Peru’s Aji de Gallina: What Is It & How To Make It

The World Travel Awards has named Peru as South America’s leading culinary destination again in 2019. It has done so now for seven out of the last eight years.

Whether you’ve been to Peru or plan to travel there soon, there is no reason to wait to delight your taste buds with some Peruvian food.

Why not try some Aji de Gallina tonight?

We’ll tell you how.

What is Aji de Gallina?

Aji Amarillo peppers on stone table top
Aji Amarillo Peppers

Aji de Gallina is one of the most popular Peruvian chicken dishes. It’s a chicken stew in chile sauce. The sauce is flavored with aji amarillo peppers, parmesan cheese, and walnuts. It is traditionally topped with hard-boiled eggs and black olives.

Aji amarillo means yellow chile but the peppers can also lean toward orange in color. As for heat, they can be 4 to 20 times hotter than a jalapeno.

Peruvians have been enjoying this dish since the 16th century. It is believed that African slaves introduced it to Peru when brought to the country by the Spanish. Aji de gallina was created as a way to not waste any leftover potatoes and chicken.

How to Make Aji de Gallina

Now that you know what it is and some of its history, let’s get to cooking! Here are the ingredients for the aji de gallina recipe:

Ingredients Needed

  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast (bone-in)
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 2 carrots (chopped)
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 4 slices of white bread (cubed)
  • 3/4 cup non-sweetened evaporated milk
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced, divide in half)
  • 3 tablespoons walnuts (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 3 or 4 aji peppers (de-seeded and sliced)

For serving on top of cooked chicken stew:

Optional (to be served under the chicken stew or on the side)

  • 4 yellow potatoes
  • 4 cups cooked rice

Easy Step by Step Directions

  1. Place the bread slices and the evaporated milk in a bowl and set aside.
  2. If serving with yellow potatoes, put the potatoes and enough water to cover the potatoes by at least an inch in a pot. Bring the water to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are tender and can easily be pierced with a fork. Remove the potatoes and set aside.
  3. Place the chicken, 1/2 the garlic, and carrots in a large saucepan. Add enough water to cover the chicken by at least an inch. Turn on the heat to medium-high and bring just to a boil. Then cover the pan and let simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the chicken from the water and set aside to cool. Then strain the water used to cook the chicken, reserving only the water. Pull chicken apart with fingers or two forks and set aside.
  5. Blend bread and evaporated milk in a blender with 1/2 cup reserved chicken broth.
  6. Add the walnuts and Parmesan cheese to the blender with the bread. Pulse until smooth.
  7. In a large saucepan, saute the onion and second half of the garlic in the oil until the onion is translucent. Then add the chicken and aji peppers. Cook over medium heat for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Add the pureed sauce from the blender to the saucepan with the aji de pollo (chicken and peppers), then simmer for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and serve warm.

Serve the Aji de Gallina with aceitunas botijas (Peruvian black olives) and quartered eggs on top.

You can also serve the Aji de Gallina over sliced potatoes or rice (or serve the rice or potatoes on the side). Your choice.

Note: if you would like some delicious salad options to go along with your meal, we’ve got you covered with some great choices.

Plate and utensils of Peruvian Aji de Gallina on wooden table
Classic Peruvian Chicken Dish, Aji de Gallina

Enjoy the Taste of Peru Tonight

Aji de Gallina will satisfy you and your family. It is comfort food at its finest and one of our 17 Best Peruvian Foods You Have To Try.

Bonus: this stew makes for great leftovers. If you have any left, that is.

Be sure to check out all our other amazing Peruvian food articles. We’re sure you will find some great Peruvian dessert ideas, too!

To shop for imported Peruvian ingredients or to find authentic Peruvian recipes visit our online store today!

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