My Paleo Version of Ají de Gallina (Peruvian Creamed Spicy Chicken)

I’ve never been to a Peruvian restaurant or eaten authentic Peruvian food, but when I was sharing some Cuban inspired recipes last year, someone recommended that I try my best at Peruvian food. So that’s exactly what I did. I started with the first recipe that caught my eye, Lomo Saltado. It’s pretty much beef stir fry loaded onto fries. How can you go wrong with that? But since then, I haven’t tried anything else out! So I started doing a little research to find other Peruvian recipes that I should try out and this one caught my eye. Because it just looks like a curry or creamy chicken salad. But when I found out what was loaded into it, I knew this might be a little more challenging than my last Peruvian inspired recipe.

First off, many recipes out there use white bread, evaporated milk and parmesan cheese. They also use some sort of nut like walnuts or pecans then it’s served up with potatoes, eggs, and often olives. HOLY SHART. Talk about rich. So when I look at this I see:

  • white bread: hell no.
  • evaporated milk: we can do better than that.
  • cheese: don’t need it.
  • walnuts: don’t want it.
  • olives: forgot them at the store. shame.

Even though this may not be EXACTLY like the real authentic Ají de Gallina, I still thought it was absolutely delicious! Wait, I did one other thing that wasn’t super authentic…because I’m lazy. I used ají  amarillo paste instead of making my own, but I just wasn’t in the mood to go on the hunt for ají peppers, again, because I’m lazy. So you can be lazy too, just snag this on Amazon!

PaleOMG Ají de Gallina (Peruvian Creamed Spicy Chicken)

A few things to keep in mind about this recipe is it’s good to plan ahead because it takes a couple steps. If you can boil and shred the chicken ahead of time and also boil, cool and peel the eggs ahead of time, you will cut out a ton of extra time later on. So just plan ahead, ok? I don’t want you to be annoyed with the many different steps and therefore be annoyed with me. Only positive vibes around here, please!

Speaking of positive, I’m officially ready for fall! I’ve decided that since my husband will now be engulfed with football on Sundays, I will now take up working out, brunch then working on Sundays, maybe a little shopping since the mall will be cleared out from all the hooligans who like 6 hours games with 427 commercial interruptions. So fun. Even if I can’t find any friends to go to brunch with, I will go alone! I have tried to like football for probably 13 years and I still hate it with all my being, so eating and shopping will make up for the fact that my husband and friends are all occupied on Sundays now. YAY! Sundays are looking up!

PaleOMG Ají de Gallina (Peruvian Creamed Spicy Chicken)


Ají de Gallina (Peruvian Creamed Spicy Chicken)

  • Yield: 4 1x


  • 4 eggs, boiled and peeled, sliced*
  • 1 pound chicken breasts, boiled and shredded*
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 1/2 yellow onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 (14 ounce) can of full fat coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons ají amarillo paste
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • fresh cilantro, to garnish
  • other garnishes: rice or cauliflower rice, olives, or walnuts


  1. Boil eggs the Ina Garten way: Place the eggs in a saucepan and add enough cold water to cover. Bring the water to a boil and immediately turn off the heat. Let the eggs sit in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove the eggs to a bowl and allow to rest for at least 2 minutes. When the eggs are cool enough to handle, crack the eggs on each side and then roll them back and forth with your hand, breaking up the shell. Remove and discard the shell. Place in fridge to cool.
  2. Boil chicken – place chicken in a saucepan and cover chicken with water. Place lid on saucepan and place over medium heat to cook for about 20 minutes or until the chicken easy shreds apart, about 165-170 degree internal temperature. Shred chicken with two forks and set aside for later.
  3. Rinse out saucepan and place peeled potatoes in the pan and cover with water. Place lid on saucepan and place back over medium heat to cook for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain and rinse. Set aside.
  4. Place a large saute pan over medium heat. Add ghee to the pan along with onion and garlic. Cook until onion becomes translucent, about 2 minutes, then add the turmeric and cumin and mix until spices become fragrant.
  5. Add coconut milk along with the ají paste and a pinch of salt and black pepper and whisk together until completely combine. Let simmer and reduce for about 10 minutes. It should reduce by about 1/3, remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes. Add the mixture to a high speed blender then add in the mayo and blend for about 30 seconds, until smooth.
  6. Pour mixture back into the saute pan over medium heat then add in the shredded chicken and mix to combine and let simmer for about 3 more minutes to heat through.
  7. Serve the chicken with fresh cilantro on top and sliced eggs and potatoes on the side. I also listed other sides that go great with this dish! Feel free to play around with it yourself!


