Marinades, Sauces, Rubs & Salsas


Llajua (pronounced yak-wa) is Bolivia’s ubiquitous tomato and chile grilling sauce.



Recipe Notes

  • Advance Prep: Can be made up to 2 hours ahead
  • Yield: Makes 1/2 cups


  • 1 to 2 locoto or rocoto chiles, Scotch bonnets or jalapeño peppers
  • 2 red ripe tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped (peeling is optional)
  • 1 clove garlic coarsely chopped (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice, or 1 tablespoon of each, or more to taste
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or flat-leaf parsley

Recipe Steps

Step 1: Stem and cut the chile(s) in half lengthwise, then slice them crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces. For a milder llajua, seed the chiles; for a spicier one, leave the seeds in. Place the tomatoes, garlic, and chile(s) in a food processor and puree to a coarse paste.

Step 2: Work in the olive oil and wine vinegar. Season the llajua with salt and black pepper to taste; the salsa should be highly seasoned. Work in the cilantro, running the processor in short bursts. Alternatively, you can puree the ingredients in a blender, adding the cilantro at the very end.

Recipe Tips

Try these other Latin American sauces and condiments:

Molho à Campanha
Aji Amarillo

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