Monday, July 21, 2014

Hot salsa or Ají de Tomate de Arbol



I always imagined Latin food as something very spicy and hot.

It was a big surprise when, after coming to Ecuador, I found the food a bit on the bland side.

Ecuadorians don’t like to use a lot of peppers or spice their food much.

What they would use, generously, was a ají salsa.

And there is always a plate on the table, so that everyone can add to their own taste.

When I first tasted ají, it totally explained where the spicy and hot fame of Latin food had come from.

There are many kinds of ají in Ecuador, this is the basic one that you can find in most of homes.

But everyone has their own version of ají.
Tree tomato aji hot salsa, known as ají de tomate de árbol in Ecuador, is a very tasty hot sauce made from tree tomatoes, hot peppers, onion, cilantro and lime juice.

A tree tomato or tomate de arbol, also known as tamarillo, is a South American fruit that looks somewhat like a roma tomato, but pointier and with a thicker skin. 

Aji or hot sauce, is usually mild to medium spicy, and is served with a lot of different Ecuadorian dishes.

 This tamarillo hot sauce is a must-have for empanadas, yuca bread, plantain chips, tamales, humitas (a fresh corn tamale) and goes great with potatoes, fish and meat.

I personally love to add aji salsa to different soups, like Ecuadorian pumpkin soup or Locro de papa - the traditional potato soup.

In Ecuador aji is basically eaten with almost anything, and everything is better with aji.

In Quito, and some other areas of Ecuador, it is very common to add chochos (lupini beans) to this aji, but you can do it without also.


Tree tomato aji hot sauce / Ají de tomate de árbol


Yield: ~1 1/2 cups of tree tomato aji

Ingredients

  • 4-5 tree tomatoes, fresh or frozen
  • 2 ajies or hot peppers (serranos or red chilies are good options, habaneros if you are very brave)
  • 1 finely chopped white onion
  • 1 tbs finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbs lime or lemon juice
  • ¼ cup water
  • Salt to taste
  • Cooked and peeled chochos or lupini beans

Instructions




  • If using fresh tree tomatoes peel them, boil them for about 5 minutes to make it easier to peel them.
  • If using frozen tree tomatoes, defrost them over night in the fridge, then cut them in half and scoop out all the insides.
  • Blend the tree tomatoes with the hot peppers (seeded and deveined if you want it very mild, you can always save a few seeds and add them in if it’s too mild).
  • Transfer the blended mix of tree tomatoes and hot peppers to a small sauce pan, add the water (you can add more if you want a more liquid sauce) and cook on medium heat for about 5-8 minutes. You can also omit the cooking part, the sauce will be fresher, but will need to be consumed faster.
  • Add the onion, lime juice, cilantro, chochos (if adding), and salt to taste
  • Serve cool.


  • 49 comments:

    1. I just might try this soup for my Hubs. He loves tomato soup and I have never made a really good one.

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    2. Wow, this seems like a very tasty sauce. I love tomatoes, white onions and peppers.

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    3. That looks delicious! I'm going to give this a go for sure.

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    4. We're not really into hot and spicy. It looks delicious though :)

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    5. It's great that it's served as a side dish so everyone could add to their own taste. I'm sure that saves lots of arguments!

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      1. It does. There are people that eat ají at side and then there are people that eat ají with a side ;)

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    6. I always imagined that the food was spicy, too, but I am glad to hear it's not I can't handle spice like I used to :)

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    7. The food looks great I wouldn't mind having it as part of lunch or dinner.

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    8. Thank for sharing the recipe - sounds really good!

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    9. I love, love, love hot and spicy foods and sauces. I also love the color of this recipe.

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    10. This soup sounds great! I love hot and spicy foods. I must try this!

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    11. Mmmmm I love a good salsa. I will need to try this recipe!

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    12. It doesn't *Look* hot, but I am sure that looks can be deceiving.

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    13. I love this! Clipping to my "recipes to try" notebook in evernote :)

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    14. This looks delish! Thanks for sharing.

      Thrifiting Diva
      www.thriftingdiva.com

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    15. Oh this looks amazing. I know my husbeast would adore this

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    16. I wonder what all the different variations are. I bet there are some arguments about what is right and wrong!

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      1. Usually everyone enjoys the different kind of ají salsa. The argument comes when you are preparing it the "right" way :)

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    17. I would happily put that on my table and use it everyday. i like spicy things on my food all the time.

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    18. My mouth is watering just reading this. This is the sort of thing I love!

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    19. It sounds good, thanks for sharing, by the way I'm new in this english blogger community so i hope we can be good friends.

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      1. Thank you for commenting and I'm looking forward reading your posts too :)

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    20. This looks really great. Enjoyed your writing and explanation, thanks.

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    21. Sounds like a great recipe!!!

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    22. I've never been to Ecuador. Must be grand.

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    23. This looks like some great salsa. I would love to try this! The spicier, the better! Amber N

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    24. This recipe looks soo good, will have to give it a try!

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    25. I used to like my food spicy hot when I lived in Jamaica. My taste buds are pretty tame now

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    26. This sounds really good but I am a whimp when it comes to peppers. I would have to use the mildest peppers available.

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      1. You can cook the pepper first and you must remember to take the seeds out. They make the salsa a lot spicier. And use just a little amount, so you are sure that it's not too much for you.

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    27. I am into spicy food although I don't make salsa that often. It looks really good though.

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    28. maybe that's where they picked up the popular Japenese seasoning Ajinomoto! Ecuadorian cuisine sounds so exotic and as we are psicy food fans, this aji salsa is a must try!

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      1. Ajinomoto is very popular here too. But I don't know where the name comes from. Aji es quechua/kichwa and means hot pepper.

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    29. This sounds like a great recipe! That is so awesome that you went to Ecuador! I had never heard of aji salsa.

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      1. It's popular in South America but since it's called and prepared differently in Mexico and Central America, it is not very well known in the US, Canada or Europe. Or anywhere else in the planet, lol

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    30. sounds good - will have to test it out soon

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    31. Woo hoo! I scored a winner recipe for my mom vs dad cookout competition. Thanks!~LaTonia

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    32. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    33. that looks so yummy! I will try it out next time we pick up some corn chips!

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    34. Looks delicious! Our hot peppers are growing abundantly. If I could, I'd put cilantro in everything! ~Pamela

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    35. Looks yummy - I love anything with a bit of a kick ,the hotter the better!

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    36. I love things like this - thanks for sharing your recipe x x

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    37. i like spicy food, I'm surprised it's not like that in Ecuador. Great recipe

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    38. Looks delish! I love spicy food!

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    39. This is right up my street. Absolutely love spices and salsa. Perfect!

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    40. I love salsa, this looks great!

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    41. I have been growing my own chilli's and cannot wait to make my own salsa

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    42. I would love to try this. I love that it is a side dish. Thanks for sharing.

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