Aji Amarillo chile has a proud history in Peru. It is believed to have been first cultivated by Inca farmers around 2500 BC, and it has been synonymous with Andean cuisine ever since. Gastón Acurio, perhaps Peru’s most famous contemporary chef, has described peppers as the most important ingredient in Peruvian cuisine, while Michelin-starred chef Virgilio Martinez told The Telegraph in 2014 that aji amarillo is “the DNA of Peruvian cuisine.”

Aji Amarillo offers a spicy kick, but it’s not terribly hot. Its temperature ranges from 30,000 to 50,000 on the Scoville chile thermometer, making it as hot as a chili pepper. However, its effect on flavor characteristics goes far beyond heat. It’s a delicious, fruity pepper that adds subtle hints of mango and papaya to every dish it appears in. It doesn’t taste like any other pepper, in large part because it belongs to… Pepper berry Family, one of the rarest species in its genus.

This chili pepper is a popular addition to ceviche, an ingredient in popular Peruvian dishes such as aji de galena, cosa rellena, and baba la huacena, and the base for a wide range of sauces. It is considered one of the “holy trinity” in Peruvian cooking, the other two being garlic and red onion. The powdered version is often included in spice rubs.

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