Aji Amarillo

We were introduced several years ago. One of the ladies in the church we attended in Bogotá was Peruvian, and she invited us over for a meal.  Everything she prepared was Peruvian: from the papas huancaina to the mazamorra.

Just this past weekend, we got reacquainted. One of the ladies in the church we are attending in Pennsylvania is Peruvian, and she invited us to share lunch on Sunday. Everything she prepared was Peruvian: from the papas huancaina to the chicha morada. The chicken in the arroz con pollo was very flavorful, and everyone raved about the salsa criolla (an salad made from thinly sliced red onion).

One of the important ingredients in Peruvian cuisine is a yellow hot pepper by exactly that name, aji amarillo.  The heat is pretty strong, but it has a pleasant touch of fruity-ness about it. It can be used for the sauce of potato salad, to give kick to the salsa criolla, or to marinade chicken for the grill.

Aji amarillo isn’t as easy to find as your jalapeño, serrano, and habanero. Most people won’t even know what you are talking about when you use the word “aji”. While you can find those three in the fresh produce section of your local grocery store, don’t be confused by the bags of multi-colored sweet mini peppers. They may be the right color and almost the right shape, but they aren’t aji amarillo.  Your best bet is to look in the canned / bottled hot sauce section or in the Latin American section of the grocery aisle.

Even there, you probably won’t find this yellow Peruvian hot pepper. Only one of the Whole Foods Market stores in our area carry it—and that at a high price.  A lady at one of the stalls at the indoor Flourtown Farmer’s Market tipped me off to an international grocery store that sells the aji in a pepper paste for a fraction of WFM’s price. Most of the product at Assi Plaza is oriental/Asian, but they do have a wealth of products from other regions across the globe.


Categories: Chicken, Food and drink, Herbs and Spices, Potato, sauces & condiments | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Somewhat Simple for St. Patrick’s Day

We survived the Ides of March, yesterday, and look forward to St. Patrick’s Day, tomorrow. Between the two, today, I celebrated my birthday by taking the day off from work.


Benjamin Franklin Parkway

My husband and I were planning to drive up to NYC to walk around the Upper West Side, but we reconsidered when the weather forecast changed to lower temperatures.  Instead, we drove down to Philadelphia. It was somewhat strange to drive past the Philadelphia Museum of Art and not see anyone in line to have their picture taken with the Rocky statue. The colors of the country flags that line Benjamin Franklin Parkway seemed especially bold against the clear blue sky; the sycamore trees were no competition without their green leaves. We found a parking space in Chinatown and walked a few blocks to Reading Terminal Market.


At Reading Terminal Market

City Kitchen had advertised that a cooking demo of a traditional Irish dish would begin at 11:30 a.m. We arrived in time to secure seats in the back row. After forty-five minutes we had sampled “Irish potatoes” (a Philadelphia sweet confection of cinnamon and coconut flavors), soda bread with honey butter, shepherd’s pie, and a platter of bangers and mash laid out with the colors of the Irish flag.  The instruction wasn’t too complex; it seemed more of a sampling, though he did explain the preparation as he put the ingredients together. Overall, the experience was comfortable and inviting.


Joking About Showing Off

If you’re looking for something simple to serve at your St. Patrick’s Day celebration, I recommend the bangers and mash flag:

Green beans in garlic butter, mashed potatoes with seasoned salt and sour cream, Irish sausages, and sliced carrots in honey butter and whiskey.


Bangers & Mash Flag

Categories: Food and drink, Potato, Tasting, Travel, Vegetables | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This Week

Categories: bacon, beef, Bread, Breakfast, Cheese, Chicken, Dessert, Food and drink, German food, Potato, Vegetables | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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