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June 23, 2023 7 min read

The History of Ají Panca

Ají pancais a Venezuelan dish made of shredded raw beef cooked on a grill or in the oven. The meat is then mixed with onions, garlic, and chili powder and served with rice and salsa. Ají panca has a unique flavor that is not found in other dishes.

Some people believe that the sauce was created by a chef in Venezuela who was cooking for Fidel Castro. The sauce is said to have been a favorite of Castro's because it had a strong chili flavor. Ají panca became very popular in Venezuela after it was featured on the television show "Chef's Table."

What is Ají Panca?

Ají panca (also spelled aji panca) is a type of peyote native to the Andes region in South America. It is a small, fat, green pod that can be eaten fresh or dried and has a nutty flavor. Ají panca is an ingredient in traditional South American dishes like Ecuadorian tamales and Venezuelan arepas.

There are flavours you only have to try once to fall in love with them. Some people deeply enjoy sweets and desserts, others have strong salty cravings and some other like to go from place to place trying all kinds of spicy dishes.

For those who want to experience the most exotic types of chilli and pepper, there’s one that stands out from the crowd. We’re talking about theají panca

This strong, juicy and delicious pepper is the perfect companion for some of the most recognized Peruvian recipes, adding its flavour and texture to the mix. If you want to know where this mesmerising ingredient comes from and how to use it in the kitchen keep reading.

Check out: Inca's Food Yellow Hot Pepper

Where does ají panca come from?

Ají panca (also known as the Peruvian red pepper), is a special variety of chilli pepper called Capsicum Baccatum, but it’s also associated with the Capsicum Chinese kind.Ají panca is a pepper mainly grown in the coastal and warm areas of Peru, although it can be grown in any  humid and fertile ground at sea level, with warm temperatures and great sun exposure.

Even though it’s quite simple to growají panca in many places, this is a pepper most known around Peru as it is the key ingredient for many Peruvian recipes. Maybe the peppers are not usually grown outside Peru, but nowadays it’s quite simple to getají panca in its most popular presentations. 

Characteristics of this ají

Theají panca has some very peculiar characteristics that make them taste the way they do. This kind of pepper measures 3 to 5 inches long (including the stem) by 1 to 1 ½ inches at their widest point. They are a green orange-ish color but when they are ripe they turn a deep red or brownish color.

Like other big peppers, theají panca has thick flesh and plenty of seeds inside. This chili actually looks a lot like some other peppers from the same family, like the pasilla peppers (also known as the chilaca before being dried out), ancho pepper, (known as poblano before dry) or even the chipotle pepper. 

Check out: Inca's Food Rocoto Hot Pepper

Flavour of ají panca

Ají panca is ranking at 1,000-1,500 in the Scoville scale of spiciness, which means that this pepper has a relatively mild spice.

Despite its name,ají panca is much less strong and spicy than all the other kinds of ajíes, like the ají amarillo or the Peruvian ajíes. In fact,ají panca actually has a sweet tinge similar that reminds us of berries, and it contains smoky undertones which make it ideal to cook with beef and other types of meat.

Ají panca is the perfect pepper to dry out and grind to use in its powder form. Making a panca paste might be lots of work, thankfully you can findají panca powder or paste.  

Most popular dishes made with ají panca 

Ají panca takes part in one of the most popular Peruvian dishes known worldwide, the anticuchos. Anticuchos are beef or chicken pieces, marinated with garlic, vinegar, pepper,ají panca, achiote and salt; all placed on wooden sticks to grill. Anticuchos are the most sold street food around Peru. If you want to learn the full recipe foranticuchos click here

And even thoughají panca has a very mild spice, it is said that removing the seeds and veins reduces the spice even more; leaving only a smoky and berry-like taste. This makes this pepper perfect for dishes such as chupes, adobo, escabeches, carapulcra, pachamanca, parihuela and chanfainita. 

This might not be the spiciest pepper in the world, but if there’s one thing we know for sure is thatají panca will make any recipe taste ten times better. Whether you boil it, seed it and chop it, mince it to make it a paste or dry it out to make it a strong powder, this kind of ají has the ability to turn any ordinary meal into a real gastronomic experience. 

