Pollo a la Brasa - Peruvian Roasted Chicken

The third Sunday in July is "Pollo a la Brasa Day" in Peru (Día del Pollo a la Brasa).  Like pisco and ceviche, Pollo a la Brasa is a very important component of Peru's culinary heritage, though it is a relatively modern dish. (Peru also celebrates Pisco Sour Day in February and National Ceviche Day on June 28). 

Pollo a la Brasa is a delectable roasted chicken flavored with uniquely Peruvian herbs and spices. it has really started to catch on in the United States, so much so that many areas have several competing restaurants. Peruvian roasted chicken is popular for a reason - the unique combination of spices gives the meat exceptional flavor. The dish has an interesting history:  it was made famous by a couple of Swiss expats in the 1950s at their restaurant La Granja Azul (which is still a popular Lima restaurant). They designed and patented the mechanical spit that roasts multiple chickens simultaneously (el rotombo).

Peruvian roasted chicken always comes with delicious hot pepper sauces. The red sauce typically has quite a kick, but the green sauce and the creamy yellow aji sauce tend to be milder and sweet. The green sauce is typically prepared with queso fresco or mayonnaise and the Andean herb called huacatay, or Peruvian black mint. The creamy yellow sauce is made with aji Amarillo chile peppers.

Pollo a la Brasa always comes with sides - usually thick cut french fries, fried yuca, corn on the cob, and onion salad/relish. Some places offer tortillas and beans and rice, a more Central American touch. For the complete Peruvian experience, wash everything down with an Inca Cola. If your takeout place has desserts, be sure to try them too! Alfajores or tres leches are some of the most popular.​

  • 01 of 09

    Peruvian Roasted Chicken With Yellow Potatoes

    Roasted chicken

    tbradford  /  Getty Images 

    It's easy to roast chicken at home with the same Peruvian flavors as the takeout rotisserie version. This is an excellent dish for company and doesn't require much work.

  • 02 of 09

    Pollo a la Brasa Chicken Breasts

    Chicken breasts


    Ravsky  / Getty Images 

    This is great for when you don't feel like roasting a whole chicken.

  • 03 of 09

    Crispy Yuca Fries - Yuca Frita

    Crispy yuca fries

    The Spruce

    Yuca fries, always cut into thick wedges, are crispy on the outside and soft but densely textured on the inside. 

  • 04 of 09

    Ají Amarillo Sauce - Crema de Ají

    Tuna tiradito, red onion, citrus segments and ají amarillo sauce

    Romana Lilic / Getty Images

     This versatile, spicy yellow sauce is the perfect accompaniment to roasted chicken, vegetables, french fries, and fried yuca.

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  • 05 of 09

    Peruvian Huacatay Salsa - Aji de Huacatay

    Ocopa Peruana, a traditional Peruvian dish with Huacatay


    Edgar D Pons / Getty Images 

    The secret ingredient that that special green sauce is the Andean herb known as huacatay ("wah-ka-tay"), or Peruvian black mint.  Jarred huacatay paste is often available at Latin markets.

  • 06 of 09

    Salsa Criolla - Peruvian Onion, Pepper & Lime Salsa

    Peruvian tamale served with salsa criolla

    daniel san martin / Getty  Images

     Quick and easy to prepare, brightly seasoned with lime juice and salt,  salsa criolla is the perfect accompaniment to many dishes.

  • 07 of 09

    Tres Leches Cake

    Tres leches cake
    Marian Blazes

    No one can resist this moist cake, drenched in cream, topped with billowy meringue and sprinkled with cinnamon?

  • 08 of 09




    lovelypeace / Getty Images 

     Latin America's most famous cookie..

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  • 09 of 09

    Slow Cooker Chicken & Potatoes "A La Brasa"

    Slow cooker shredded chicken

    Максим Крысанов / Getty Images

    This shredded chicken is seasoned with the classic pollo a la brasa herbs and spices and not be simpler to make in the slow cooker. The resulting shredded chicken and tender yellow potatoes make an excellent filling for empanadas, tequeños, or sandwiches.