Citizens – of all the various grilled chicken recipes I have ever eaten or created, this is in the top echelon of flavor! If you love flavorful, crispy skin and moist chicken, congratulations, you’ve just found nirvana, courtesy of TFD!
Pollo a la Brasa, also known as Peruvian chicken or Blackened chicken in the United States and Charcoal Chicken in Australia, is a common dish of Peruvian cuisine and one of the most consumed in Peru. It was also one of the first true fusion recipes dating back more than 60 years and combining Peruvian and Japanese ingredients.
Specifically, this is a rotisserie chicken dish developed in Peru circa the 1960s by Roger Schuler and Franz Ulrich, who were Swiss residents living in the country.
Schuler was in the hotel business in Peru. He devised the specific method of cooking the chicken by observing his cook’s technique in preparation, and gradually, along with his business partners, perfected the recipe. He then created the Granja Azul restaurant in Lima.
Originally its consumption was specific to the wealthy people (during the 1950s until the 1970s), but today it is widely available and a typical plate of ¼ chicken with fries and a salad can be bought for about 15 soles, or just under $5.
It is almost always served with creamy (mayonnaise-based) sauces outside Peru, especially spicy chili cream sauce. However, in Peru the sauces are not made from mayonnaise and that is the sauce version I will share with you. Feel free to use mayo instead if you’re so inclined.
Peruvian Cuisine was listed among the top 3 of the United States’ hottest foods in 2013. Pollo a la brasa can now be found in eateries all throughout the U.S. and is considered to be a staple item on the menu of Peruvian/American fusion restaurants.
Every Peruvian has their own version of this amazing recipe and I am no exception. Most Peruvian cuisine, including this recipe, is heavily influenced by the Japanese, as there is a large ex-pat Japanese community in Peru. The use of soy sauce in the classic recipe is proof of that.
I’ve added two additional ingredients not typically found in Peruvian chicken to my version to really amp up the flavor quotient: Miso and Yuzu Kosho, a spicy and numbing citrus paste from Japan.
Feel free to omit either ingredient if you so prefer, but the recipe is improved by the addition of both. I’ve also added some liquid smoke to simulate the grilling process traditionally used for cooking the chicken.
I’ve provided the recipes for the mandatory green and yellow sauces traditionally served with the chicken and French fries that form the classic plate of Peruvian chicken (also usually served with a salad). They are both from a famous Peruvian recipe blogger and are totally authentic.
Enjoy this flavor bomb of the finest roast chicken, my Citizens! 🙂
Battle on – The Generalissimo
1 whole broiler/fryer chicken (2-3 pounds), or bone-in/skin-on chicken pieces of your choice
For the marinade:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Juice of 2 limes
5 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
¼ cup dark beer (I prefer Guinness)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoons huacatay (Peruvian black mint) paste – available on Amazon or substitute equal parts fresh mint and basil
1 tablespoon aji panca paste – available on Amazon
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
¾ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon shiro miso (optional)
¾ teaspoon liquid hickory smoke (optional but recommended if roasting – omit if grilling)
¾ teaspoon Yuzu Kosho (preferred) or ground sansho pepper – both of these ingredients are themselves optional and available on Amazon
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less according to your heat preference)
Green Aji Sauce Ingredients
6 medium jalapeno peppers, seeds and veins removed
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove
¼ cup vegetable oil, divided
½ cup cilantro (leaves and stems), packed
½ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
3 ounces (80 grams) queso fresco, farmer’s cheese or feta cheese (Feta cheese preferred, see tips)
2 teaspoons natural peanut butter (optional)
Yellow Aji Sauce Ingredients
3 ounces (80 grams) queso fresco (fresh cheese), farmer’s cheese or feta
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
4 aji peppers (seeds & veins removed) or ¼ cup aji amarillo paste
4 small sprigs huacatay or ½ teaspoon huacatay paste
4 Tablespoons (15 mL) vegetable oil, divided
1 Tablespoon raw peanuts
salt, to taste
For the Chicken
Combine all the marinade ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
Loosen the skin on the chicken and rub a goodly amount of marinade under the skin. Place the chicken or chicken pieces in a large ziplock bag and pour the marinade over. Shake to evenly coat the pieces. Marinate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
If using a convection oven: Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F and roast the chicken pieces for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees F and roast the chicken for another 15-20 minutes.
If using a conventional oven: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and roast the chicken pieces on the middle rack of the oven until the internal temperature of the chicken reads 160 degrees F, about 45 minutes. If the skin begins to brown too much, move the roasting pan to the bottom rack. You can also reduce the oven temperature.
If using a grill (hopefully charcoal-based) – grill until done.
Remove the chicken from the oven or grill. It is recommended that you tent the chicken with foil for 10-15 minutes before serving. If using a whole chicken, cut the chicken into serving pieces.
Serve the chicken with Peruvian Aji green and/or yellow sauce.
Traditional sides include a salad and thickly cut French fries – go with purple potatoes if you have them for even more authenticity.
Because we live in Peru, friends back home often ask us how to make Peruvian aji (chili) sauce. Spicy, addictive and a striking shade of green, this unique sauce or salsa is quick and easy to prepare. Traditionally served with rotisserie chicken and French fries, it is also delicious spooned over potatoes, fish or beef. Or serve this sauce as a dip with bread cubes, fresh veggies or potato chips.
Recipes for the sauce vary from region to region and, depending on the hot peppers you choose, it may also be yellow or orange in color. Two main ingredients in Peruvian aji sauce are cilantro and hot chiles. In the United States, jalapeno peppers are easy to find and make a tasty sauce. In Peru, two common ingredients are the herb huacatay and the hot pepper aji amarillo (aji marisol). Authentic Peruvian aji sauce is not made with mayonnaise or lettuce.
Below you will find recipes for both green and yellow aji sauce, depending on the ingredients you have on hand. Try these sauces with Crispy Homemade French Fries or Sweet Potato Fries for a special treat.
Enjoy! Or as we say in Peru…¡Provecho!
If serving the sauce over potatoes, you may want to thin it with a little milk, cream or vegetable oil. To thicken sauce, Peruvian cooks add one or two saltine crackers or a piece of dry bread before blending.
You can substitute ⅓ cup drained cottage cheese for the feta cheese or queso fresco.
Increase salt if using cottage cheese or queso fresco.
Peruvian aji sauce can vary from mild to spicy depending on the peppers you choose. If you’d like more heat, don’t remove the veins or seeds from the peppers.
The optional peanut butter adds depth without overpowering the sauce and is a typical ingredient in some regions of Peru. Try aji sauce first without peanut butter and then with it. We like it best with the peanut butter.
Also called Peruvian Black Mint or Mexican Marigold, huacatay is actually in the marigold family. The leaves add a pungent flavor and incomparable depth to soups, stew, sauces and meat marinades.
Huacatay is also used as a home remedy for anything from the common cold to stomach aches.
Green Aji Sauce Instructions
Pour 2 Tablespoons of neutral-flavored vegetable oil into a medium skillet over medium heat.
Sauté peppers, onion and garlic clove until softened, about 4 minutes.
Pour into a blender container the sauteed vegetables, 2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil, cilantro, salt, cheese and peanut butter (if using).
Blend on high until thick and creamy, about one minute.
Yellow Aji Sauce Instructions
Coarsely chop peppers, onion and garlic.
Pour 2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil into a medium skillet. Over medium heat, sauté vegetables until soft.
Scrape vegetables into a blender container. Add the remaining ingredients (including the rest of the vegetable oil) and blend for several minutes, until thick and creamy.
Drizzle over steamed potatoes or serve with fries, beef or chicken.