*If you can boil the eggs and chicken (separately) ahead of time, this will save you a ton of time later on! Just store them in a sealed container in the fridge until you are ready to make the whole dish!

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PaleOMG Ají de Gallina (Peruvian Creamed Spicy Chicken)


You May Also Like:

PaleOMG Lomo Saltado

Lomo Saltado

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Crockpot Ropa Vieja with Cuban Style Rice


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Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.

I’m a food hoarder. And a really bad dancer. If you don’t know me well, you will probably not understand my humor. Therefore, I apologize ahead of time. Thanks for listening to my ramblings of my ever-changing life and trusting my kitchen mishaps. Your trust in me is appreciated.


38 thoughts on “My Paleo Version of Ají de Gallina (Peruvian Creamed Spicy Chicken)”

  1. Ugh football is THE WORST. Luckily my husband doesn’t like it but here in KC everyone is OBSESSED with the Chiefs (I guess Broncos fans are probably just as bad. And I guess we’re supposed to hate Broncos fans…but whatever lol). I just get annoyed that all the media around town is full of football stuff. We just awkwardly follow soccer and get weird looks at bars when we want to watch that instead of football 🙂

    Also, this recipe looks very intriguing! And makes me want to go try some Peruvian food now.

  2. I’m a football widow too! I’m so annoyed that we have Monday night football, Thursday night football, college on Saturday and pro again on Sunday. I have tried to like the sport too but I just don’t get it and apparently I don’t want to. I like your Sunday plan! I’m actually going to try to make this dish vegan somehow because it looks so good. I follow your blog but I’m a vegan, I just take tips and run with it. Helps me get creative with my dishes and branch out from the same old things.

  3. Looks delicious, per usual. i’ve never heard of Aji peppers, nor have I ever had Peruvian food (or that I know of anyway….) so I’m curious; how spicy is this dish?!

  4. Oh girl, you need to check out Cebiche over in LoHi. The place seems super authentic to me, run by nice people and the food is pretty fantastic. They usually have a deal on LivingSocial or Groupon too that’s like $25 for $50 for dinner so you can go hog wild. Of course you have to get the pisco sour while you’re there too!

    1. i’ve walked past there a million times going to highland tap and burger or uncle and always wonder what it is!! i’ll definitely check it out! thanks for the recommendation!

  5. Hey Juli, very brave of you to come up with a version of a dish you’ve never tried! Over the years I’ve tried a number of things to make this dish paleo-friendly; almond milk and coconut milk work okay but heavy cream gives the closest result to the real deal IMO. Also, we often use pecans in Peru, not walnuts. I feel it does make a difference in taste as they are sweeter. I sometimes use almond meal instead of bread to thicken it up. I’ve never thought of adding mayo – to be honest it sounds a bit outrageous but I’ll try it next time. Finally, Parmesan is a key ingredient in the dish, I can handle some dairy so I sometimes use it (or Pecorino or a hard goat’s cheese), other times I use nutritional yeast or a splash of fish sauce for that umami flavour.

  6. Hey, I love this Peruvian adventure. One time saving tip I use is to bulk cook chicken in the slow cooker, in chosen liquid. Then I use the liquid for stock, and shred, and freeze the chicken in portion sizes, and use them for recipes like this – it’s such a time-saver! Hope it helps – Bec

  7. Wow, I almost thought the chicken looked like really creamy scrambled eggs! Not to say that’s a bad thing, but it is really incredible! 🙂 Anyways, I would love to try Peruvian and Cuban food too!

  8. Peruvian food is seriously the best I have ever had! I highly recommend Peru be added to your travel list, you won’t be disappointed. Super excited to try this recipe! Other than lomo saltado, my favorite Peruvian foods are causa and papa rellana…maybe you will do a recipe for one of these?!?

  9. I made this last night….so yummy!! My husband loves how adventurous I am becoming with the cooking. Thanks for never steering me wrong. In our house, football is LIFE! Uhhhh. It drives me crazy. I guess it just gives me time to look up new recipes.

