Kelis’ Recipe for Spicy South American Aji Sauce

Last Update: September 27, 2022

On a sprawling farm just outside Los Angeles, pop star and chef Kelis traded in city life for a change of pace (and a pretty spectacular change of scenery). She’s the perfect example of our summer mantra, Thriving Outside: growing her own food for herself and her family, raising chickens and goats, and experimenting with different types of recipes using ingredients sourced fresh from the land around her home. 

Today, Kelis is in her kitchen talking all things aji, a South American sauce that she makes in big batches using a recipe from her own cookbook. “I love it. It’s spicy and fresh and tangy—it’s pretty much everything you need, especially for the summer,” she says. You can also use it on just about anything, from adding bright flavor to meats and seafood to topping charred veggies hot from the grill.

Making aji is simple and satisfying. Kelis explains that she tosses all her ingredients in the food processor without much prep work, which makes this the kind of laid-back, foolproof recipe that’s great for an impromptu cookout. Pair it with her red sangria and Thrive Market Grass-Fed Beef Flank Steak for the perfect summer meal. 


2 habanero peppers, stemmed and roughly chopped

¼ cup distilled white vinegar

1 bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped (about 2 cups)

½ large Spanish onion, roughly chopped

1 bunch scallions, trimmed and roughly chopped

4 garlic cloves, smashed and roughly chopped

2 tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper 

Juice of 1 lime


Toss peppers and vinegar in the bowl of a food processor or blender and pulse to chop the peppers. 

Add the cilantro, onion, scallion, garlic, tomatoes, two tablespoons of water, salt, pepper, coconut oil, and lime juice. Pulse to a chunky consistency. 

Serve on top of grilled steak, chicken, seafood, or your favorite vegetables. 

Learn more about Thrive Market’s sustainably sourced meat and seafood: 

From the Prairies of Patagonia to Your Door: Why Our Grass-Fed Beef is Better

What You Need to Know About Sustainable Seafood

Pasture-Raised Chicken That’s Truly Unlike Any Poultry You’ve Had Before

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Amy Roberts

Amy Roberts is Thrive Market's Senior Editorial Writer. She is based in Los Angeles via Pittsburgh, PA.

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