Aji chile, also known as aji pepper or Peruvian hot pepper, is a chili pepper commonly used in Peruvian and other South American cuisines. It is about 2-3 inches long, with slightly wrinkled, thin skin. Its color varies from yellow to orange, red, or green, and it’s fruity, slightly sweet, and mildly spicy, ideal for ceviche.
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What is aji chile?
Aji chile, or aji pepper, is commonly used in South American cuisine. It is the most important ingredient of ceviche, a dish made with raw fish marinated in lime juice and mixed with onions, cilantro, and other seasonings.
|Origin||The Andean regions of South America|
|Appearance||Yellow, red, green, or orange, small to medium, slightly wrinkled|
|Flavor profile||Fruity, slightly sweet|
|Cuisines||Bolivian, Columbian, and Peruvian cuisine|
|Heat Level||30,000 – 50,000 SHUs|
It is believed to have originated in the Andean regions of South America and is now widely used in Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia.
Aji chiles come in various colors, including yellow, red, green, and orange, and are generally small to medium in size, with a slightly wrinkled appearance.
Aji chiles are known for their fruity, slightly sweet taste, with a mild to medium heat level. They add flavor and spice to dishes such as ceviche, stews, sauces, and many Peruvian meals.
Aji chile is a popular ingredient in many South American cuisines, particularly in Bolivian, Columbian, and Peruvian cuisine. It goes in soups, sauces, salsas, and hot sauces.
It acts as a condiment in marinades for meats and seafood dishes, a rub for grilling meat, and a garnish for dishes like ceviche and salads.
The Peruvian chile has a heat level ranging from mild to moderately hot (between 30,000 and 50,000 Scoville Heat Units). It has a flavor profile similar to a combination of bell pepper and habanero.
Some aji varieties have a mild heat level of around 1,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), while others can be pretty spicy, ranging from 30,000 to 50,000 SHU or higher.
Nutritional Benefits of aji chile
Aji chile peppers are a rich source of several essential nutrients, including vitamins C, A, and B6, and minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, and copper.
Capsaicin gives this pepper its signature spicy flavor. It has been shown to have various potential health benefits, including anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-bacterial properties.
Main ingredients of aji chile sauce
- Aji pepper
Tomatoes are common in many cuisines and add a sweet and tangy flavor. In aji chile, tomatoes provide a mild sweetness and a juicy texture that balances the spiciness of the aji pepper.
Cilantro is an herb that has a bright and citrusy flavor with a hint of bitterness. It adds a fresh, herbaceous note to the aji chile and helps balance the peppers’ heat.
3. aji pepper
Aji peppers are the star ingredient of Aji chile. They are chili pepper commonly used in South American cuisine and have a bright, fruity flavor with medium heat. Aji peppers have a unique flavor, often described as a combination of citrus and floral notes.
Onions add a sweet and savory flavor to the aji chile and a crunchy texture. They have a slightly pungent and sharp taste that helps balance the tomatoes’ sweetness and the aji peppers’ spiciness.
How do I make Aji sauce?
The recipe for Aji can vary depending on the region, but here is a basic one.
- 1/2 cup of chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup of chopped onion
- 1/4 cup of chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup of chopped fresh mint leaves
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2-3 fresh hot peppers (aji amarillo), seeded and chopped
- 1/4 cup of fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup of white vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin
- 1/4 cup of water
- Wash and chop all the herbs, garlic, and hot peppers.
- Place all the ingredients into a blender or food processor.
- Blend until the mixture is smooth and all the ingredients are well incorporated.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
- Transfer the Aji to a jar or container with a tight-fitting lid.
- Refrigerate the Aji for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld together.
- Serve the Aji with your favorite dishes.
What is a substitute for Aji pepper?
Some of the best substitutes for Aji include:
|Jalapeño peppers||These are commonly available and have a similar heat level to a wide variety of Aji|
|Serrano peppers||These are slightly hotter than jalapeños and can be a good substitute for spicier types of Aji|
|Cayenne pepper||This is a good substitute if you’re looking for a spicier flavor and heat|
Red pepper flakes are a good substitute for dried aji peppers and can add similar heat and flavor.