Join me on INSTAGRAM, my name is ecuadorchick.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Making Aji in Cuenca

Dear Family and Friends,

After returning to Cuenca we had a very empty refrigerator because I had cleaned it out a couple of months ago before we started traveling.

One thing I really like about living in Ecuador is the aji.  Aji is a hot sauce made from tree tomatoes.  The aji I like the best is made by Lourdes.  She agreed to let me tag along and photograph the process.

 We walked to the market to buy the ingredients.

Lourdes selected the produce and we came home to start production.

Here are the ingredients:

Tree tomatoes (as far as I know these are not available in the U.S.)
Tiny peppers
Green onions
Red Onion (not in picture)

The first thing she did was washed the produce.

Then she put the tomatoes de arbol (tree tomatoes) to bring to a boil.

She covered them and removed them shortly after they came to a boil.  The reason for this is to make them easier to peel......just like real tomatoes.

While she waited for the tree tomatoes to heat, she thinly chopped some purple and green onions.

She did not chop the peppers, she set them aside to be put in the blender with the tree tomatoes.

She removed the tree tomatoes from the stove and peeled them before putting in the blender.

She added the peppers and blended on high.

She used a strainer to get any pulp out of the mixture.

She added chopped cilantro and stirred it in.

As a final step she added a little salt.

And there you have it....Aji Lourdes style.

Lourdes just checked this post out and said that everything is correct.

Keep it refrigerated until you use it.

Nancy (and Lourdes)


  1. I will try this with roma tomatoes.
    A lefty with a knife sure looks scary!

    1. Peter, Let me know how it turns out. Tree tomatoes are different but the roma tomatoes may make a great salsa.

  2. I love it too! we just spent a month in Cuenca/Ricaurte with family & my mother in law made it for us. We buy the tomatoes in the Ecuadorian stores we have here in Minneapolis. They are frozen in packs of 5 or 10. We make it all the time. (Of course they taste better fresh in Cuenca, but still good here) Whenever we ask friends/family in Mpls what they want us to bring to get togethers they all say "Freddy's Ecuadorian hotsause"

    1. Sarita, Being able to buy tomatoes de arbol in the U.S. is great. Where in Minneapolis is the Ecuadorian store located? We visit Minneapolis from time to time and would love to visit the store.

    2. There are a couple on Central ave in Northeast & also on East Hennepin In Minneapolis. We also have 3 Ecuadorian restaurants in Northeast & more on the Southside.

  3. Great Photos - Great Recipe Nancy !

    1. Thanks Ken. When you and Susan return to Cuenca you will already have the know how for making aji. Chuck and I love it!

  4. Those ingredients look awesome. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Nancy: Tree Tomatoes are available in Houston at Fiesta Grocery Stores...they cost
    $1.99 each, and I believe they were imported from New Zealand...I used 6 in the Aji that I

  6. Patty,
    That is great news. I just assumed that since I had not seen them that they were not available. I hope anyone who wants to make this recipe in the U.S. is able to find them....probably at a grocery store that carries food from Latin America.

  7. do you happen to have the measurements for each ingredient? thanks

    1. Unfortunately I do not know the exact measurements. Lourdes didn't measure but seemed to know intuitively how much of each thing to add. She tasted some as she went.


Comments are welcome.