  10. Juli – I made this today and it was sooooo freakin good! I used my Instant Pot to cook the chicken earlier in the day and then finished the recipe for dinner. My husband loved it! So good!

  11. As a Peruvian I feel insulted by your recipe. First because Aji de gallina have a very specific list of ingredients and changing any of the ingredients turns the dish into anything but Aji de gallina. So you should call your dish something else and not Aji de gallina. If you want to make Aji de gallina take out the coconut milk and use regular milk so the flavor will not be alter, also it does not call for turmeric or cumin, the taste of the Aji de Gallina is based on the Aji amarillo, the parmesan cheese and the broth. Please call your dish something else and if someone want to really try the magnificent Aji de Gallina please go with the authentic recipe.

    1. thanks for your feedback, renzo! i’m sorry it upset you. i would absolutely love to use parmesan cheese and the white bread that’s used when making aji de gallina, but i don’t use bread or dairy in my recipes. no need to be offended. have a wonderful day!

    2. I agree. This is not aji de gallina. My husband was looking for this recipe to share with some of his coworkers (I am Peruvian and he wanted them to have an idea of what I will be making on Saturday) and I told him this is in no way what I will be making. I understand you have a way of eating here but then call it an inspiration or name it something else, because to call this Aji de Gallina is not at all accurate. I don’t want people to find your recipe and think this is the dish we make in Peru.

      1. that’s why it’s called “my paleo version”. i wish i could use evaporated milk, cheese and bread, but i don’t eat those sort of things.

  12. Hello there
    I’m Peruvian as well and was looking to prepare this dish that I love in a healthy way. Thanks for the recipe. I will definitely try it tonight and let you know what I think.
    I don’t eat bread or potatoes anymore because I’m trying to get slimmer and healthy .

  13. Your condescending attitude towards the traditional ingredients is insulting. You want to change a recipe to suit your needs, that totally fine. But don’t insult the origin. Its unnecessary.

      1. Haha, I am Peruvian and I’m not insulted at ALL. I’m grateful you went out of your way to recreate such a delicious recipe for people who are unable to eat bread and dairy! Great job I can’t wait to try this recipe out! I’m so excited, thank you again for your recipes!

        1. THANK YOU Katherine. this recipe was not made to insult people. it was made to include people in delicious food that they may not be able to eat normally

  14. I have had the authentic dish and I don’t understand why some people are insulted in the comments. No, it’s not exactly the same as the original, but that’s because it’s made healthier and paleo… and honestly it tastes amazing! My husband is Chilean and his family makes this dish which I love, but since I don’t have the same diet choice as them I’m happy to have my own version that’s comparable and delicious. 🙂 Thank you!

  15. Aji de Gallina is one of my favorite Peruvian dishes. I decided it was time to learn how to make it myself. Then I saw the ingredients of white bread and condensed milk. Not ingredients I wanted in my recipe rotation. I found your recipe and realized I had most of the ingredients. I made the dish according to your recipe, with minor changes. I added walnuts and olives to my dish. In my opinion, the walnuts are necessary to give added richness to the sauce. Thanks so much for posting this recipe!

  16. Aji de gallina is one of my favorite Peruvian dishes. I decided it was time to learn how to make it myself. Then I saw the ingredients of white bread and evaporated milk. Not ingredients I wanted in my recipe rotation. I found your recipe and realized I had most of the ingredients. I made the dish according to your recipe, with minor changes. I added walnuts and olives to my dish. In my opinion, the walnuts are necessary to give added richness to the sauce. Thanks so much for posting this recipe!

  17. I’ve been craving Peruvian food from a restaurant I would frequently visit on business trips, but since Covid I haven’t traveled for work. I finally got around to making this dish and it was fantastic. I’m blown away that everything I cook from the blog is healthy and consistently tastes amazing, I can’t wait to try more! Thank you!

      1. Julie,
        Thank you again for bringing a healthier spin to this peruvian dish. My husband is lactose intolerant and this recipe is helpful in meeting his needs. Question, can you freeze this dish?

        1. thank you for seeing where I’m coming from with this dairy-free and gluten-free spin on this dish! I haven’t tried freezing it, but i think it would. I would just recommend reheating it in a pan to help it come out the same way it did when you cooked it the first time!

  18. All of Juli’s recipes are incredible and constantly on rotation at our house. This recipe is one our absolute favorites. So yummy!

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