Aji Panca: Peruvian Red Pepper

Aji Panca is a type of chile pepper that is commonly grown in Peru.
Aji Panca is a type of chile pepper that is commonly grown in Peru.

Aji Panca is a variety of Peruvian chilli pepper that is widely produced and utilised in Peruvian cuisine. It's a dark red, mellow pepper with a delicious, smoky flavour. It's frequently marketed dried or as a paste. The dried peppers and jarred paste can be found in Latin grocery stores.

Aji panca is an essential ingredient for anticuchos, one of Peru's most popular dishes. Anticuchos are marinated chunks of beef (or chicken) skewered and barbecued on wooden skewers. They're a popular type of street cuisine.

To prepare a paste from fresh aji panca peppers, remove the seeds and blend or process the peppers with enough vegetable oil to make a thick paste in a blender or food processor. The dried chilli peppers can also be processed into a paste by soaking them in very hot water for 5 to 10 minutes before processing. If you want to add a little vinegar to the paste, do so, and keep the chile pepper paste in a glass jar in the refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.

Dried whole and powdered aji panca chillis
Dried whole and powdered aji panca chillis

The Peruvian panca chilli, also known as aj panca in South America, is the country's second most popular pepper, growing all along the coast. This deep crimson to burgundy coloured hot pepper resembles aj amarillo in appearance, but is less fiery, and has a sweet, berry-like, somewhat smokey flavour with a strong floral fragrance.

It is possible to make a paste out of aj panca, or it can be dried and chopped. It's frequently used in Peruvian cuisine as a condiment, especially in sauces, stews, and fish-based dishes like the famed parihuela seafood soup.

Recipes with Aji Panca

Peruvian Country Ham - Jamón del País

Grilled Beef Skewers - Anticuchos de Carne

Crockpot South American Pulled Pork

Pollo a la Brasa Chicken Breasts - Baked Chicken with Aji

Recipes courtesy of the The Spruce Eats

If you have questions or comments, please email me at: brucesharland@gmail.com