Face-Melting Aji

The wonderful flavors of Peruvian aji dip/sauce are cranked up several notches with the addition of habanero chilis. Enjoy...carefully.

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Face-Melting Aji

Photo by Andy R.


  • Prep Time

    minutes

  • Total Time

    minutes

  • Servings

    cups


Ingredients

  • 6

    seeded habanero chiles

  • 6

    seeded serrano chiles

  • ½

    cup sectioned sweet onion (such as Vidalia)

  • 1

    medium garlic clove

  • ¼

    cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1

    small avocado, or ½ large avocado

  • ¼

    cup coarsely chopped green onions (optional)

  • 1

    tablespoon red wine vinegar

  • 1

    tablespoon fresh lemon (or lime) juice

  • ¾

    teaspoon coarse kosher salt

  • ¼

    teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preparation: Combine chiles, sweet onion, garlic, cilantro, avocado and (optional) green onions in processor; puree until paste forms, scraping down sides of bowl with rubber spatula several times. Add vinegar and lemon and process until mixture is blended but some texture still remains. If mixture is too thick to process, add a small amount of water to thin. Transfer to small bowl. Stir in salt, pepper and more vinegar or lemon to taste, if desired. Cover tightly and refrigerate. Options: Most aji recipes call for jalapeño chiles, which are WAY milder. Habanero chiles are incredibly hot. To dial down the heat, you can use fewer habaneros, all serranos or even swap in some jalapeños. N00bs: If you've never handled habanero chiles, then watch out! The heat rating on these bad boys is about 100x higher than a jalapeño. And it's the oil within the chili that can cause so much discomfort. I recommend wearing rubber gloves, using a non-porous cutting surface and even wearing eye protection. It sounds extreme, and it is because this cute little orange pepper packs a wallop. Here's a helpful video on handling hot chiles: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFOskl8KIoA


Nutrition

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