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This delicious Aji de gallina recipe is one of the most beloved classic Peruvian dishes. It combines shredded chicken in a creamy walnut-based sauce with a mild kick of spice from Ají Amarillo chili. Easy to make, surprise guests with the fusion of flavors in this emblematic Peruvian dish.
What is Ají De Gallina
Aji de Gallina is one of the most traditional native Peruvian foods. A fusion of Spanish and Quechua ingredients, this dish features succulent chicken in a mildly spicy creamy sauce.
This dish gets its color from the yellow ají amarillo chili pepper, one of the must-have ingredients of Peruvian cuisine.
The heat of the peppers is softened by a liberal dose of evaporated milk or cream.
A beloved Peruvian comfort food, aji de gallina is a symbol of the country’s cultural fusion and history.
With this simple aji de gallina recipe, you will be biting into the cultural fabric of Peru.
Peruvian Aji De Gallina History
Aji de Gallina has its roots in Peruvian tradition, fusing indigenous ingredients from the Andes mountains and Spanish influences.
The name “Aji de Gallina” is derived from both the yellow chili (“aji”) and the chicken (“gallina”), the key ingredients that define the dish.
Gallina is a hen or female chicken, and the taste of gallina meat is mild and tender,
Over the years, aji de gallina has transcended its humble origins and has become a staple in Peruvian households.
Around the world, Ají de Gallina has gained international acclaim. It is one of the country’s favorite dishes, and we hope with this recipe, it will be one of yours too.
Discovering Aji de Gallina in Peru
Aji de Gallina was one of the first dishes we had when we arrived in Cusco, Peru, on our culinary travels.
We tried it for the first time at a local Cusco market and were delighted by its mild and creamy flavors.
As a popular comfort food, you’ll find aji de gallina on most restaurant menus in Peru.
We were thrilled to have discovered the rich flavors of this emblematic Peruvian dish, and we happily ate it throughout our stay in Peru.
We’re excited to share this simple aji de gallina recipe so that you can enjoy this flavorful iconic Peruvian dish at home.
Aji de Gallina Recipe – How To Make Aji de Gallina Peruano at Home
The secret to making this aji de gallina recipe is organization. You’ll want to have multiple pots on burners going at the same time.
You need to boil the eggs, make the rice, and cook the potatoes at about the same time while making the creamy sauce.
This recipe is not difficult to make. Simply keep an eye on the different pots cooking and you’ll be rewarded with a creamy and flavorful Peruvian classic dish.
Aji de Gallina Recipe Tips
To enjoy the full flavors of aji de gallina, here are a few recipe tips to guide you.
- Use the Chicken Cooking Broth: Use the broth from cooking the chicken as a base for the sauce. It will contribute a deeper and more authentic flavor to the dish.
- What Cut Of Chicken Should You Use? For this aji de gallina recipe, you can use a mix of white and brown chicken meat. While you can use boneless chicken breasts, the version with skin and bone can impart more chicken flavor to the broth.
How to Serve Aji de Gallina
In Peru, aji de gallina is typically served with white rice, slices of boiled yellow potatoes, and sliced hard-boiled eggs. Black olives are typically added to garnish the dish.
How to Store Aji de Gallina
Aji de Gallina can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days in an airtight container.
If stored securely in individual portions and in an airtight container, you can freeze aji de gallina for up to three months.
Aji de Gallina Recipe Substitutes
- Fresh aji amarillo peppers: If you cannot find fresh aji amarillo peppers, you can substitute them with aji amarillo paste, which you can buy online.
- Substitute for walnuts: The traditional aji Amarillo recipe uses walnuts. You can use pecans or almonds instead. However, the flavors and authenticity of the dish will not be the same.
- Is it necessary to use evaporated milk? Evaporated milk is milk that has been heated until about 60% of the water has evaporated. Its slightly thicker than fresh milk and a little creamier. You can buy evaporated milk online. You can substitute with fresh milk, though the sauce may not be as creamy.
