de Gallina. Here goes.

 

For Aji de Gallina, you need:

  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 3-4 yellow aji chilli peppers **
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1-2 gloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 slices white bread (unsalted crackers can also be used for this)
  • 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese (substitute for the Peruvian cheese used)
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • Vinegar
  • Sugar

** A specific yellow South American chilli. If you live in a big city then you may be able to find this at Latin America stores, or find Yellow Aji Paste. If you cannot find any, use normal chilli peppers and add yellow pepper for colour.

First, cook the chicken in the stock until done, about 20 minutes or so. Once done, let cool and shred into tiny pieces and set aside. Keep the chicken stock.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the sauce.

  • Soak the bread in the milk.
  • Fry onions and garlic until soft and golden.
  • Remove seeds from the chilli peppers and cook 5 minutes with a dash of vinegar and some sugar to take some spiciness out of the chilli. Depending on how spicy you like the chilli, repeat up to 3 times.
  • In a blender, blend the bread mix and the onions/garlic with the peppers and the cheese.

Then, mix the sauce and the chicken pieces in a pan, adding 1 ½ cups of the chicken stock – or more if the sauce is too thick.

Serve with rice, potatoes and typically decorated with a hardboiled egg and olive.

Aji de Gallina!

Don’t forget to play your favourite Latin mix to provide the right setting … and enjoy, while thinking of Peru!

Buen provecho!

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