Aji also known as aji amarillo or the “yellow chili pepper” has a fruity, subtle, smoky flavor and a medium heat level. This pepper can grow up to 4 or 5 inches in length and matures to a bright orange. Not only is it available in pepper form, but it is also available in powder form, found in Latin markets or online.
The aji pepper comes from Peru’s Andes Mountains and is the most common pepper cultivated and consumed in Peru. This pepper is a critical ingredient in Peruvian cooking and is used in a mixture of aji peppers, onion, garlic, and oil. It is exceptionally versatile since it is more fruity and smoky than spicy. These peppers are used in most Peruvian soups, stews, sautéed and grilled dishes. They can also be used to make sauces, ceviche, and stuffed pepper. Not only are they tasty, they also provide nutrition benefits.
Aji peppers have high levels of capsaicin, a natural compound that has been shown to help with weight management and when eaten consistently can affect weight loss over a one- to two-year period. Capsaicin can increase energy, increase lipid oxidation, and reduce appetite. In addition, capsaicin helps fight cancer cells, particularly those associated with prostate cancer. Studies show that capsaicin prevents cancer cells from multiplying and can slow the growth of prostate cancer cells.
The aji peppers are made up of different varieties, just like any other vegetables. The more common are aji amarillo or aji panca, the latter having a more smoky flavor to it.