Aji Central

By Marcia Kiesel Posted February 05, 2007

I am obsessed with growing peppers. They do so well in containers, since the soil stays warmer than in the ground. So my tiny yard will now be container central. My yard may not have a pretty lawn per se, but the chiles growing in all of the pots will be beautiful. I am especially enthralled with the aji. This is what chiles are called in South America, and the aji amarillo is a very sweet one with a tingling of heat. The large leaves and thick stems form a kind of umbrella with the ajis hanging down like orange lanterns. Though many immigrants can find the chiles they are used to cooking with, such as jalepeños, poblanos, Thai chiles, habaneros, even chipotles, the aji is not available in supermarkets or any Latin markets I've searched. Last summer I gave a small bagful to a man working on the house behind me. I asked him if he would like some chiles. I gave him the bag and he said oh, ajis, with a big grin and said he was from Colombia. Yes, ajis, and there will be plenty more this summer. 

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