I love the cheesy, spicy goodness of papa a la huancaina. Though it’s appearance always has always fallen flat for me: yellow sauce on yellowish beige potatoes. So to give the dish a much-needed pop of color, I used some Peruvian purple potatoes in place of the traditional yellow potato. My bag also had a few pretty magenta and lighter blue potatoes mixed in. Make it a party ready dish by cutting potatoes into bite size bites and supplying toothpicks.
My mom says some people add a little yellow food coloring to make the sauce brighter. I can dump 2 whole bottles of red dye into red velvet batter, no problem. But for some reason the thought of adding a few drops of dye into savory food gives me the creeps. The orange aji amarrillo gives the sauce it’s color. Add another half chile if you want a brighter yellow and like the extra heat.
1 dozen small to medium purple potatoes (can be found at Whole Foods or A Grocery Warehouse, 1487 W Sunset Blvd. in Echo Park)
1 – 8oz package of queso fresco (found in most So. California supermarkets and your local Hispanic market)
6 oz. of evaporated milk
1 1/2 aji amarillo chiles from a jar, seeded and ribbed (can be found at Catalina Market, 1070 N Western Ave Los Angeles, CA 90029)
4 soda crackers
1 small garlic clove, crushed
Add potatoes to a pot of cold, salted water and bring to boil. My potatoes were fairly small and only took 12 minutes. After they have cooled down peel and cut into bite-sized pieces.
Combine the cheese, aji amarillo, crackers, milk and garlic in blender and blend until smooth. The sauce should be thick. Add a little extra milk to thin it out, if needed.
This dish can also be served as a first course. Just use medium potatoes, slice them a 1/2 thick, arrange them on small individual plates, and pour the huancaina sauce on top.