Aji de Gallina Recipe Step by Step Instructions
Cook And Shred Chicken
Cook the chicken in a pot with water and season with salt and oregano. Keep the pot covered and cook over medium low heat for about 30 minutes. Remove the chicken and separate the meat from the bones. Shred using a fork and set aside the chicken stock.
Prepare the Yellow Chili Sauce
Fry the onions and garlic in vegetable oil until the onions are turned translucent. Add the yellow chili peppers and continue cooking over medium heat until the onions turn golden brown.
In a blender, add the yellow chili, onion, and garlic mix. Add chopped walnuts, pieces of torn white bread, and two cups of the reserved chicken stock. Blend until smooth.
Aji de Gallina Recipe
- 1 chicken breast with skin and bone
- 4 yellow aji amarillo chili peppers or aji amarillo paste
- 2 large potatoes
- 2 eggs
- ⅓ cup Evaporated milk
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- ¼ cup walnuts
- 1 large red onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup White Rice
- 2 cups water for rice
- Salt to taste
- 3-4 slices sandwich bread
- ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 5 pitted Kalamata or black olives for decoration
Cook the chicken
- Place the chicken breast with skin and bone in a pot with a tablespoon of oregano and a pinch of salt.
- Add water until the chicken is well-covered. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.
- Do not discard the cooking water, as we will use it later. Let the chicken cool in the same pot covered with water.
Prepare the yellow chili paste
- Wash the aji yellow chili peppers thoroughly and cut off the ends.
- Open each chili pepper and remove the seeds and inner veins. If you prefer a spicier paste, keep some of the seeds.
- Place the cleaned chili peppers in a pot, cover with water, and boil for 10 to 15 minutes until tender.
- Drain and rinse with cold water. Cut the peppers into smaller pieces for frying later.
- Chop the walnuts, onion, and garlic and set aside.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a pot over medium low heat. Add the onion and garlic.
- When the onion becomes translucent, add the yellow chili. Reduce to low heat and stir for about 15 minutes until the onions become golden brown in color. Set aside.
- Prepare the yellow chili sauce in a blender. Combine the yellow chili, onion, garlic, chopped walnuts (keeping some aside for garnish), and torn pieces of white bread. Add approximately 2 cups of the chicken cooking broth. Blend until all ingredients are well combined.
Boil potatoes, eggs and cook rice
- While preparing the yellow chili paste, peel the potatoes and let them boil in a large pot for about 20 mins until fork-tender.
- In a separate pot, boil the eggs for about 8 to 10 minutes until hard
- Cook your rice by following the instructions on the package and set aside to serve.
- Shred the chicken by separating the meat from the bone and cutting the meat into small pieces. Use your hands or a fork.
- In a large saucepan, add the yellow chili sauce (or 2 two teaspoons of aji amarillo chili paste), shredded chicken, and evaporated milk.
- Cook for 10 to 15 minutes and stir occasionally. Taste to check if more salt is needed.
- Continue cooking over medium low heat for a few minutes until you achieve the desired creamy texture. Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese.
- Add more broth if the sauce is too thick or more evaporated milk for a creamier texture.
- Serve on a plate with a portion of rice and a few slices of cooked potatoes. Add sliced hard-boiled egg to each plate.
- Garnish with kalamata olives and sprinkle more Parmesan cheese and chopped walnuts if desired.
- Enjoy and savor the flavors of your classic Peruvian dish.
- If you don’t have access to fresh ají amarillo chili peppers, you can buy aji amarillo paste online.
- For a lighter version of this recipe, you can use skim milk and reduce the amount of parmesan cheese.
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Rosemary is the editor-in-chief and strategist at Authentic Food Quest.
Traveling slow since 2015 with her partner, Claire, she has explored the cuisine in 45 countries and more than 240+ culinary cities.
Her writing about local food specialties has been featured in Lonely Planet, Business Insider, Honest Cooking, Food Insider, and Huffington Post.
As a food and travel writer, Rosemary has co-authored three books, including one in collaboration with Costa Brava Tourism.
Rosemary is an avid runner when she’s not eating and exploring new destinations. She has run ten marathons and counting.
Before Authentic Food Quest, Rosemary held senior-level strategy positions in advertising.
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