An empanada's best friend:


A good aji is the perfect compliment to an empanada. Aji is similar to salsa, but a thing unto itself. Colombian style aji is based off of onions, scallions, cilanto, lime juice, hot peppers, water and salt.

One vidalia onion should be finely chopped along with two bunches of scallions. The juice of two limes should be poured over this and left to sit for an hour or so. The acidity of the limes helps mellow out the bite of the onions a great deal and add to the final flavor. If you want to put any cayenne peppers into the mix, they should be added now.

After sitting, two cups of cilantro are added to the mix along with one cup of water. This may seem like a lot of cilantro, but it is a great compliment to the flavor of the empanadas. Cumin and salt may be added to taste.

In some regions, empanadas are served alongside small cups of plain lime juice, so don't be afraid to make this aji completely full of the stuff.