Saturday, November 14, 2009

Papi's Aji

So in many northern Latin American countries, there is a condiment that's on every table, restaurant or home, no matter what: aji (pronounced "a-hee"). Sometimes it's spicy, sometimes not. But it is always there in a little container with a spoon in it, and it goes on anything and everything.

My Colombian dad always had a bowl of this on our table, and it never went empty, no matter how much I spooned onto my rice (mmmmm).

I thought of it the other day and HAD to make some. It's super easy and super-delish, and very customizable. It's kinda like salsa....but different. There are no tortilla chips involved, though of course you could do that if you're into that kind of thing. ;-)

Dena's Papi's Aji Bogotano 
(aka Aji, Bogota-style)

  • 2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 3-4 scallions, chopped
  • As much cilantro as you like, chopped
  • Some glugs of extra virgin olive oil
  • A few tablespoons of red wine vinegar

Combine in a bowl and let sit for at least 30 minutes. You want to make sure there's enough vinegar for the acid in the vinegar to make everything yummy, but not so much that it's overpowering.

Spoon it onto your rice, your beans, your platanos fritos, avocado, chicken, beef.... anything savory. Makes a great meat marinade.

Add diced hot pepper (like jalapeno, minus the seeds) or some Tabasco if you like heat, but it will then cease to be Bogota-style. Which is fine and still yummy!

When I was young, I used to just eat rice with aji on top. Makes a fantastic snack, let me tell you. Makes a great bachelor dinner, too, by the way.

This keeps for a few days in your fridge. Make a batch and try it out!

Hubby doesn't like cilantro (did you know that's genetic? Bizarre. So glad I got the gene that makes it taste delicious) so I left it out on the side. MORE FOR ME!

Buen provecho!

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