Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Spicy Peruvian 'cheese' sauce

November 8, 2011

Here we pretty much vanquished what remained of the vege box. We had six potatoes, which reminded me of a side dish in Viva Vegan, and then decided to roast up our broccoli and last carrots with them and call it a main.

[As an aside: do you pronounce 'broccoli' as broccol-ee or broccol-eye? And where did you grow up? I am losing this battle amongst my friends, with Michael even changing teams. A blog poll seems like the appropriate final humiliation.]

The Viva Vegan dish is Peruvian potatoes with spicy "cheezy" sauce, a vegan take on Papa a la Huancaina. The sauce gets its spice from aji amarillo paste, which Michael tracked down at Casa Iberica. An orange puree, aji amarillo is very different to the other Central American chillis we've tried. It's rather hot, and sour too, but it all hits the tongue has no impact on the throat at all! It adds a terrific spark to this silky sauce, but I'd recommend starting small and increasingly the dose to taste.

My only reservation with this recipe is that it used cream substitute, which was interesting to try but neither convenient nor a SOLE food. I reckon the sauce might do OK with plain ol' soy milk instead.

Spicy Peruvian 'cheese' sauce
(adapted slightly from Viva Vegan)

4 1/2 tablespoons chickpea flour
1 teaspoon 'chicken' stock powder
2 cups hot water
2 tablespoons aji amarillo paste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup savoury yeast flakes
300mL carton vegan cooking cream (will try soymilk instead next time)
juice of one lemon
1/2 cup cracker crumbs

In a medium bowl, stir together the chickpea flour and stock powder. Gradually add the water, stirring constantly to form a smooth paste and then a smooth liquid. Whisk in the aji amarillo paste, adjusting the dose to taste.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, cooking and stirring for 30 seconds, then the onion. Cook the onion until soft, about 4 minutes. Pour in the bowl of chickpea flour liquid, stirring it into the onions until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the salt, yeast flakes, cream, lemon juice and cracker crumbs, stirring until everything is well combined and the cracker crumbs have softened.

Remove the sauce from the heat and carefully pulse it with a hand-held blender until smooth (we had a few spatters). To serve, pour the sauce over steamed or roasted vegetables or as a dip.


  1. Yum! I think Bryanna Clark Grogan has done similar sauces before.. I really like Aji Amarillo paste, though it's a bit tricky to track down, and not always available where I get it from.

    Broccol-ee. I always thought people saying broccol-i were just joking. Should I ask my Linguist partner? :P

    And, could you consider using cashew and soy/rice milk puree instead of the cream?

  2. I remember enjoying this sauce when I gave it a go. I'm pretty sure I used soy milk when I made it and it turned out fine, have never tried that vegan cooking cream before.

    It's broccol-ee at our house too although we abbreviate it to broc most of the time. My mum calls it broccol-eye which the man thinks is funny. :D

  3. Brocco-lee. Though I have heard broccol-eye, if that's any consolation :P

    Yay, another reason to buy chickpeas flour!

  4. I'm a broccolee person, though now that you mention it, Andy's mum calls it broccol-eye.

  5. Thanks for submitting your votes and observations, everyone! As anticipated, the eyes do not have it. I definitely got my broccol-eye pronunciation from my parents, and feel compelled to note that MY GRANDFATHER WAS A BROCCOLI FARMER AND PRONOUNCED IT WITH AN 'EYE'. (Mind you, he was only schooled to fourth or fifth grade...)

    Mattheworbit - yes, please bring the linguist over! Is he a socio-linguist? I'm curious about the wheres and whens of my minority pronunciation.