Peruvians love salsas, sauces and dips. They are a must on every dining table and complement, enhance or vary the unique flavors of local dishes. One of the most popular sauces in Peru that reflect the soul of the Peruvian cuisine is Salsa Huancaina.
Salsa Huancaina is a creamy, spicy, but still pleasant sauce with an inimitable Peruvian flavor that is prepared in no time with simple Peruvian ingredients such as aji amarillo, the Peruvian yellow chili pepper with its distinctive flavor, queso fresco, a fresh Peruvian white cheese, and milk.
Even though the Huancaina sauce gained popularity being the star of Peru’s famous starter Papas a la Huancaina (potatoes covered with Huancaina sauce), the scrumptious salsa is very versatile and goes extremely well with many other flavors.
While Salsa Huancaina is absolutely delicious as a dip for fries, tequeños (fried Peruvian cheese sticks), fried yucca sticks, corn on the cob, veggies and many other little goodies, it is heavenly with barbecued meat and when served as Spaghetti a la Huancaina or Risotto a la Huancaina. Comfort food with a Peruvian touch at its best.
Preparing Salsa Huancaina at home isn’t a big deal and done in 5 to 10 minutes. But if you are aiming for the real Peruvian flavor, there is no way around using aji amarillo. The perfect combination of its sweet fruitiness and heat gives the sauce its characteristic color and taste.
Usually you can find aji amarillo in Latin American food stores in numerous cities around the globe or online – if not fresh, then surely as paste, or whole frozen or canned, or as last resort grounded. While finding aji amarillo outside Peru might be challenging, it’s worth the effort.
Find below my quick and easy recipe for Salsa Huancaina.