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Typical Peruvian Salsas, Sauces & Dips
Salsas, sauces or dips are an essential part of the Peruvian cuisine and a must on every table. A Peruvian menu without at least three or four different salsas is incomplete. Peruvians love their salsas and use them literally on any food. Peruvian sauces intensify or vary the unique flavors of local dishes. Nearly all salsas contain typical Peruvian ingredients like aji (chili pepper), Peruvian lime juice and local herbs making them really distinct.
Just be a little bit cautious when trying a special sauce for the first time: it might be pleasantly spicy or could be incredibly HOT.
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Salsa Criolla probably is the most important and most popular side dish / salsa in Peru. Prepared with red onions, aji amarillo, the juice of Peruvian limes and some freshly chopped coriander or parsley, Salsa Criolla accompanies numerous typical local dishes and just has to be on the table when enjoying a great Peruvian menu.
Like Salsa Criolla, the hot and spicy Salsa de Aji is an absolute must on every table. Prepared with Peruvian yellow chili and oil, this sauce can be either pleasantly spicy with a moderate heat or extremely hot, so be careful when trying. Salsa de Aji accompanies especially Peruvian meat and fish dishes, but is great as dip for tequeños, French fries, chips and many more.
Salsa Huancaina is traditionally used to prepare "Papas a la Huancaina", a famous Peruvian starter. Made with simple Peruvian ingredients like queso fresco (fresh white cheese) and aji amarillo (Peruvian yellow chili) this creamy and spicy, but mild sauce is a very versatile and goes well with many other flavors as well. Peruvian comfort food at its best!
Salsa de Rocoto is probably one of the most popular Peruvian sauces. This powerful hot sauce is used by Peruvians on virtually any food and an essential dip on every table. There are numerous variations of Salsa de Rocoto from medium hot to extremely hot. So be careful when trying it the first time. Main ingredient of the hot sauce are of course rocoto peppers blended with oil, Peruvian lime juice and sometimes also milk, coriander or parsley.
In Peru you find numerous variations of the classical Green Sauce. Main ingredient surely is coriander which is blended with oil, Peruvian lime juice, onions, chili peppers and garlic. To make the sauce creamier often mayonnaise or even iceberg lettuce is added. Salsa Verde goes well with meat, fish, chicken and rice dishes, but is great also just with fresh French bread.
Peruvian Mayonnaise might be prepared the same way as back home. But especially the use of fresh Peruvian lime juice gives the mayonesa peruana a very special flavor. Peruvians love their mayonnaise. But as they also love it hot and spicy, you find Mayonesa de Aji (chili mayonnaise) or Mayonesa de Rocoto (hot pepper mayonnaise).
Originated in southern Peru in the Arequipa province, Salsa Ocopa is similar in texture to Salsa Huancaina and traditionally as well served with boiled potatoes. But its flavor is very different. Main ingredient of Salsa Ocopa is the herb Huacatay (Peruvian black mint) which gives the sauce a really unique delicious taste. Other ingredients include fresh white cheese (queso fresco), onions, aji amarillo (Peruvian yellow chili) and milk.
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