Potatoes in a Spicy Cheese Sauce (Papa a la Huancaína)

Serves     2 12 cups of sauce


Papa a la Huancaina originates from the Huancayo area of Peru. It is usually served at room temperature. Enjoy with Pollo a la Brasa.

Peru’s iconic peppers, aji amarillo, which are used in just about everything, can be difficult to find depending on where you live. In Latin markets you may find them frozen, in jars as a paste, or perhaps dried, rarely fresh though. You should also check the spice section, where I’ve found aji amarillo chile powder (at Whole Foods). Amazon is always a source if you plan ahead. If all else fails, you can try substituting 1 orange bell pepper and ½ of a habanero pepper. (Sauté the peppers together and blend to make a paste.) Or use your favorite hot sauce in place of anything calling for the aji amarillo paste.



Lettuce leaves

8 to 10 boiled new potatoes, cooled and sliced

Huancaína sauce (recipe follows)

2 to 3 hard-boiled eggs, sliced



To serve, place the lettuce leaves on a large platter and arrange the potato slices over the lettuce. Pour the sauce over the sliced potatoes, leaving some of them exposed, and garnish with hard-boiled eggs and olives.


Huancaína Sauce



2 tbsp. oil

¾ cup chopped onion (about 3.5 oz.)

2 cloves garlic, chopped

¼ cup purchased aji Amarillo paste (or see recipe below)

½ cup (scant) soda crackers, or 4 saltines

1 cup queso fresco OR farmers cheese/fromage blanc (Trader Joe’s has this), OR ricotta cheese, OR ¼ cup feta cheese combined with ¾ cup crème cheese

1 cup milk

1 tsp. kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper



Heat the oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for a few minutes, just until it softens, then add the garlic and aji amarillo paste, and sauté for another few minutes until everything is softened.

Scrape the chile mixture into a blender jar, add the crackers, cheese, milk, salt and pepper, and blend until very smooth.

Aji Amarillo or Panca Paste



1 oz. dried Amarillo (mirasol) chiles, or panca chiles



Soak the chiles for ½ hour. Remove the stems, and split the chile lengthwise. Remove the seeds and veins.

Bring a saucepan of water to a boil, add the chiles, and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain, and repeat the process 3 more times. This helps remove some of the heat from the chiles.

Place the chiles in a blender jar and puree until smooth, add additional cooking water from the chiles if needed to blend easily. The paste should be about the texture of ketchup.


Notes and Instructions

Recipe credit: Linda McElroy (adapted from several sources)

Photo credit: Wikipedia