Aji Amarillo - Peruvian Yellow Chile Pepper

Aji Amarillo chile peppers
Chasqui/Flickr

Definition:

Aji means chile pepper in Spanish, and amarillo means yellow. But although this pepper (species Capsicum baccatum) is literally named "yellow chile pepper", its color changes to bright orange as it matures. The famous Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio named this medium spicy, fruity chile pepper the most important ingredient in Peruvian cooking. Aji amarillo is used in many classic Peruvian dishes, such as causa rellena and papa a la huancaína.

 Aji amarillo is also used in many sauces, where it adds a bright complex flavor as well as its distinctive yellow/orange color.

Other important chile peppers used in Peruvian cuisine include aji panca, a dark red chile pepper with a smoky flavor,  and rocoto, a fiery hot red pepper that resembles a small bell pepper. 

If you can't find aji amarillo in your produce section, look for frozen aji peppers, dried peppers (in the spice section) or jarred aji amarillo paste in Peruvian grocery stores or in the Peruvian section of a Latin American grocery.

More Aji Recipes:

Ají Amarillo Sauce - Crema de Ají

Papa a la Huancaína - Potatoes in Spicy Cheese Sauce

Causa Rellena con Pollo - Yellow Potatoes with Chicken Salad

Stuffed Red Peppers - Rocoto Relleno 

Spicy Rocoto Pepper Sauce - Crema de Rocoto