Ají con Chochos y Queso – Ecuadorian Spicy Sauce with Lupini beans and cheese

By |August 15th, 2011|

For the love of all things spicy, here is another variation on ají, the Ecuadorian spicy condiment that is good on just about everything.  In addition to ají preparado and ají criollo, ají con chochos y queso is another favorite on mine.  Although my love for all things spicy developed at a latter stage of my life, my love for chochos runs deep.  You’re probably asking, what in the world are chochos (choh-chohs)?  We’ll get there; just be patient.

On occasions, my abuelita used to do the grocery shopping for us – mostly because she felt that sometimes her granddaughter wasn’t eating properly.  See, the thing is I am a small person.  When I was a kid, I was tiny, short and skinny – and not much has changed since.  However, it had nothing to do with how I ate.  That’s just how I was.  My grandma vehemently disagreed.  So she introduced me to chochos at the tender age of 6, as a way to get the proper nutrition I “so desperately needed”.  Abuelita, I think I turned out just fine.


Tomatillo Salsa

By |July 13th, 2011|

I made this raw tomatillo salsa over the July 4th weekend, because I love salsa.  And I love chips.  And I love to scoop spicy salsa with my chips.  And I love spicy food.  And you can make this salsa spicy if you want to.  And I wanted to.  So I did.  This is a quick, no-fuss salsa that requires no cooking, so you can get out and enjoy the summer heat.


Aji Criollo – Ecuadorian Aji Sauce

By |June 7th, 2011|

One of the many misconceptions of Ecuadorean cuisine is that it is spicy, just like Mexican food.  While our food is typically not spicy, it doesn’t mean that us Ecuadoreans don’t like it hot.  We have a spicy condiment called Ají Criollo, which is a hot sauce made out of chillis served on the side.  This condiment is found in just about every household and restaurant in Ecuador, and folks add it to any of their meals at their leisure.

Growing up, we always had a jar of ají in our fridge.  I don’t recall my mom being a big fan of spicy stuff, but we prepared ají for my uncle, who loved adding it to his menestra.  In Ecuador – or at least in my family, it was customary for a family member to randomly stop by to visit, especially after work.  And it was also customary to offer him or her algo de comer – something to eat.  Regardless of what we had, even if it was sorbras (leftovers), a spoonful of ají criollo doused over any meal made it fresh!

Ají Criollo is really easy to make and the ingredients are widely available.  I decided to incorporate one jalapeño because I happened to have one in my fridge and I didn’t know what to do with it.  The ajies are nothing but Thai chillis – the red ones.   Once you make a batch of Ají Criollo, you can store it in a glass jar in the fridge for about a month.  However, if you’re like me, it may not even last you a week.  I hope you enjoy this super easy and spicy deliciousness of ají criollo. Your life will forever be changed.


Achiote and Refrito

By |November 11th, 2009|

In my Ecuadorean recipes, I always talk about using Achiote, a.k.a., annato-infused oil, and refrito as bases for Ecuadorean cuisine.  I thought it would be appropriate to include a few pictures of what these two look like, and how to make them.

I normally make achiote (ah-CHOH-teh) on the spot.  I remember […]

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Está Picante!: Salsa de Ají Ecuatoriana

By |October 19th, 2009|

Coat your stomach with some yogurt like our friends from India do, because this is SPICY! Well, I may be exaggerating, but this condiment packs up the heat! Ají is the Ecuadorean version of Frank’s Red Hot Original Sauce (“I put that sh** on everything!”). It is made with ajies, which are red […]