It’s no secret why Peruvians love to make dishes withají panca, so if you want to give it a try to check out our recipes, get a bag ofají panca paste and put your cooking skills to test. We assure you it will be the best meal of your life! 

Check out: Inca's Food Yellow Hot Pepper

Health Benefits of Ají Panca

Ají panca is a type of hot pepper that is native to the Amazon rainforest. It is one of the most popular peppers in the world and has many health benefits.

1. Ají panca is a hot pepper with high antioxidant activity. Researchers found that aji panca extract has higher antioxidant activity than red and black pepper. This means that aji panca can help protect against damage to cells caused by free radicals.

2. Ají panca is also high in anti-inflammatory properties. In studies, aji panca was shown to have anti-inflammatory effects comparable to those of ibuprofen. As a result, it can help reduce pain and inflammation associated with various medical conditions, such as arthritis and migraines.

3. Ají panca can help improve blood circulation. In studies, aji panca was found to increase blood flow and improve circulation throughout the body. This benefit may be beneficial for people who have difficulty getting the blood flowing to their extremities due to low blood pressure or diabetes.

4. Ají panca can help reduce cholesterol levels. In studies, aji panca was shown to lower cholesterol levels by

Taste and Precautions With Eating Ají Panca

What makes ají panca so unique?

Ají pepper is a unique type of chili pepper that is native to Peru. The name ají comes from the Quechua word for "hot pepper." Ají peppers are long, thin, and have a mild flavor. They are often ground into a paste and used in sauces and stews. Ají panca is the most common type of ají pepper and contains the most heat.

Ají panca can cause extreme heat relief, which is why it's often used as an ingredient in hot sauce. However, people with limited heat tolerance should avoid eating ají panca because it can be extremely spicy. Some other precautions to take when eating ají panca include:

  • Being aware of your body's tolerance level.
  • Avoiding dehydration.
  • Resting if you experience any adverse effects.

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Where to Find Ají Panca in the U.S.?

Ají panca is a type of sauce made from aji amarillo peppers. It is a popular condiment in Latin America. It can be found in many restaurants across the U.S. Ají panca is used to add flavor to foods such as tacos, burritos, and quesadillas.

Ají panca (aji sauce or aji pepper sauce) is a hot sauce made from peppers, vinegar, and spices. Ají panca can be found in most Latino and Asian markets and some mainstream supermarkets.

The key ingredients in ají panca are the aji peppers, typically a type of chili pepper from Peru or Bolivia. The other main ingredient is vinegar, which gives the sauce its sour, acidic flavor. Other spices may include cumin, garlic, salt, and sugar.

Ají panca can be used as a condiment or dip for various foods. It is commonly used in Peruvian cuisine but can also be found in Mexican and Chinese cuisine.

How to Cook Ají Panca

Ají panca (or aji panca sauce) is a popular condiment in Peru and Bolivia. It is made from aji Amarillo peppers, garlic, salt, and vinegar. Ají panca can be served in nearly any dish but is especially complementary to potatoes and meats.

Tips for Making Ají Panca Perfectly

Many things make ají panca so unique, but one of the most important factors is the quality of the sauce. It is essential to use fresh ají peppers and never cook them with canned ingredients. The pepper also needs to be chopped very finely to create a flavorful mixture that can be used as a dipping sauce or as a main dish.

In addition, it is essential to simmer the pancake over low heat so that the flavors meld and the pancake turns crispy on the outside. Finally, always serve ají panca with fresh cilantro, sour cream, and diced tomatoes for a perfect taste experience.

Check out: Inca's Food Canned Yellow Hot Pepper

Ají Panca as a Meal or Side Dish

In Peru, ají panca is considered a meal or side dish. The dish is made of fried Ají peppers served with rice and various toppings such as chicken, fish, or even plantains. Ají panca can also be found in some Peruvian restaurants abroad.


Ají panca is a unique chili pepper most commonly found in the coastal areas of Peru and Chile. This pepper has a fruity, spicy flavor that makes it an excellent addition to any dish.

Ají panca is also high in antioxidants, making it beneficial for your health. So, if you want a flavorful and nutritious chili pepper to add to your menu, ají panca should be at the top of your list. Thanks for reading!

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