Peruvian Huacatay Salsa: Aji de Huacatay

Peruvian chicken and salsa
JRL / Getty Images
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
123 Calories
11g Fat
5g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 123
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 5mg 2%
Sodium 77mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Protein 1g
Calcium 37mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Peruvian-style pollo a la brasa, or rotisserie chicken, often comes with intriguing little containers filled with various colorful sauces. One of the sauces is typically bright yellow and spicy, made with the fruity aji amarillo chili pepper. Often there is a mysterious green salsa as well, with a unique mint-like flavor that can be difficult for North Americans to identify.

The secret ingredient in that special green sauce is the Andean herb known as huacatay (wah-ka-tie) or Peruvian black mint. Huacatay is actually from the same genus (Tagetes) as marigolds. Though it's easy to grow, it can be hard to find fresh or dried huacatay in North America. But jarred huacatay paste is often available at Latin markets.

Queso fresco (fresh white cheese), lime juice or vinegar is often added as well. Your favorite pollo a la brasa takeout place probably won't be willing to share their particular recipe, but it's fun to experiment and develop your own special version.


  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
  • 3 scallions
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons aji amarillo paste
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons huacatay paste
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • Optional: 2 to 3 tablespoons cilantro (chopped)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Peel and coarsely chop the garlic. Heat the oil in a small skillet and sauté the garlic over medium-low heat until garlic is fragrant and just starting to turn golden. Remove from heat and let cool in the skillet with the oil.

  2. Coarsely chop the scallions.

  3. Add the garlic and oil to a blender or food processor, along with the scallions. Add the mayonnaise, aji amarillo, huacatay, and cilantro. Process until smooth.

  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add more huacatay or aji amarillo if desired. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.