View Full Version : Peruvian Pepper Paste

Richard Batey
02-23-2006, 11:07 AM
I got a small jar of Peruvian pepper paste at El Bodegon on Military Trail at Forest Hill (?) in South Florida. The label reads:
Andino's Food
Yellow Hot Peppers Paste
Aji Amarillo para Ceviche
(product of Peru, distributed by Goya Food)
Ingredients: aji amarillo, salt, citric acid.

It isn't hot (to me), but the flavor is unique and very tasty. The color is like pumpkin and not as thick as mustard. Not like any other pepper products I've had. Had it? I guess it is just a matter of finding these peppers (not likely around here) or acquiring some seeds.

I haven't made an internet search. Anyone with these seeds? Have you tried it? Great on smoked meatloaf sandwiches.


K Kruger
02-23-2006, 01:41 PM
The paste you have is made from aji amarillo (capsicum baccatum) peppers which are probably the most popular in Peru although you'd be hard-pressed to find a disliked pepper there--Peruvian cuisine is practically pepper-based. Ajis amarillos are have a wonderful fruity flavor and are used in many dishes there.

The color of the paste you have suggests that least some of the peppers were picked late. Usually these peppers are picked when bright yellow but they do pick up orange or red tones if allowed to mature before picking. Heat levels can vary; they are usually 'hot' maybe 40K SU, but not always.

Ajis amarillos are always included when making ceviche. I made a popular snapper ceviche at one restaurant or another that depended on them (plus lime juice, red onion, cilantro and jicama).

They are easy to grow and the seeds should be widely available but I've not grown any in quite a while. They offer flavor notes that can be easily built on for other types of pastes, sauces or marinades.

Richard Batey
02-24-2006, 05:31 AM
Kevin - wish we had a Peruvian restaurant here! If you're near that El Bodegon store, you should stop in and get a jar and check out their other stuff. Lots of products (including butcher shop) you won't find in Americano grocery stores.

The paste is a thin paste and has no seeds or pulp (of any visible size). This sauce is very tasty, but not a fruity taste like a scotch bonnet/habanero. Well, it's hard for me to say because the heat isn't there but it has a flavor like I've not had before.

My quest is now on for seeds.


K Kruger
02-24-2006, 06:23 AM
Try peppergal.com (http://www.peppergal.com). She's in Fla I think. For some reason I cannot download her .pdf catalog. There are other Net sources I'm sure. Also, grab some rocoto seeds, red and yellow (but definitely red). They're hard to find but I'm told peppergal has them. They can be harder to germinate but grow well once established and are perennial. The plants get large, like a shrub, the peppers are small but thick-walled, hot, and wonderful stuffed.

Maybe your paste was made with dried ajis (the label left the impression of fresh). Those are often picked when more mature (hence more orange or orange-red). Like other peppers that are often dried the flavors change during that process. I have used aji powder for escabeches that was deep orange (and delicious) though my favorite is a combo of fresh and dried. Great on chicken and duck.

K Kruger
02-24-2006, 07:17 AM
I finally got the .pdf to download. She's got quite a list. I'd emailed her about the .pdf problem (her name is Betty Payton) and she said she was aware of problems with it and was trying to get her webmaster on the ball. Anyway, she is sending a catalog and says she has aji amarillo and recoto seeds in stock. There are many others she carries that are very hard to find.

Richard Batey
02-24-2006, 01:00 PM
Thanks a lot for the info Kevin. I'll place an order with her this weekend.

On another note, I gave up my search for Morton Tender Quick. I cannot find it around here within 75 miles (not that I looked at every store. Had to order it online, but I did buy locally a 9.34 lb pork belly. http://tvwbb.infopop.cc/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif


Doug D
02-24-2006, 05:07 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Richard Batey:
On another note, I gave up my search for Morton Tender Quick. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Hard to believe Wal-Mart doesn't have it-- they all carry it here. Bottom shelf, near the salt.

Richard Batey
02-24-2006, 06:14 PM
Yep, I was surprised and disappointed that Wally didn't have it. They only had Morton Pickling Salt. I tried Albertsons, Winn Dixie, a couple of other groceries including the place where I got the pork belly. Then called meat places in Pensacola, Baker and Mobile. Only one person said she used to carry it but that there was no demand for it. This bacon makin' is a dying art and is antique food - that's the view from here. I can hardly wait to start this project.

I was willing to do some driving to get it but NO is a little too far. http://tvwbb.infopop.cc/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif


David Stanton
04-01-2006, 03:49 PM
Howdy to all y'all. Second post here, still waiting for my WSM to ship.

Never had the Peruvian pepper paste, but have grown some Peruvian peppers, and did business long ago with the Pepper Gal.

