Roberto’s indispensable ají

Roberto’s indispensable ají

By
From
Under the Walnut Tree
Photographer
Fanny Bergenström

In our house, we use this flavourful ‘chilli mash in oil’ for practically everything: to spice up and deepen the flavour of soups, stews, sauces, lentils, beans, sandwiches, marinades and barbecued meats. It has become quite indispensable in our everyday cooking, and we simply can’t be without a jar of ají in the fridge. The bottom of the jar has a thick layer of fairly hot, mashed chillies, covered by a second layer of milder, chilli-infused oil. Both can liven up pretty much anything, and a little ají goes a long way...

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
10 large dried chillies, ideally lightly smoked
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
vegetable oil, to cover the chilli in the jar

Method

  1. Put the chillies in a saucepan with water and quickly bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the chillies soften in the water for 15 minutes.
  2. Drain the chillies, discard any stems or seeds (the more seeds, the hotter the chilli mash), and then roughly chop the chillies. Use thin rubber gloves to protect your hands, or wash them well when done.
  3. Pound the chillies and garlic by hand using a large mortar and pestle for a few minutes (best), or pulse in a food processor until the chilli is ground into fairly small pieces. Add the salt and stir to combine. Transfer to a perfectly clean glass jar and cover with oil. Close the lid tightly and store in the fridge for up to a month, as long as the oil always covers the chilli. Fill up with oil as soon as needed.
Tags:
Under the Walnut Tree
Fanny
Anna
Bergenström
Bergenstrom
SBS
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