Aji Panca (Peruvian red pepper)
Sweet and smokey
Sweet and smokey, this Peruvian red pepper paste adds a lot of flavor to your dishes, and is incredibly delicious and versatile. Offering this in paste form.
TASTING NOTES FROM THE CURATOR
Aji panca paste is made from aji panca, a Peruvian red pepper commonly used in the country’s cuisine. This paste is aromatic, with a deep red color similar to the chili itself. It has a sweet, smokey taste to it, with subtle fruity notes.
It lends a lot of flavor to your dishes, but is very mild in terms of heat.
On the Scoville meter, Aji Panca’s heat range is 1,000 to 1,500 Scoville heat units (SHU), which is the same range as the very mild poblano pepper.
Use it to season rice, seafood, soups, and sauces. You can also use it as steak sauce, or on your eggs, tacos, and burritos, similar to how you’d use mild hot sauce.
Traditionally, aji panca paste is used in anticuchos, a Peruvian street food. Easy to make, it’s a delicious, flavorful addition to your cooking repertoire. It’s usually made with beef heart, but that can be difficult to find. Meat or chicken will do just as well.
- Crush some garlic, and add a little water to make a paste. In a small bowl, mix the garlic paste with vinegar, Aji Panca Paste, cumin, salt, and pepper.
- In a bigger bowl, place sirloin steak cut into 1½-inch pieces, and pour the marinade on top. Mix well.
- Cover the bowl, and let the beef marinade at least 2 hours. Better if overnight.
- Put the beef pieces onto wet wooden skewers, and grill for about 5 minutes each side.
- Baste the beef several times while cooking, with a mixture of vegetable oil, vinegar, and cumin.
- Serve your anticuchos with steaming rice and/or corn on the cob.
Aji panca are the second most popular pepper in Peru, and is an excellent source of vitamin A and vitamin C, which can boost immunity and repair skin cell damage.
An ancient pepper, aji panca is native to the coastal regions of Peru, and have mostly remained localized. Presently, they can be found fresh at home gardens. But they are more commonly found in dried or paste form in local markets.
Keep your paste in a cool, dark, and dry area, like your pantry. It will retain its highest quality for about 6 months. Once opened, it will last longer in the refrigerator, about a year.