My vegetarian rift on the Peruvian dish Aji de Pollo (aka chicken). This is a great winter dish that will heat you up from the insides-out – it is not overly spicy, but it has a nice little kick, beautiful flavor, and an indulgently creamy sauce. For those of you new to Aji de Pollo, its a chicken dish served in a velvety yellow chili sauce and accompanied by all sorts of goodies – kalamata olives, hardboiled eggs, fresh cilantro, and a sprinkling of toasted peanuts.
My version swaps out the chicken for chickpeas and alters the fat content by using low-fat milk and peanut butter, instead of the half and half or evaporated milk usually used. I also used a couple tbsp of flour to thicken the sauce instead of the more traditional white bread. I further cut corners by using a pre-made Aji Amarillo Paste instead of making my own. You can find Aji Amarillo Paste on Amazon, if they don’t stock it at your local market. It’s good stuff, super versatile, and it goes great with potatoes.
Aji de Chickpea is also a dish that improves with age. The flavors meld nicely when left to mellow overnight. So if you can make the dish a day in advance and then reheat it, I would highly recommend it.
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 diced Yellow Onions
- 1 diced Red Onion
- 1 tbsp ground Turmeric
- ~5 medium sized Potatoes cubed
- 3 tbsp Flour
- 3 tbsp Aji Amarillo Paste (if you’re not a big fan of spice, start with one, and taste test until you hit your desired level of spice)
- 1 cup Orange Juice
- juice from 4 Limes
- 1 cup low-fat Milk (or indulge and go full fat or even break out the half and half, no judgment here)
- 1/2 cup Peanut Butter
- 30 oz of canned or pre-soaked Chickpeas (aka Garbanzo Beans)
- 1-2 cups of Vegetable Broth
- Salt and Pepper for seasoning
- 1 cup kalamata olives
- Rice for serving
- 4 hardboiled Eggs (peeled and quartered)
- 1/2 cup chopped and toasted Peanuts
- 1/2 cup Cilantro
- Heat the olive oil in the bottom of a big stew pot.
- Add in the onion, and cook for about 8 minutes, until it is soft and translucent.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Stir in the turmeric, followed by the potatoes, and flour.
- Add in the orange, lime juice, and Aji Amarillo.
- Cook until the sauce begins to thicken.
- Stir in the milk and peanut butter.
- Once again, allow the sauce to thicken.
- Stir in the chickpeas.
- Cook for 20 minutes, stirring from time to time, and gradually adding the broth if the sauce becomes too thick.
- Taste test, and add salt, pepper, and more Aji if desired.
- Remove from heat, and stir in the olives.
- Serve on rice with hardboiled eggs, peanuts, and cilantro for garnish.