Aji de Gallina Recipe - Traditional Peruvian Chicken Dish

Aji de Gallina

Aji de Gallina Recipe - Traditional Peruvian Chicken Dish
Region / culture: Peru | Preparation time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 1 hour | Servings: 8


Aji de Gallina
Aji de Gallina

Aji de Gallina is a classic Peruvian dish that offers a perfect blend of creamy, spicy, and nutty flavors. This beloved recipe is a comfort food for many and showcases the rich culinary traditions of Peru. It consists of shredded chicken bathed in a creamy sauce made from ground walnuts, cheese, and aji amarillo peppers, served over boiled potatoes or rice. This guide will take you through the history, cooking tips, nutritional information, and various ways to enjoy Aji de Gallina.


The origins of Aji de Gallina trace back to the colonial era of Peru, blending indigenous ingredients with Spanish culinary techniques. It is believed to have been inspired by the Spanish dish "manjar blanco," a precursor to modern-day blancmange. Over the centuries, it has evolved, incorporating local ingredients such as aji amarillo (Peruvian yellow chili pepper) and becoming a staple of Peruvian cuisine.


How to prepare

  1. Boil the chicken in the broth.
  2. Remove the bones and break the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
  3. In a saucepan, heat the oil and fry the onion, garlic, chili peppers, and saffron.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Fry until golden.
  6. Add the bread, soaked in 2 cups of chicken broth.
  7. Transfer everything to a blender or food processor along with the broth.
  8. Add the chopped nuts, grated cheese, and chicken.
  9. Cook until the mixture reaches a thick, creamy consistency.
  10. Stir in the evaporated milk and continue cooking for another 5 to 10 minutes.


  • 1. Vegetarian Aji de Gallina: Substitute chicken with shredded jackfruit or tofu for a vegetarian version.
  • 2. Nut-Free: Use roasted pumpkin seeds instead of walnuts for those with nut allergies.
  • 3. Spicier Version: Increase the amount of aji amarillo or add fresh chili peppers for extra heat.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

1. For a smoother sauce, ensure the bread is thoroughly soaked in chicken broth before blending.

2. If aji amarillo is unavailable, substitute with another chili pepper for a similar kick, adjusting the amount based on your heat preference.

3. To enhance the nutty flavor, lightly toast the walnuts before grinding.

4. For a richer sauce, some prefer to add a bit of cream along with the evaporated milk.

Serving Suggestions

Serve Aji de Gallina over a bed of boiled potatoes or alongside white rice. Garnish with black olives and hard-boiled eggs for a traditional presentation. A side of avocado salad complements the creamy texture and rich flavors of the dish.

Cooking Techniques

The key to a perfect Aji de Gallina lies in achieving a creamy, smooth sauce. This involves careful blending of the soaked bread, nuts, and broth mixture. Slowly cooking the sauce with the chicken allows the flavors to meld beautifully.

Ingredient Substitutions

1. Aji Amarillo Substitution: If aji amarillo is not available, use habanero or another yellow chili pepper.

2. Dairy-Free: Replace evaporated milk with coconut milk and use a dairy-free cheese alternative.

Make Ahead Tips

Prepare the sauce and chicken mixture a day in advance and refrigerate. Reheat gently, adding a little chicken broth if the sauce has thickened too much, before serving.

Presentation Ideas

Serve in a shallow bowl with a garnish of parsley or cilantro. Arrange the boiled potatoes and rice around the edges of the bowl for an appealing presentation.

Pairing Recommendations

A light, crisp white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc pairs beautifully with the creamy, spicy flavors of Aji de Gallina. For non-alcoholic options, a chilled glass of chicha morada (Peruvian purple corn drink) complements the dish well.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently on the stove or in the microwave, adding a little broth or water to thin the sauce if necessary.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A single serving of Aji de Gallina contains approximately 500-600 calories, making it a hearty meal option. The calories mainly come from the proteins and fats, providing sustained energy.


