Agrio, translates literally as sour, is a traditional sauce that is used to accompany typical pork dishes such as hornado, pernil, and fritada. Ecuadorian agrio sauce is a tangy vinaigrette salsa and there are many different variations of agrio.
Most restaurants or market food stands that sell hornado have their own homemade version of agrio. Some of the more traditional ones use chicha, a fermented corn drink, and naranja agria or bitter orange. Those ingredients aren’t always easily available, even in Ecuador, so it can also be made with a mix of orange and lime juice. Some places even put a little bit of beer in their agrio.
Ecuadorian agrio sauce
- ½ to mato finely diced
- ½ shallot finely sliced
- 2 tbs finely chopped green onions
- 1 red aji I used a Fresno pepper – but you can use any hot pepper or a small bell pepper if you don’t want it spicy, seeded and sliced
- 1 cup bitter orange juice or replace with 1 cup orange juice + juice of 2 limes
- 1 tbs finely chopped cilantro and parsley
- ½ tbs white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp grated panela or brown sugar
- 1 tbs light olive oil or sunflower oil
- Salt to taste
- Place all the ingredients in a bowl, mix well and let rest for at least an hour before serving.
This recipe for agrio uses orange juice, lime juice, some panela or piloncillo, and a dash of white wine vinegar. Tomatoes, onions or shallots, green onions, peppers (spicy or sweet based on your preference), and fresh herbs are also included in this sweet and sour salsa. Agrio usually gets better after resting for a couple of hours in the fridge. I like to serve Ecuadorian pork dishes with both agrio and tomato onion curtido, some people love agrio and others not so much, so it’s good to have an alternate option.