Aji Panca Chile Peppers
Inventory, 5 lbs : 0
Aji Panca chile peppers are elongated with a conical, lantern shape, averaging 7 to 12 centimeters in length and 2 to 5 centimeters in diameter, and have deep ridges extending the length of the pod. The skin transforms from green to a deep red, almost mahogany when mature and is glossy and semi-smooth with a slightly wrinkled appearance. Underneath the skin, the medium-thick flesh is lightly striated, yellow-green, crisp, and aqueous, encasing a central cavity filled with many round, cream-colored seeds. Fresh Aji Panca chile peppers have a sweet and smoky flavor with subtle fruity notes reminiscent of blueberries and blackberries. When dried, the skin of the Aji Panca develops into a chocolate brown and has a flavor that can be described as raisin-like, with smoky overtones, hints of berry, and a mild, lingering heat.
Aji Panca chile peppers are available in the late summer through fall.
Aji Panca, botanically classified as Capsicum chinense, are unusual chile peppers native to Peru with a distinct, sweet and smoky taste and are members of the Solanaceae or nightshade family. Also known as Aji Brown for its earthy tone when fully mature, Aji Panca chile peppers are the second most popular pepper in Peru and are mild in heat, ranging 1,000 to 1,500 SHU on the Scoville scale. Aji Panca chile peppers are most commonly found dried and are rare to find fresh in markets, even in its home country of Peru, and are used in everyday cooking for its complex flavor and deep burgundy hues.
Aji Panca chile peppers are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, which are antioxidants that can boost immunity and help repair cell damage within the skin. The peppers also contain some iron, potassium, and calcium.
Aji Panca chile peppers are best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as grilling, baking, roasting, and stir-frying. Utilized as an added flavoring, Aji Panca chile peppers are most often found dried or ground into chile powder. The peppers are rarely found fresh, but if raw, they can be stuffed and roasted, sliced and tossed into salads, lightly stir-fried, or whisked with lime juice and tossed into a fruit salad. When dried, the smoky-flavored peppers are used to spice up stews, soups, casseroles, and sauces, or they are crumbled and pressed into meats as a dry rub. The dried peppers can also be blended with oil and a touch of vinegar to make a paste and used as a condiment for cooked meats, fish, and vegetables. In addition to cooked meats, Aji Panca chile powder has become a favored spice that can be added to chocolate, cookies, cocktails, or even mixed with avocado as a zesty version of avocado toast. Aji Panca chile peppers pair well with meats such as poultry, pork, beef, and fish, avocado, tomatoes, corn, potatoes, chocolate, beans, and rice. Fresh peppers will keep up to one week when stored whole, unwashed, and wrapped loosely in plastic in the refrigerator. Dried peppers will keep six months to one year when stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry, and dark place.
Aji Panca chile peppers are the second most popular variety in Peru next to the aji amarillo. Favored for its complex, sweet and smoky flavor, and rich coloring, Aji Panca chile peppers are utilized in Peruvians kitchens fresh, dried, or ground into a powder. When dried, the peppers have a considerable shelf life and can be ground into a powder for infusing oils, sauces, and pastes. The most traditional Peruvian dish that Aji Panca is utilized in is antichuchos, which are skewers of grilled meat. Popularly served at street vendors and local markets, the grilled beef or chicken is rubbed in Aji Panca paste or powder and is consumed as an easy but flavorful on-the-go meal. Aji Panca chile peppers are also known for being mixed into adobo, or pork stews, and the berry-like flavor intensifies with prolonged, low-heat cooking. In addition to using the pepper by itself, many Peruvian chefs are mixing Aji Panca chile peppers with aji amarillo peppers for a dynamic blend of fruity, sweet, smoky, and spicy flavors.
Aji Panca chile peppers are native to the coastal regions of Peru in South America and have been cultivated since ancient times. The peppers have remained primarily localized to Peru and neighboring countries in South America, but through encounters with Spanish and Portuguese explorers in the 17th and 18th centuries, some Aji Panca chiles were introduced into Central America, especially in Mexico where they are grown on a very small scale. Today Aji Panca chile peppers can be found fresh in home gardens in Peru but are more commonly found in dried form or in pastes at local markets. Dried Aji Panca chile peppers can also be found online, and seeds are available through online catalogs for home gardening in South America, Central America, and the United States.
Recipes that include Aji Panca Chile Peppers. One is easiest, three is harder.
|The Spruce Eats||Aji Panca Past|
|Woodland Foods||Grilled Fish in Chile Sauce|