Pollo a la Brasa (Peruvian Roast Chicken) // Aji Verde Sauce

Peru was probably the highlight of my year. Also, food always just tastes better when you’re on vacation (and not washing dishes).

We spent plenty of time in Lima, and our first meal was the famous the famous Peru Pollo a la Brasa (Peruvian Roast Chicken). The Peruvians do love their chicken.

We also tried strange/unique cuisine like guinea pigs (yum), beef hearts (yum), a purple corn drink called chicha morada (sugar high), lucuma aka eggfruit (the fruit flesh is literally the texture of boiled egg yolk), and grilled alpaca (basically, a llama,… yes, the kind that can spit from 3 feet away).

Me: Hey guess what! We ate guinea pigs!
B: Do you want me to drive to Petsmart and buy you some more to roast?

We saw options to eat kidneys, thyroid (yay endocrine!), and bull testicles… but we declined that for another time.

Although we spent two weeks straight eating nothing but Peruvian food, when we came home, dad wanted to go to our local (and only) Peru restaurant immediately to “prolong our vacation.” I scoffed at dad and said what a ridiculous idea. After I drove back to my own city, I decided to check if my local grocery, which carries lots of ethnic food, had Peruvian cuisine for funsies. And it did! There’s a lot of ingredients, but I chose aji amarillo paste, which cost me like $3….try your local ethnic market before Amazon!

Pollo a la Brasa Peruvian Roast Chicken Aji Verde Sauce Peru barbeque

So I cooked my own Peruvian food, after eating two weeks of Peruvian food, and dad got the last laugh. I defend myself saying it was a culinary endeavor. Recipes for the chicken and aji verde are adapted from Daring Gourmet, and here’s my sweet potato chip recipe for the side.

Pollo a la Brasa (Peruvian Roasted Chicken)

1 whole broiler/fryer chicken (2-3 pounds), or bone-in/skin-on chicken pieces of your choice

2 tablespoons soy sauce
Juice of 2 limes
5 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
¼ cup dark beer
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon aji amarillo paste
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
salt and pepper to taste
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine all the marinade ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.

Place the chicken or chicken pieces in a large ziplock bag and pour the marinade over, evenly coating the pieces. Marinate for several hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 425 F and roast the chicken pieces on the middle rack of the oven until chicken is done, about 45 minutes. If the skin begins to brown too much, you can move the roasting pan to the bottom rack or tent with foil.

Serve the chicken with Peruvian Aji Verde Sauce and Sweet Potato Chips.


Peruvian Aji Verde Sauce

2 green jalapeno peppers, minced (remove seeds to make less spicy)
1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
1 small clove garlic
1 green onion, chopped
1 tablespoon aji amarillo paste
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons feta cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup sour cream (I used Greek yogurt)

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until a smooth paste. Keep refrigerated for up to a week.

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