Andean Yellow Chile and Epazote Salsa (Salsa de Ají Escabeche y Paico)

  • Serves

    makes about 1 cup


Dora Asmat, a cook who keeps the archaeologists at Huaca de la Luna well fed, makes this spicy sauce at her small restaurant Don Merce, in the town of Moche. Asmat cooks outdoors, and the main feature of her kitchen is the batan (stone mortar) that she inherited from her grandmother. Growing beside it is epazote, an herb most often associated with Mexican cooking; in Peru, it is called paico.


  • 13 cup water
  • 2 tsp. fresh lime juice
  • 14 large fresh epazote leaves
  • 8 fresh or frozen ají escabeche (yellow Andean), Holland, or banana chiles, seeded, deveined, and chopped
  • Kosher salt


Step 1

Put water, lime juice, epazote, and chiles into a blender; purée until smooth. Transfer salsa to a bowl, season with salt to taste, and serve at room temperature spooned, if you like, over halved boiled potatoes (such as Yukon Gold).

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