Topara Organica produces organic aji chilies, purple corn, lucuma and yuca in the beautiful green region of Ica in Peru. They have made it their mission to cultivate and produce products that represent the rich culinary traditions of Peru while restoring their land and strengthening their local community. Topara, owned by the Bederski family, supplies Zócalo with all of those gorgeous, colorful aji chilies that make up our pastes– in cherry red (aji limo), deep red (aji panca) and brilliant yellow (aji amarillo). Topara has the only certified organic nursery in Peru, and is a champion for organic farming practices through mentorship with neighboring farms and participating in worker exchanges to share knowledge and resources. Outstanding practices result in an outstanding product – and we think you’ll agree that our Zócalo Aji Pastes are the perfect example. They range from mild to spicy, with the mildest being aji panca. Aji amarillo is moderately spicy, and aji lomo packs the greatest spice punch.
Aji chilies are a staple in Peruvian cuisine, and are used in sauces to flavor meat, poultry, fish and rice. One of the most well-known and adored dishes using aji paste is Papas a la Huancaína. A cheesy sauce with garlic, onions and aji amarillo is poured over potatoes and served – Peruvian comfort food! Another beloved dish is Aji de Gallina (aji chicken), a simple yet delicious combination of shredded chicken served with an aji amarillo sauce over potatoes, boiled eggs and black olives.
We’ve decided to share a simple recipe using a sauce made with aji amarillo on roast chicken. It’s great for an easy Saturday night dinner. The chicken requires little attention – a few hours in the oven, and is served with a flavorful sauce whose spiciness you can vary by using more or less of the aji paste.