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Aji Amarillo Chili Variety

Aji Amarillo

The name Aji has its origin with the native Americans. The name “Aji”, for chili, was already mentioned in the diary of the first Columbus trip in 1492. Amarillo is the Spanish word for yellow. Probably Spanish conquistadors named this variety around 1532 by its current variety names. “Aji” for chili and “Amarillo” for its strong, sun-yellow colour.

While the Spanish conquerors did their mischief in the empire of the Incas, Mayas and Aztecs, they provided for the spreading of the different

For a chili plant of the Capsicum baccatum species it grows relatively low. Although the Aji Amarillo remains small at 0.9 to 1.5 meters, it becomes an impressive bush. Harvest maturity Chilies are about 10 cm long with a diameter of 3 to 4 cm. When such a beautiful plant hangs full of sun-yellow chili peppers, it is a fantastic sight. For us, it is one of the most beautiful chili plants on the terrace. Not huge and yet impressive.

Capsicum baccatum

Many chili plants that reach a size of more than 2 meters belonged to the genus Capsicum baccatum. Compared to the other “berry-like” baccatum plants, the growth of the Aji Amarillo is more compact. This impression is reinforced by masses of small leaves which hang close to each other.

Like all chili and paprika plants, the Capsicum baccatum species comes from America. Until the 16th century it was mainly native to the area of today’s Bolivia and Peru. During excavations, archaeologists discovered that chilies were already cultivated by Incas 4,500 years ago.

On the slopes of the Andes, temperatures remain relatively constant throughout the year at around 20 °C due to their geographical location. For this reason, we like to grow Aji’s indoors. In summer, this species stands in its large flower pots on balconies and terraces. A beautiful sight, especially when it carries many ripe chili peppers that shimmer in a pleasant, warm yellow.

Scoville & Sharpness

Aji Amarillo chilli varieties have a medium degree of sharpness. The pods reach about 2,500 to 5,000 Scoville. As with all chilies, this sharpness can vary up and down. You can compare this sharpness well with Jalapeños. Not too sharp but also no children’s birthday party. The taste is also reminiscent of jalapeño pods, only a little more fruity, a touch sweeter and with a clearer pepper note. Hard to describe. The best time to taste it yourself.


Aji Amarillo pods can be processed into first-class sauces, dips, powder and pastes. Their sun-yellow color alone makes them look good to bite into. A South American specialty is Cevice. This is fish cooked in lemon juice. A cooking method completely without heat.

Halibut or turbot have a fine, light meat. The fish is cut into strips about the thickness of the thumb. The whole comes in a bowl and is poured over with lemon juice. Sliced onions are distributed on the fish in many Latin American cuisines. For about 1.5 hours the fish, which must be completely covered with lemon juice, is stored in the refrigerator.

Finally, Cevice is refined with coriander, tomatoes, Rocotos, salt and some sugar. In addition, there are either fresh chili peppers or Amarillo paste. Amarillo Chilipaste is prepared with garlic, cooking oil and onions.

Amarillo chili paste

To make a cup of fresh Amarillo chili paste you need about 8 Aji Amarillo pods. First cut them in half and scrape out their seeds. To peel the peppers easily, it goes for 5 minutes in a lightly simmering water bath. Then drain and rinse with cold water. Now the skin can be removed easily.

But there is a small problem. We cannot remove the skin ourselves with gloves. That means there is nothing else left but to wash the chili fingers thoroughly later. Avoid touching the eye, nose and other sensitive areas for such a long time. Otherwise, it burns hellishly there.


Peeled pods give together with:

2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 clove of garlic
in a kitchen blender. Pulse the blender a few times until you get an even paste. You may need to add some sunflower or corn oil. Finally season with a pinch or two of salt.

Chili powder

In Colombia, fresh Amarillos are also called Aji Escabeche. Dried pods are called “Cusqueno”. From this a hot chili powder with mango aroma is ground. It goes very well with steaks, fish, soups and pasta.

As it is difficult to get the fruits in Europe, it is best to grow your chilies. The harvest takes place in late summer. In the oven or drying device the self harvested fruits can be dried easily. Then put the dried Cusqueno in a coffee grinder or mortar. After grinding together with a dozen grains of rice, the chili powder can be kept for several years. With its indescribable taste, it is guaranteed to be used up more quickly.

Aji Amarillo Plants

The Aji Amarillo is one of the most beautiful chili plants we know. Ok, actually all chili and paprika plants are beautiful. But this plant is a real feast for the eyes. The plant makes an impenetrable impression when fruits and leaves grow close together. It grows about 90 - 150 cm high and has almost the same diameter in the crown.

In their homeland, the Andes in Peru and Bolivia, it won’t get so warm on the mountains. Between 20 and 26 °C the Aji variety seems to feel quite comfortable. It is a perfect houseplant in winter and from May to September for balcony and route. In the house, you probably have to support it with plant light. Chilies need a lot of light.

