Zingy, spicy and powerful, Latin American sauces are the go-to condiments when you’re looking to add some punch to barbecued meats, fish or stews. From the fresh coriander-packed Mexican salsas to fiery Peruvian aji amarillo, you’ll surely find a sauce here that fits the bill, whatever you’re cooking.
Aji Amarillo, Peru
This Peruvian condiment is a key component in pepping up anticuchos, barbecued meat found sizzling away over charcoal on almost every street corner across the country. The sauce is both fiery and creamy and compliments the smokiness of the meat perfectly. The key to making this recipe is finding good quality aji amarillo chillies.
3 dried aji amarillo chillies
50g cotija cheese, crumbled
1 squeeze of lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tbs oil
1 can of kidney beans, drained
1 handful of coriander, chopped
Start by soaking the chillies in hot water for 15 minutes. Once rehydrated, place in a blender with a little water and blitz until smooth. Scoop out and push through a sieve to catch any seeds.
Place back in the blender and add the lemon juice, sugar and crumbled cheese and blend together into a paste.
Put a sauce pan over a medium heat and add the oil and garlic. Once browed, scoop the paste along with the kidney beans into pan and leave to simmer for 15 minutes.
Add everything back into the blender along with the coriander and blitz until smooth. Leave to cool before placing in the fridge ready for your barbecued food.
Roughly a cross between an Italian salsa verde and pesto, just without the cheese, chimichurri is one of Argentina’s most iconic sauces. If you’re lucky enough to try it in Argentina, you’ll likely have it drizzled over choripan, barbecued chorizo sausage. There’s really nothing better, particularly if it’s accompanied by a cold beer. A good sauce for livening up any cooked meats or even robust fish like salmon.
1 large handful of parsley, roughly chopped
6 cloves of garlic, minced
5 tbs white wine vinegar
5 tbs water
1 tsp salt
1 pinch of fresh oregano, finely chopped
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
½ tsp ground black pepper
100 ml olive oil
Place the parsley and garlic into a processer and blitz until finely chopped.
Add to a large bowl along with the vinegar, salt, finely chopped oregano, water, chilli flakes and pepper and mix thoroughly.
Slowly add the olive oil and whisk until everything blends together.
Taste and add more seasoning if needed.
While chimichurri can be made in advance and kept for several days in the fridge, it quickly loses its vibrant green colour, so it’s best eaten within an hour or two.
Pebre is the most southerly cousin of the salsa. While it might not be as well known as the others, it’s spicy, fresh and is perfect for giving most meat dishes the kick they need. The key to making the best pebre is buying the best quality ingredients you can afford. It’s never going to be the same if you make the dish with bland supermarket salad tomatoes.
2 large ripe tomatoes
2 Anaheim peppers
3 spring onions, trimmed
1 handful of coriander
200 ml olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
1 tbs salt
1 tbs ground pepper
Add a pan of water onto a high heat and wait until it boils. Drop the tomatoes in for 30 seconds, then scoop them out carefully and plunge into cold water. Once cooled, carefully peel off the skin, cut in half and scoop out the seeds. Finely chop the tomatoes and add to a large bowl.
Finely cut the spring onions and Anaheim peppers. If you’re feeling lazy, you could always do this in a food processor. Add to the bowl with the tomatoes.
Finely chop the coriander leaves and add to the bowl along with the olive oil lemon juice, salt and pepper, then mix. Taste and add more seasoning if required. Place in the fridge until ready to eat.
Crema de Rocoto, Peruvian
This Peruvian sauce is both creamy and spicy. Works particularly well over smoky meats or barbecued vegetables. It’s also super simple to make and lasts in the fridge for more than a week.
300 ml good quality mayonnaise
4 tbs rocoto chilli pepper paste
1 lemon, juiced
1 tbs white wine vinegar
½ tsp mustard powder
1 tsp sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of ground black pepper
Add the rocoto paste and the mayonnaise into a bowl and whisk together until smooth. Add all the other ingredients and blend together. Taste and add more seasoning if needed. Place in the fridge until ready to use.
RELATED: Peruvian Causa Rellena Recipe
Instead of making these sauces at home, why not head to Latin America and try the real thing? To start planning your holiday, call one of our experts on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 or email us here.