Aji Amarillo (Sweet Yellow Chili Pepper)
Peru’s favorite chili
An important ingredient in Peruvian cuisine, aji amarillo is moderately spicy but will not leave your mouth burning. It’s used in countless Peruvian recipes, and will add incredible flavor to your dishes. Offered are both whole peppers that are Individually Quick Frozen and pastes.
TASTING NOTES FROM THE CURATOR
Peru’s perfect yellow pepper turns a gorgeous bright yellow-orange when ripe. It’s almost 10 times hotter than jalapeño, but its fruity, berry flavor lessens the sting.
The aji amarillo paste is sweet and spicy, and lends a brightness to your dishes.
On the Scoville Scale, the Aji Amarillo ranges from 30,000 – 50,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), which is about as hot as a serrano pepper.
Aji amarillo comes in two forms: as a sweet yellow chili pepper paste, and whole IQF (individually quick-frozen) peppers.
The paste can be stirred into sauces, tossed with roasted vegetables, or used as a condiment like you would hot sauce. The IQF peppers can be used in any dish. Try making a popular Peruvian chicken meal, the aji de gallina.
- Soak some slices of white bread in a bowl of evaporated milk. Set aside.
- Boil some yellow potatoes, cooking until tender, and setting aside when done. This will be served as a side to your chicken dish.
- In a large saucepan, boil bone-in chicken breasts in water with minced garlic and chopped carrots on medium-high heat. Once it starts to boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 30 minutes.
- Once done, remove the chicken and pull apart with two forks. Set aside the broth.
- In a blender, blend your white bread and evaporated milk with some of the broth, some walnuts, and Parmesan cheese. Pulse until smooth.
- In another saucepan, sauté sliced onions and more minced garlic in vegetable oil. Add in the chicken and aji amarillo peppers (de-seeded and sliced). Cook over medium heat for about five minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add in the sauce from the blender. Let the whole thing simmer for about five minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Place on a serving plate, and garnish with black olive slices and quartered hard-boiled eggs. Enjoy!
The star of many Peruvian national dishes, aji amarillo has been used in food since the time of the Incas, believed to have first been cultivated in 2500 BCE. It has remained a constant in Peruvian cuisine, and is included in the “holy trinity” of cooking, along with garlic and red onion.
Aside from being delicious, aji amarillo is also an excellent source of vitamin C, which helps boost your immune system, as well as antioxidants and potassium.
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.
For IQF peppers, store in the freezer immediately upon receipt if not using immediately. Consume within 6 months as they will start to lose quality and flavor.