Aji Paprika Chiles
Aji Paprika Chile (pronounced AH-hee pa-PREE-ka), Capsicum annuum, is a mild chile that’s also called red pepper, chile paprika, or paprika peppers.
There are approximately 4 Aji Paprika Chiles per ounce.
What is the Aji Paprika Chile?
Aji Paprika is a mild, sweet chile pepper, fragrant and warm with the inviting aroma of raisins and tobacco, with a touch of smoke. This pepper is fairly large and conical in shape. It grows to about 6 inches long and turns a deep and luxurious burgundy when dried. It’s often split open and stuffed with cheese as a relleno, or rehydrated and minced for salsa.
The History of the Aji Paprika Chile
Aji Paprika Chile is a pepper with a bit of an identity crisis. The word aji is usually used as a reference to peppers of Peruvian origin. It’s taken from the Taino language; Taino people populated the islands Christopher Columbus landed on. Paprika is, of course, a Hungarian word, derived from the Bulgarian word piperka, which was itself taken from piper, the Latin word for pepper. The word paprika has been adopted around the world to name peppers that provide brilliant color and sweet flavor, but aren’t necessarily of Hungarian origin, since true Hungarian Paprika often comes with a Protected Designation of Origin status and must be a product of Hungary. Hence, it’s a pepper with a Peruvian-Hungarian name that’s grown in abundance in Mexico. It’s generally used to convey smoky, fruity Mexican flavors without heat.
The Peruvian word aji also pays a touch of homage to the origins of the chile pepper. Pepper plants emerged in South America; some evidence indicates the first appearance of peppers occurred as far back as 10,000 years ago, possibly around Lake Titicaca, which straddles the border between modern day Peru and Bolivia. Archaeological investigations of Guitarreo Cave in Peru have uncovered evidence of peppers in use as food at least 8,000 years ago, and other archaeological investigations throughout Peru present strong evidence of peppers as a domesticated crop 6,500-7,500 years ago.
Cultivation of the Aji Paprika Chile
Like most chiles, Aji Paprika grow best in hot weather and in direct sunlight. Soil should be loamy and well-drained, though the ground can retain some moisture. It’s more important that it doesn’t dry out entirely; chiles do not absorb water from deep in the ground, and up to 70% of the water they take in comes from the first foot of topsoil. Aji Paprika does best in soil that’s mildly acidic, with a pH between 5.5 and 6.8. Plants do best when they are sown 6-8 inches apart. Peppers will reach their full size in 4-5 weeks after germination, and will reach green maturity 35-50 days after flowering.
Where is Our Aji Paprika Chile from?
What Does the Aji Paprika Chile Taste Like?
Aji Paprika Chile have a deep, stone fruit aroma that’s reminiscent of plum, with a deep raisin backnote and a touch of smoke on top. This pepper is sweet and mild; playful hints of cherry mingle with savory sun-dried tomatoes, before fading into an easy bitterness. Occasional pokes of heat emanate from the ribs and seeds, but this pepper’s bright flavor and gentle heat has appeal for a wide range of palates.
Are Aji Paprika Chiles Hot?
Aji Paprika Chiles are a mild chile pepper, measuring between 120 and 140 Scoville Heat Units (SHU) on the chile pepper scale.
How to Use Aji Paprika Chiles
Aji Paprika’s sweet, mild nature means they can be rolled into just about any dish for an added boost of peppery flavor without a blast of heat. Swap out serranos for Aji Paprika and make a smooth, delicious Ranchero Sauce. Rehydrate and cut into thin strips, then toss over roasted potatoes. Mix into shredded chicken for fillings for burritos or tacos. Sauté rehydrated Aji Paprika with onions and create a base of flavor for a Jamaican Stir Fry. Or, get experimental and add minced Aji Paprika to the filling for the stuffed Indian bread Aloo Paratha.
One of the best techniques to learn when working with the Aji Paprika, or any dried pepper, is how to rehydrate your chiles. Rehydrating peppers is easy to do and makes them ready to use in a variety of recipes, whether you’re dicing them for salsa or slicing them into strips for a burrito. Pull out seeds and stem and cover with boiling water for 10 minutes, then drain and chop as needed.
Aji Paprika Substitutions
You can substitute this fairly easily for the sweet, mild Nora Pepper, though these peppers do not have the same smoky quality. Aji Panca chiles, with their mild flavor profile and a bit of smokiness, are a wonderful substitute. If you want to try something slightly hotter, try substituting Guajillo Chiles, which are fruity and fun with a sparkling bit of spice.
|Ingredients||Aji Paprika Chile|
|Also Called||Red pepper, chile pepper, chile paprika, paprika peppers|
|Recommended Uses||Use in salsa, chiles, burritos|
|Flavor Profile||Mild and fruity with a hint of smoky bitterness|
|Scoville Heat Units||120-140 SHU|
|Botanical Name||Capsicum annuum|
|Cuisine||Mexican, Caribbean, Tex-Mex|
|How To Store||Airtight container in a cool, dark place|
|Shelf Life||Up to 12 months|
|Country of Origin||Mexico|
|Dietary Preferences||Gluten Free, Non-GMO|
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Serving Size1 chile
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*