Pollo a la Brasa: Peruvian Roasted Chicken

Peruvian Roasted Chicken

A few years ago my parents introduced us to a “Pollo a la Brasa” in the neighborhood. At the time, the Pollo a la Brasa or Peruvian Roasted Chicken was one of the more popular Peruvian dishes. Roasting the chicken made it moist and delicious. The elements from both Chinese and Latin America cuisine added wonderful layers of flavor that were unbelievable.

Hubby and I liked it so much for a while we were going there every week. Well, as things sometimes happen (to me) I became allergic. Yeah I know, it’s a family trait what can I say. So after years of eating it, then taking a hiatus because I couldn’t deal with getting sick. Then I decided, hey I can still eat what I love. Especially, if I make it myself. I don’t know exactly what they put on the roasted chicken from our favorite restaurant but I’ve tried several different recipes a couple of times. It’s taken a while, but I’ve been able to create something similar to the pollo a la brasa we had with my parents.

Peruvian Roasted Chicken

Every time it’s closer and closer to the restaurant version. But I’ve realized that without actually roasting the chicken on a spit this is probably as close as I’ll get to the flavor. And in my search for the perfect recipe I found out that the men who originally created this dish, were Swiss. Ha, globalization at it’s best.

Anyway, one of the ingredients they used was a paste called aji amarillo. The paste is made from the aji pepper. I’ve decided not to use the paste for several reasons. First, I don’t want to add any heat to this dish (you know my mini). And secondly, you know if you follow the blog that I like to use what is already in my house. Aji peppers (or paste) are not something we typically keep in the house. If you are making this dish and want to use Aji Amarillo Paste you can buy it online. In the end, what’s most important to me is that food is easy and delicious.

I know that the aji paste adds a bit of color (as well as heat) to the chicken and so I add some annatto paste I had in the house to add color. All the other ingredients are combined to make the marinade. I chose to marinate the chicken for 24 hours but you can marinate it for as little as 6. It’s an important part of the process so don’t leave it out. Also, roasting on a spit over coals adds a lot of flavor to this dish. To get more of the flavor that comes with roasting, you can use a Stainless Steel Cooking Rack or a Roasting Rack.

Serve this dish with some avocado and maduros. Maybe some rosemary french fries or cilantro rice and you’ve got yourself a full meal. In our area, you can get a Peruvian meal like this for anywhere from $12 to $18. Since so many of these restaurants have popped up everywhere the prices have remained low. Of course, making it yourself makes it even more affordable.

Pollo a la Brasa

Makes 4 -6 servings

  • 2 pounds of chicken thighs (leg quarters)
  • 1/3 cup of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon annatto
  • 1 tablespoon of aji amarillo (optional)

Tools: large bowl with leak proof top or large plastic storage bag, baking sheet and roasting or cooking rack


Combine all ingredients except chicken in a bowl and whisk well.

Once well combined, add chicken making sure marinade saturates chicken (if you don’t mind using your hands rub it into the chicken underneath the skin).

Allow chicken to marinate for at least 6 hours.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remove chicken from marinade and pat dry.

Place rack inside baking sheet and place chicken skin side up on rack.

Bake chicken at 475 on the middle rack for approximately 30. The skin should golden and crunchy.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

And there you have it Peruvian roasted chicken.

Peruvian Roasted Chicken

So, what sides would you serve with your Pollo a la Brasa?

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