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September 28, 2022 4 min read

If you look at most of the Peruvian recipes, there is a high probability they include among their ingredients ají amarillo (Yellow Peruvian pepper) or ají Amarillo paste.

This is because the ají Amarillo is one of the main ingredients in Peruvian Food. Its bright orange or yellow color will bring a summer like sensation to your mind and its unique taste, hot yet fruity, is something we invite you to try. Keep reading if you want to know this ingredient. 

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Is the Ají Amarillo really hot?

The flavor of the Ají Amarillo is fruity with a hint of raisins. Its taste is not that hot, having about 30.000 to 50.000 Scoville units, considering the jalapeño has about 2.500 to 5.000 Scoville units.

It might seem really hot, but since it is accompanied by the fruity flavor, it does not feel that hot when you eat it.

This is the chili pepper most used in Peru thanks to the hot, yet fruity flavor it brings to the food. Its taste can’t be properly replaced for another ingredient since it’s hard to achieve its complex taste.

How can you use the ají Amarillo?

The Ají Amarillo may be used in different ways; thanks to its different preparations it can be versatile.

For example, it can be used raw as an ingredient on a salad to bring a great hot flavor of it can be turned into a paste for the preparation of sauces.

It also can be dried to concentrate its flavor and also give texture to different recipes.  Thanks to this versatility it can be added, for example, into some of these ideas:

  • Chopped into small cubes to ceviche to boost its taste
  • It can be blended together with milk and other spices in order to prepare a yellow sauce used in many Peruvian dishes.
  • It can be used for a stir-fry in a beef preparation
  • As garnish in your dishes, thanks to its bright color.

Where can you find Ají Amarillo?

Peruvian Food has evolved from different cuisine exchanges as a combination of Inca, European and Asian cuisine and nowadays is well known for the diverse spices and fresh flavors it uses. Outside of Peru, however, is actually pretty hard to find the aji amarillo as an ingredient.

Some enthusiast might cultivate the ají Amarillo at their garden, but this is sometimes problematic since it is a tropical pepper and won’t grow on cold climates.

It is best to acquire directly the ají Amarillo paste and use it without much problem for the preparation of your favorite Peruvian food. 

The authentic ají Amarillo can be a really hard to find in regular shops since it is still not that popular in some countries like the US and as said before, it is hard to cultivate on cold climates.

But if you truly want to taste this delicious ingredient you may search for it in online for websites specialized in Peruvian food, such as KOSMOS Peru, where you can choose different brands and experiment the taste of this unique ingredient.

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Recipes Using Aji Amarillo

Aji Amarillo is a great spice that adds an interesting flavor and a stunning golden hue to dishes. Create an easy sauce called aji Amarillo ( crema de aji) to serve alongside roasted chicken, veggies, or maybe French fries. Papa a La Huancaina, potatoes with a spiced cheese sauce, is sure to be a delicious meal option for the dinner table this week. An excellent layered dish is causa rellena with pollo. white mashed potatoes with avocado, and chicken salad.

Aji Amarillo Uses

Amarillo chili is extremely popular in Peruvian cuisines, where it's eaten fresh or dried. However, in recent years the paste of aji Amarillo has gained so much popularity that you can discover it in Latin supermarkets and on the internet across the United States.

Aji sauce is a favorite home found in Peruvian, Columbian, and Ecuadorian cuisines. It's enjoyed as a condiment along with roast or grilled meat dishes, veggies, and fried snacks. It's made using the aji Amarillo Amarillo sauce, mayonnaise, and sour cream.

It's also served with fresh cheese, fresh green onions, lemon juice, and other seasonings. You can make your sauce by following the recipe perfect for seafood tempura, chicken tempura, French fries, tortilla chips, or any other snack you want.

There are many popular aji recipes like papa a La Huancaina (Peruvian dish of boiling potatoes coated with rich, creamy sauce.

And served with lettuce leaves) as well as the aji de gallina (Peruvian Chicken stew) and Fricase Pacino (traditional Bolivian soup) rank in the top spot. In addition, you can substitute jalapenos or cayenne peppers by aji Amarillo in the recipes below for a hot flavor perfectly balanced by the fruity sweetness these peppers provide.

●      Beef chili

●      Texas Chili

●      Sweet and Spicy Peach Pork Chops

●      Chicken Paprikash with Buttered Egg Noodles

Moreover, aji pepper makes a great addition to salsas, and salads, however, we recommend you begin incorporating them into recipes, in small amounts to enjoy their unique flavor without burning your palate.