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What is ají panca?

aji panca

Aji panca is smoky Peruvian chilli, which alongside aji amarillo (yellow chilli), is one of the most popular ingredients in Peruvian cooking, and gives the dishes a great depth of flavour. Aji panca is used to give a smoky warmth and deep red colour to soups and stews, and can also be used to make a delicious marinade for meats.

Aji means chilli in Peruvian Spanish. Aji panca is pronounced ‘ah-hee pan-ka’.


Pastes, dried or fresh?


Chopped, fresh chillies, ground dry chillies and chilli pastes are all commonly used variations in Peru, although your more likely to find the latter versions in the UK. It’s certainly no poor relation though, you’ll find that the chilli pastes are highly common in Peru too for speed and convenience of storage, and taste just as good as the fresh chillies themselves. Through Viva Peru you can now buy aji panca paste in the UK as well as dried aji panca chillies. If you’re looking for a good buy, we also do a combo pack where you’ll find panca alongside amarillo, rocoto and achiote pastes.


What can I use it in?

Some of the main dishes include:

parihuela (spicy seafood soup): this delicious soup is particularly popular in the coastal regions of Peru

carapulcra: a slow-cooked Andean pork stew made with dried potatoes, spices and dark chocolate


anticuchos: marinated meat skewers, commonly food as Peruvian street snacks

peruvian roast chicken: there are lots of variants on this, but we like it cooked with a delicious marinade made with aji panca



Used aji panca in other exciting ways?

We’d love to hear about it if you have! Tweet us @vivaperuuk or leave a comment below to let us know 🙂 the first three responses with pics will have a free jar winging its way out to you!

Want to buy aji panca in the UK? We’ve got the paste and the dried chillies in our shop!

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