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Aji Picante

This hot sauce is traditionally made with Aji chillies which grow in South America. It can be made just as well with habanero chillies but bear in mind that they are VERY hot! Just use one if you prefer milder flavours, or use a milder chilli altogether if you prefer. Aji is usually made from raw chillies but roasting them gives a beautiful flavour and softens the heat. You can keep this sauce in the fridge for up to a week and it also freezes well. It is great served as a dip or added to chillies, roasted vegetables or rice dishes.

Aji Picante

Dietary: Vegan, Wheat Free, Spicy Hot!


  • 1-3 red habanero chillies (to taste!)
  • 4 garlic cloves-in their skins
  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 chopped spring onions
  • 2 tbsp wine, sherry or cider vinegar
  • Juice and zest of a lime
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • Water as needed
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 6/200C
  2. Carefully remove the stalk and seeds from the chillies.
  3. Place the chillies and garlic on a baking tray and roast for 10-15 minutes, then add the tomatoes and roast for a further 10 minutes so that the tomatoes burst.
  4. Remove the vegetables from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Squeeze the garlic out of its skin.
  5. Place the chilli, garlic and the tomatoes in a blender and whizz until very smooth.
  6. Add the spring onions and the rest of the ingredients (and about 2 tbsp of water).
  7. Whizz until it is fairly smooth-you can make the sauce really smooth or chunky depending on your taste. If you prefer, you can make this in a pestle and mortar.
  8. Taste and add more water, salt, sugar, vinegar or lime to taste.


  • You can make a green version of this sauce by using green chillies and omitting the tomatoes. Add extra coriander for colour.
  • You can also add green or red roasted peppers to add body and flavour to the sauce.

Meera making super hot Aji sauce