Recipe: Ají de gallina (Peruvian chicken “curry”)

This one’s a classic. One of Peruvian favourite dishes of all times, as many others heavily influenced by Spanish cuisine. It’s Alvaro’s favourite Peruvian dish, and very easy accepted by foreign palates.

Ají de gallina translates as “hen chilli” although most of the times it’s made with chicken (easier to get, milder in flavour and more tender in texture than hen). It contains chilli but calling it a “chilli” would lead to think it’s similar to the Tex-Mex concoction. That’s not the case, so let’s call it a “curry”, for lack of a better category.

The original recipe is not gluten or dairy free. Feel free to use gluten-free bread (or even better, almond meal) instead of bread and almond/quinoa/rice/oat milk instead of evaporated milk. If you’re not completely lactose intolerant I’d suggest keeping the Parmesan as it’s not that much and plays an important role in the taste of the dish. Another twist I haven’t tried is using coconut flour and coconut milk but then the whole flavour profile of the dish would change and the Parmesan would be entirely out of place.

Ají de gallina (Peruvian chicken “curry”)
Yield: 4 – 5 servings

Ají de gallina

Ingredients

  • 600 gr chicken breast
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon ají amarillo (or any other yellow chilli, to taste)
  • 2 – 3 slices of bread
  • 50 gr Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 50 gr pecans
  • salt
  • pepper
  • boiled eggs, to serve
  • black olives, to serve
  • boiled potatoes, to serve (optional)
  • white rice, to serve (optional)

Directions

  1. Cook chicken breast in stock.
  2. Chop onion and mince garlic cloves.
  3. When chicken is done, reserve stock and shred meat with your fingers or using a fork.
  4. Remove bread crust, cover with hot reserved stock and break using a whisk or fork.
  5. Heat oil in a pot over low heat. Add onion, garlic and chilli, cook for 10 minutes.
  6. Add chicken, bread and stock to the pot. Cook for a further 10 minutes.
  7. Grate cheese.
  8. Chop pecans. Size is optional, I like them chunky.
  9. Add Parmesan and milk to pot. Season with salt and pepper.
  10. Add chopped pecans.
  11. Serve garnished with an olive and half a boiled egg, with potatoes and/or rice on the side (or vegetables if you’re taking it easy on the carbs).

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