10 Popular South American Sauces and Dips

Spicy Adventures

Sauces and dips are important in recipes as they maximise flavours and add juiciness and colour to dishes. South American sauces and dips are particularly delicious, with rich flavours and bright colours coming from the fresh herbs and spices. We’ve put together 10 of our favourite ones that you can make at home.

1. Aji Criollo

Also known as salsa de aji, this is a spicy Peruvian salsa made from yellow aji chilli peppers and oil. Aji amarillo chillies have a fruity flavour often described as having sweet raisin and berry notes. The sauce is traditionally served with meat and fish dishes, but also as a dip for chips and tequeños.

2. Chimichurri

This Argentinian sauce is popular throughout South America and is one of the tastiest and most versatile sauces out there. It’s made from fresh parsley, garlic, oregano, crushed red peppers, olive oil and red wine vinegar. Chimichurri is used as a marinade and sauce for grilled steak, fish and chicken, but you can also use it as a dressing for salads or drizzled over eggs.

3. Suero

Suero, also known as suero costeño or suero atollabuey, is a creamy and tangy Colombian sauce similar to sour cream or yoghurt. It’s made from fermented whole milk, salt and vinegar or lime juice. It’s served as an accompaniment to various dishes including sausages, tamales, arepas and plantain chips.

4. Tucupi

Tucupi is a traditional Brazilian sauce originating in the Amazon. It’s made from the juice extracted from the manioc root, also known as cassava root. The yellow sauce is usually served with duck and fish, but can also be used as a base for soup. Tucupi is traditionally seasoned with garlic, basil, chicory and salt.

5. Llajua

Llajua is a spicy Bolivian sauce made from the locoto chilli pepper, tomatoes, onions and a local herb called quillquiña which is similar to coriander. It’s popular all over Bolivia and is consumed as a dip for potatoes or bread. It can also be added to soups, grilled meats and vegetables.

6. Salsa golf

Salsa golf originated in Argentina but can also be found in Uruguay, Peru and Colombia. It consists of ketchup and mayonnaise, but can also include mustard, lemon and fresh and dry herbs and spices. It’s used as a salad dressing as well as a spread for bread and dip for chips and seafood.

7. Guasacaca

Guasacaca is Venezuela’s version of guacamole. It’s a combination of avocado, coriander, parsley, bell peppers, onions, garlic, salt, oil and vinegar. Guasacaca is usually served with barbecued meats, fried plantain and yuca, or topped onto empanadas.

8. Pebre

Pebre is a condiment from Chile, traditionally made with coriander, chopped onion, olive oil, garlic and ground or pureed aji peppers. Some versions may also use tomatoes. Although pebre is mostly used on bread, it can also be used on empanadas or choripan, a grilled chorizo sandwich.

9. Salsa a la Huancaina

This is a spicy Peruvian cheese sauce which is made with aji amarillo peppers, onions, garlic, oil, evaporated milk, queso fresco and hard-boiled eggs. The sauce is blended and typically served over cold sliced potatoes in the well-known Peruvian dish of papa a la Huancaina. It’s also used as a dip for chips, corn and fried yuca.

10. Tamarillo

Also known as a tree tomato, a tamarillo is used in the same way as tomatoes are. They have a unique flavour, a cross between passionfruit, cucumber and tomato. In Ecuador, tamarillos are used in juices and desserts, but also in the country’s famous hot sauce. Tamarillos are cooked with chillies and then blended with garlic, onions, lime juice and coriander.

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