Five Senses Palate/Sujhey Beisser
Aji de Camarones
I love Peruvian cuisine and all the flavors influenced by the blend of Indigenous and Asian culture. Whenever I am cooking foreign cuisines, it’s important for me to understand and respect their origin and its ingredients. Even if it means that sometimes I have to go online to order a specific ingredient, or travel to a local store that carries the ingredient so I can explore the real flavor of a recipe. Aji amarillo is a lot spicier than any other chiles I use in my kitchen, but I certainly don’t regret using it for this chili. It’s truly exquisite!
This adaptation of a Peruvian Aji recipe is perfect for a cold winter night. Brace yourself for some heat coming from Aji Amarillo Paste. I use Alaskan Spot Shrimp for this recipe. Wishing you a merry season with delicious food. Let’s get cooking.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
1 lb. spot shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ cup of vegetable oil
1 large white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup Aji Amarillo Paste (store-bought)
3 dried guajillo peppers
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 slices of white bread
½ cup whole milk
1 cup shrimp stock
¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
Sea salt to taste
Serving Suggestions (optional)
White rice or boiled potatoes
Sweet pepper slices (for garnish)
Cilantro (for garnish)
Make a red chile paste: Cut dry guajillo in half and discard the seeds. Place the dry guajillo in a small bowl and cover with hot water, soak until chiles are soft, about 20 minutes. Transfer soaked chiles to a blender with some of the water. Blend on high until a paste is formed. Add more of the soaking water if too thick. Pass through a sieve and discard the solids.
Soak the bread: tear the slices of bread in a small bowl and cover with the milk. Let it soak until ready to use.
Sauté shrimp: in a large skillet or frying pan add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over high heat. Lightly season shrimp with sea salt. Add the shrimp to the hot skillet and cook on high for 1 minute per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Make the aji: Add the remaining oil to the skillet. Cook diced onion and minced garlic over medium heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add store-bought aji amarillo paste, red chile paste, cumin, and turmeric. Cook until the paste has thickened and becomes fragrant about 8 minutes. Turn the heat off and let it cool slightly.
Blend: Transfer the onion and chile mixture to a blender. Add the soaking bread and milk, season with salt, and blend on high.
Finish cooking the chili: pour the blended mixture back into the pan over medium heat, add the shrimp stock. Simmer for about 8 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and becomes creamy. Add sauteed shrimp and parmesan cheese. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes, until the cheese is melted, and the shrimp are cooked. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Serve warm over white rice or boiled potatoes. Garnish with pepper slices and/or cilantro (optional). Enjoy!