I think my favorite baccatum variety came from the Pepper Gal. It's a small pod, ripening from green to red, that's borne upright on the bush. It's much like the wild or near-wild chiltepin or pequin varieties of capsicum annuum (bell, jalapeno, ancho). When the pod is ripe, the calyx loosens its grip, so you just pick the pod by itself -- no stem. That's characteristic of wild peppers -- it makes them easier for birds (and us) to harvest them. The ones I got from Pepper Gal were segregated into round and oblong shapes. Probably F2 seeds from an accidental cross-pollination two generations back. Anyway, they were very prolific, on bushes that were quite large, about 4-5 feet tall and wide. Lots of seeds. Excellent for pepper vinegars, good dried and crushed if you don't mind the seeds. Not bad just to munch on, if you like it hot. Fruity. Also, baccatums have the cutest little spots on the flower petals.

That wasn't the only batch of segregated, F2 or later-generation seeds that I got from Peppergal, and I got one that was way off, but that was wonderful. It was supposed to be some sort of annum, but turned out to be a very nice Bishop's Crown/S. American Skirt Pepper baccatum. Apple-sweet flesh, fairly thick with no heat, but the ribs/placenta were full of fire.

Another Peruvian I've grown and liked is a capsicum chinense (habanero, scotch bonnet). It's a leggier bush than the habs, with oblong, pendulous pods that are thin-walled like a cayenne, about 4-5 inches long and 3/4" wide, dark green ripening to dark brown. It's an excellent pepper for drying and powdering, flaking or storing whole and rehydrating like an ancho. It has a smoky taste that's sort of like a pasilla or ancho, but with some of the fruitiness and only a fraction of the heat of a habanero. It's actually a little hard for my eyes to tell when it's ripe, based on the color, but another good thing about it is that it dries very nicely on the bush, so you can pick the slightly shriveled ones if you want to be sure they are ripe, and then finish drying them. I've never used it fresh. I got it from the USDA/NPGS, and I don't know if it's commercially available anywhere. The NPGS/GRIN accession number is PI315010. I lost my seed stock, and am hoping that the seeds from some dried pods are still viable. Just planted today, actually.

Regarding the Rocotos, they're an entirely different species. Big, black seeds inside little tomato-shaped pods with thick flesh and a fair bit of fire. Hard to germinate, if you put them straight into the seed flat. When you get the seeds, put them into the freezer for a week (yes, they're tropical in origin, but this helps break dormancy in almost any seed, so long as it's dried). Take them out, and soak the ones you wish to plant in a 10% bleach solution (1:9 household bleach:water) for ten minutes, then rinse well. A strainer makes it easy. Then plant as usual, making sure the soil temp stays above 70F, as with all pepper seeds. 80 degrees is better.

I've never had much luck with Rocotos here in S Carolina, but I bet the panhandle country is perfect for them. They need a long season, or to be sheltered from freezing temps.

K Kruger
04-01-2006, 06:11 PM
Great post, David. I'll check around for the PI315010--someone I know might know.

What else are you growing this year? I have Rocotos to start but haven't been home to do it.

Welcome to the board!

Josh Z.
04-01-2006, 06:56 PM
Hola gents,

I saw this post and thought the peppers in it sounded great so now I'm sowing these seeds (aji amarillo)as we speak... the seedlings are looking great and I'm hoping I get a few grown.... Not sure how they'll grow out in IL, but I'm hoping.

If they do grow out and I get some how would I go about this paste... are the peppers just pureed with some salt and citric acid or are they cooked in any fashion? Just curious how this all works any takers?


David Stanton
04-02-2006, 08:02 AM

Thanks for the kind words. Not sure exactly what I'm planting, but all I've got sown as of now is the 315010 and some TAM and Senorita jalapenos. I usually buy my hab seedlings at Wal-mart. They start them earlier than I want to bother with them. I might just dig a baccatum or two out of the freezer. Talking about them has me remembering how good they are.

I don't know if my 315010 seeds will germinate, as the pods have been in my barn for at least five years, so be sure to post if you find a source. The USDA doesn't give free seeds to the general public any more.


Bryan S
04-02-2006, 06:03 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by David Stanton:

I don't know if my 315010 seeds will germinate, as the pods have been in my barn for at least five years

David </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
David, As long as they have been kept in a coolish dark place and sealed well from air and moisture they should be ok. I have many different tomato seeds that i use every year for 5+ years now with great success. I keep them in my basement (which gets quite warm in the winter due to my coal stove) in a tuperware container and they sprout up just fine. Wishing you luck. http://tvwbb.infopop.cc/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

David Stanton
04-02-2006, 06:31 PM
That's the problem. They were kept for a number of years in a barn that gets over 130 degrees in the summer. I keep my seeds in the freezer. They last forever in there. These are some pods that I saved for seed and then forgot about. I lost my last saved seeds of this variety, so I'm hoping these aren't dead. I took a few seeds from each pod, mixed them up and planted about 75 of them. We'll see.