A serving of Aji de Gallina contains approximately 30-40 grams of carbohydrates, primarily from the bread, potatoes, and rice. Opting for whole grain bread or brown rice can increase the fiber content and nutritional value.


This dish is relatively high in fats due to the use of olive oil, nuts, and cheese, contributing to a creamy texture and rich flavor. The total fat content per serving can range from 20-30 grams, with a significant portion being monounsaturated fats from the olive oil and walnuts.


Aji de Gallina is an excellent source of protein, providing about 25-35 grams per serving, thanks to the chicken and cheese. This makes it a satisfying meal option that supports muscle repair and growth.

Vitamins and minerals

The dish is a good source of vitamins A, B-complex, and D, thanks to the chicken, dairy, and nuts. It also provides essential minerals such as calcium, iron, and magnesium, contributing to bone health and energy production.


Common allergens in this recipe include nuts (walnuts), dairy (cheese, evaporated milk), and gluten (bread). Those with allergies should consider suitable substitutions.


Aji de Gallina is a nutrient-rich dish, offering a balanced mix of proteins, healthy fats, and carbohydrates. It also provides essential vitamins and minerals, making it a wholesome choice for a main meal.


Aji de Gallina is a testament to the rich culinary heritage of Peru, offering a delightful mix of flavors and textures. Whether you stick to the traditional recipe or explore variations, this dish is sure to be a comforting and satisfying meal. With its balanced nutrition profile and versatile serving options, Aji de Gallina is a wonderful addition to any meal plan.

How did I get this recipe?

I remember the joy I felt when I first discovered this recipe for Aji de Gallina. It was many years ago, when I was just a young girl living in Peru. My grandmother, who was known for her incredible cooking skills, taught me how to make this traditional dish. She learned the recipe from her own mother, who learned it from her mother before her. It was a cherished family recipe that had been passed down through generations.

I remember watching my grandmother in the kitchen, as she carefully prepared the ingredients for the Aji de Gallina. She would start by boiling the chicken in a pot of water, along with onions, garlic, and a few sprigs of fresh cilantro. The smell of the cooking chicken filled the entire house, making my mouth water in anticipation.

Once the chicken was cooked through, my grandmother would remove it from the pot and shred it into small pieces. She would then prepare the Aji sauce, which was made from a blend of yellow chili peppers, bread crumbs, and evaporated milk. The sauce had a rich, creamy texture and a spicy kick that I absolutely loved.

As my grandmother mixed the shredded chicken with the Aji sauce, she would also add in a handful of roasted peanuts and some chopped hard-boiled eggs. The combination of flavors and textures was simply divine. I couldn't wait to try the finished dish.

When the Aji de Gallina was finally ready, my grandmother would serve it over a bed of steamed white rice, garnished with a few slices of boiled potatoes and a sprinkle of fresh parsley. The dish was a feast for the senses, with its vibrant colors and tantalizing aroma. I remember taking my first bite and being blown away by the explosion of flavors in my mouth.

From that moment on, Aji de Gallina became one of my favorite dishes to cook and share with my own family. Over the years, I have made some tweaks to the recipe, adding in a few extra spices here and there to suit my own taste. But the basic ingredients and techniques have remained the same, staying true to my grandmother's original recipe.

I have shared the recipe for Aji de Gallina with many friends and family members over the years, and it has always been a hit. There is something so satisfying about cooking a dish that has been passed down through generations, connecting me to my ancestors and the rich culinary traditions of Peru.

Every time I make Aji de Gallina, I am transported back to my grandmother's kitchen, watching her work her magic with such skill and love. I am grateful for the memories and the lessons she passed down to me, teaching me not just how to cook, but how to create something truly special that brings people together.

As I sit down to enjoy a steaming bowl of Aji de Gallina with my own family, I can't help but feel a deep sense of gratitude for the gift of this recipe and the joy it brings to all who taste it. Cooking is truly a labor of love, and I am honored to carry on the tradition of making this delicious dish for generations to come.


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