Papas à la Huancaína (Potatoes with Queso Fresco Sauce)

Ají amarillo chile paste lends this interesting uncooked Peruvian sauce a sunny hue and heat. The simple dish looks especially dramatic when made with purple potatoes.

Papas à la Huancaína (Potatoes with Queso Fresco Sauce)
Photo: © Kate Winslow
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs
4 to 6


  • 1 1/2 pounds well-scrubbed small potatoes, preferably purple 

  • Salt

  • 4 ounces queso fresco, crumbled

  • 1/2 cup whole milk

  • 1 tablespoon ají amarillo chile paste

  • 1 small garlic clove, chopped

  • 1/4 cup oil-cured black olives, chopped

  • 2 scallions, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro leaves


  1. In a medium saucepan, cover the scrubbed potatoes with cold well-salted water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to moderate and simmer until the potatoes are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain well, and set aside to cool

  2. Meanwhile, combine the queso fresco, milk, chile paste and garlic in a blender or food processor and process until very smooth. Season to taste with salt. Set aside.

  3. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them and cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Arrange the potatoes on a serving platter and drizzle with the sauce. Sprinkle with the olives, scallions and cilantro and serve.

Make Ahead

The sauce can be made up to 1 day ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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