I found this recipe in one of my favorite Peruvian cookbooks: El Perú y Sus Manjares, Un Crisol de Culturas by Josie Sison Porras de De La Guerra. This is a compilation of recipes that belong to convents and to well-known families with long histories in Lima, and of course I fell in love with most of them. Many of these recipes are very old, therefore they are made in the traditional manner. Using a batán (mortar stone) to grind ingredients, and many other artisanal utensils that we hardly see in modern day cooking.
This ají mirasol (dried yellow chili pepper) sauce is one of my favorite recipes from the book. It starts with dried ají mirasol, but I make it often with ají mirasol paste because I know that finding our unique peppers can be difficult if you don´t live in Peru or have a grocery store well stocked with South American ingredients nearby.
This sauce only has four ingredients: vegetable oil, ají mirasol paste, evaporated milk, and salt. It is very easy to make and it´s perfect to pour over some boiled or steamed potatoes, chicken, pork, or fish. In this cookbook, however, it is gloriously served over a delicious causa. The first time I made it I served it over causa as well and I loved it! But then again, I love causa in any color shape or form.
If you want to make it with real (whole) ají mirasol, slice the peppers, discard the seeds and ribs, toast them in a dry skillet, cover with water, and boil them three times, changing the water every time. Cool the peppers and process in the blender until creamy. You can strain the paste or leave it a bit thicker like that.
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup aji mirasol paste
- 1 can unsweetened evaporated milk
- Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the aji mirasol paste and fry, stirring, until the mixture curdles.
- Add the evaporated milk and salt to taste. Continue cooking a few minutes until the sauce is bubbling and lightly thick. Turn off the heat.