Aji Panca

Another type of aji is aji panca or aji colorado, which has a great smoky flavor and a dark red to brownish color. It is used throughout the country, and its origins come from Pre-Incan times. It has a mild taste, not too spicy, but its wonderful flavor adds a delicious smokiness to dishes like  Carapulcra, a dried potato stew. It also gives beautiful color to soups like Parihuela, seafood soup, and Sopa a la Criolla, made with chopped beef, onions, garlic, tomatoes, aji panca – right before serving, milk and beaten eggs are added as well. Unlike me, my mom uses this aji for her Aji de Gallina, Peruvian chicken fricassee, which gives it a red color.

To use, soak aji panca in water overnight and blend with canola oil to form a paste. You can find Aji Panca at any Latin American grocery store.

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