Ají de Maní

Peanut Salsa

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • 1¼ cups

Appears in

Secrets of Colombian Cooking

Secrets of Colombian Cooking

By Patricia McCausland-Gallo

Published 2004

  • About

I got this great recipe when I visited the restaurant of Claudia Mejía, Tentenpié, in the city of Cali for a whole week. It is originally from the Popayán area, a zone in the south Pacific of Colombia where peanuts are indigenous. Peanuts are said to come from the zones ranging from Brazil to Paraguay, from where they spread throughout the continent all the way to the southern and central zones of Colombia. It is prepared with fresh peanuts, sun dried for two days, then hand roasted and ground in a molino*. I have made some changes to prepare it at home. It is traditionally served with Tamales de Pipián and is surprisingly hot. You will love it and can serve it also with poultry and as a dipping sauce for crudités. This sauce will keep for up to two weeks refrigerated.


  • cup minced green onions*
  • 1 tablespoons lard or oil
  • ½ cup unsalted roasted peanuts
  • ¼ cup minced red onion
  • 3 tablespoons minced cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoons color* or turmeric
  • ½ beef bouillon cube
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin*
  • 1 teaspoon minced, seeded red habanero* pepper


  1. In a medium sauté pan over medium-low heat, cook the green onions in the fat until translucent, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. In a blender pulse the peanuts, onion, 1 tablespoon of the cilantro, the garlic, color, bouillon cube, salt, pepper, and cumin with cups of water for 30 seconds, to make for a sauce with some mouth feel and texture. If you prefer, blend it to a smooth sauce. It will also be fine; it is just a matter of preference.
  3. Pour the puree from the blender into the sauté pan with the green onions. Return to the heat, low heat this time, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and add the habanero and remaining 2 tablespoons of cilantro.
  5. Set aside to cool.
  6. Refrigerate covered until ready to use.