A powerful plant needs a large tub. We use some with about 40 cm outer dimensions. This corresponds to about 30 liters of volume for the soil. The plant can be moved quickly with a rolling board under the tub. During the first warm days in spring, the chili plant can spend a few hours in the sun on the balcony. But don’t forget that after a long time behind glass, the chili has to build up a sun protection.


For chili growers there are many beautiful, sharp and crisp moments. The rising of the seeds should be one of the beautiful experiences. In a greenhouse the seeds should start to germinate after 8 to 14 days. But it can also take three to four weeks. Ideal are waiters at 24 - 27 °C. Below 20 °C, most chili seeds germinate only very moderately.

The germ duration can also be shortened by soaking in lukewarm chamomile tea. We use diluted lemon juice instead of tea. You can read more about soaking chili seeds here.

As growing substrate we use coconut spring pots. The seeds are pressed in at a depth of about 0.5 - 1 centimeter and covered with soil. After all, chili seeds are dark buckets.

Actually, we are saying here that you should start sowing at the beginning of February. As this is a perennial chili variety which you are guaranteed to overwinter several times during the winter, you can now obtain and plant seeds right away.

With LED plant light and a heatable mini greenhouse, chilies can also be grown well in winter. Then you can go outside in summer. In autumn, you can return to your home and harvest fresh vegetables when there is enough light.


The care is not more complicated than that of other chili varieties. Perhaps the size and that it is a perennial species, it is not considered a beginner chili variety. Be sure to keep a bright location that is sheltered from the wind and warm. A house wall or balcony facing south, for example, is a good place to sit in the sun.

Important for the relatively large chili plant is a sufficiently large pot. Less than 24 cm is scarce. As soon as the root space of chilies is cramped, the capsicum usually ceases to grow above ground. Except for ornamental chilies, a flower pot should hold at least 10 liters of soil.

Chili soil

Good Chili soil is the be-all and end-all in chili breeding. One could almost say: With bad soil you will not win a flower pot. Tomato soil already fulfils the required characteristics quite well. A slightly acid pH value. Good absorption capacity for water, without the water logging arises. Usually coconut fibers are added to the soil, which ensures that there are enough air pockets in the soil structure. If there is no oxygen at the roots of the chilies, they quickly begin to rot and the plant dies soon.


Fertilizer is only applied when the first real leaves have formed. For rooms and balcony plants we like to use long-term granulate. This is clean and does not smell. After you have germinated seeds and formed more leaves, the Aji seedlings are repotted. In the new pot, soil is then already provided with long-term fertilizer. This is enough for at least one year, depending on the type of fertilizer.

Particularly ingenious granules release the right nutrients at the right time. Initially more nitrogen, later more phosphorus and potassium during flowering. On the balcony, we still have good experience with coffee grounds for fertilizing. But sometimes you notice some smell when it goes under the indoor plant lamp again in autumn.


About 80 – 90 days after flowering, the chilies begin to change color from green to yellow to orange. Only at the very end do you see the first yellow shimmer on the green pod. But then it goes fast and after a few days the pod is yellow. Usually we wait another three to five days before we cut the stem on the first third of the plant.

Most of the yellow Aji chilies were harvested in September, although we already started to grow the variety in January. If you want to grow these chilies outside, you should start early in the year. March might be too late.


Capsicum baccatum can easily grow five years old. Only a few chili species can withstand light frost{: class=”chili-link”. Aji Amarillo is definitely not one of them. If the temperatures remain around 15 °C for several days, the plant no longer feels comfortable. Then it is time to bring the bush into your home.

At first, we received many chillies shortly afterwards. The reason was a few spider mites and aphids, which did little damage to the plant. But in the house the Bister multiply suddenly. After a few days, the plant withers and only then do you notice the many fine threads on the plant. If you then act quickly, it is not lost yet.

However, we water with neem oil a few days before the plant is brought in. So the pests don’t even come into the house to spread there. Since we have been using neem oil, we no longer have any problems with it.

Only five years ago we let a few chili plants hibernate under fluorescent tubes. Meanwhile, LED lamps have become quite cheap. These also do not consume much electricity. That’s why we like to give such a lamp to the most beautiful plants in winter. The advantage is that we can harvest more chilies.

Otherwise you can also let plants hibernate on a low flame. The best way to do this is to cut the chilies back.

Variety name Aji Amarillo
Species Capsicum baccatum
Origin Peru, Bolivia
Plant Size 90 - 150 cm
Maturing time 80 - 90 days
Scoville 5,000 SHU
Germination period 8 - 14 days
Germination temperature 24 - 27 °C
Planting distance min. 70 cm

The Aji Amarillo is a chilli variety commonly grown in Peru. "Amarillo" means "yellow" in Spanish. "Aji" is the South American word for "chilli". An absolutely fitting name for this intense yellow chilli. Aji Amarillo chillies taste fruity and have a sour paprika note.

In Peru, aji amarillo is often made into a paste that is served with salsa and ceviche, a national fish dish. Aji Amarillos are also eaten with many recipes involving potatoes. The paste can also be mixed well in salad dressings and dips to complete the flavour.