Don’t fear the heat. Bring on the flavor! Whatever your culinary play is, aji amarillo is your player!
If you’ve ever marveled at the color, and flavor, of the brilliant yellow sauce over fish, or chicken, in a Peruvian restaurant, aji amarillo (yellow pepper) is the hugely flavorful chile behind the flave!
At 30,000 to 50,000 SHU, you would expect aji amarillo to be a pepper used sparingly. Like the Peruvian pastes, this ground powder is a LOW HEAT, HIGH FLAVOR version. If you strip out the pith, and the seeds, the fruitiness of the pepper shines through.
Native to Peru and Bolivia, aji amarillo is a thick-fleshed chile pepper that is considered part of the ‘holy trinity’ of Peruvian cuisine.
Ají Amarillo were a staple pepper in the ancient Incan diet. It is believed, by some Peruvian paleobotanists, that chile peppers originated in the Lake Titicaca basin of Upper Peru, and Bolivia. Archaeological evidence in Guitarreo Cave, in Yungay province, dates back to at least 8,000 BCE. Graves at the archaelogical site at Huaca Prieta, in Chicama Valley extensively used the fruit 2,500 BCE.
Aji Amarillo were part of the offerings to the the Incan gods in their ceremonies. They considered chiles sacred symbols. Andean paquos still use them in divination and possession rituals. Abstaining of them was part of a ritual Incan fasting tribute to the earth-mother goddess Pachamama.
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