Ají de Tomate de Arbol Salsa

Published on November 11th, 2017

2

Easy “Ají de Tomate de Arbol” (Tree Tomato Salsa)

Tomate de Arbol a.k.a. tamarillo

Nope, they’re NOT your ordinary tomatoes

…that instead grow on trees.

A.k.a. “tamarillos”, these succulent fruits can be found piled high at every mercado and outdoor market in Ecuador.  They’re often squeezed into a sweet juice drink, but most especially, you’re sure to find them blended into a ubiquitous salsa – served in a small bowl on every “almuerzo” table in Cuenca.

Indeed, I’ve lived here nearly four years now and I’ve surely had my fair share of $2.50 almuerzo lunches doused with tasty tamarillo ají.  Yet…  why have I not before considered making a batch of this yummy sauce in my own little Casa Dyannita “cocina”?

Turns out it’s uber easy, and oh so fresh and tasty!
 
“Tomate de Arbol” Salsa

AuthorDyanneCategory, Total Time20 mins
Yields8 Servings

The easiest-peasiest-yummiest salsa on the Planet!

Note: you can change the “Servings” above, as well as handily check-off each ingredient below as you gather/use it:

 4 tree tomatoes (“tomate de arbol”, a.k.a. tomatillos)
 2 small hot peppers (serranos or red chilies are good options)
 ½ cup finely chopped white onion
 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro (a.k.a. coriander)
 1 tbsp lemon juice
 ¼ cup water (or to desired consistency)
 salt and pepper to taste

Ready? Set – GO!    Click the timer to start:  20 Minutes

1

Pierce the skin of each tomatillo with a sharp knife and immerse them in boiling water for about 5 minutes to make them easier to peel.

Briefly submerge the tomatillos in boiling water to aid in peeling them.

2

After the brief boil, I found them super easy to peel – much like a banana. I only occasionally needed a sharp knife to scrape a bit of pulp from the peels.

Tomatillos are very easy to peel - much like a banana.

3

Finely chop the hot peppers, removing membranes and seeds (reserve a few seeds to later add a bit more “heat” to the ají if desired).

Chopped onion and cilantro.

4

Place the chopped peppers and the peeled tree tomatoes in a blender or food processor; blend until smooth.

Blend the chopped hot peppers with the peeled tree tomatoes until smooth.

5

Transfer the mixture to a small sauce pan, adding water to desired consistency (I prefer it a bit thinner than pudding). Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes.

6

Remove from heat and add the lemon juice, along with the chopped onion and cilantro. Season with salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Serve at room temperature as a condiment for spicing up tacos, arepas, rice, refried beans, scrambled eggs – younameit!

Add lime juice, chopped onion and cilantro.


 

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Ingredients

 4 tree tomatoes (“tomate de arbol”, a.k.a. tomatillos)
 2 small hot peppers (serranos or red chilies are good options)
 ½ cup finely chopped white onion
 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro (a.k.a. coriander)
 1 tbsp lemon juice
 ¼ cup water (or to desired consistency)
 salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1

Pierce the skin of each tomatillo with a sharp knife and immerse them in boiling water for about 5 minutes to make them easier to peel.

Briefly submerge the tomatillos in boiling water to aid in peeling them.

2

After the brief boil, I found them super easy to peel – much like a banana. I only occasionally needed a sharp knife to scrape a bit of pulp from the peels.

Tomatillos are very easy to peel - much like a banana.

3

Finely chop the hot peppers, removing membranes and seeds (reserve a few seeds to later add a bit more “heat” to the ají if desired).

Chopped onion and cilantro.

4

Place the chopped peppers and the peeled tree tomatoes in a blender or food processor; blend until smooth.

Blend the chopped hot peppers with the peeled tree tomatoes until smooth.

5

Transfer the mixture to a small sauce pan, adding water to desired consistency (I prefer it a bit thinner than pudding). Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes.

6

Remove from heat and add the lemon juice, along with the chopped onion and cilantro. Season with salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Serve at room temperature as a condiment for spicing up tacos, arepas, rice, refried beans, scrambled eggs – younameit!

Add lime juice, chopped onion and cilantro.

Easy “Ají de Tomate de Arbol” (Tree Tomato Salsa)


About the Author

Off-the-beaten-path travel is my passion,and I’ve always lived life “like-a-kid-in-a-candy-store” – eager to sample as many flavors as I can. Indeed, my life motto has long been: This ain’t a dress rehearsal, folks!



2 Responses to Easy “Ají de Tomate de Arbol” (Tree Tomato Salsa)

  1. Yum! I’m going to have to see if there’s anything like tamarillos here in Portugal but the recipe looks like it could be adapted easily to what you have on hand. And, there’s no shortage of peppers around here! 🙂 P.S. Amazing to think that you’ve been in Cuenca almost four years now!

    • Dyanne says:

      I just found a video on “red tamarillos” growing in Portugal, Anita – along with a “Tamarillo Restaurant” in Olhos de Agua, Albufeira, Portugal (near Lagos!) so… likely you’ll be able to find them at your neighborhood market. Just ask for “tamarillo” or possibly “tamamoro” or “tomate de árbol”. I’m not sure what you might substitute, but they say the flavor is a cross between a passion fruit and a tomato.

      And yes – I too am amazed that Cuenca has turned out to suit me so well. Whenever I think of resettling elsewhere, I end up concluding “Yeah but why? It really doesn’t get much better than here amid these cobbled streets.”

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