Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Chili Peppers, Ají, of Ecuador

Spicy sauces, hot sauce with tropical fruits, chili pepper in desserts and ice cream.

Shades of red and green chillies, elongated, round and oval.

The Ecuadorian ají or chili pepper shatters the traditional concept of spicy.

Although relative of paprika and chili, this ancestral Amazonian plant distinguishes itself as an accompaniment to main dishes and sweet flavors.

The cultivation of chili pepper, native to Central and South America plant, dates back more than 6,000 years predating even the invention of pottery.

In Ecuador chili pepper has been used in cooking for about 6100 years according to scientific findings.

Before it was thought that the ancestors of the great civilizations of highlands and the Incas and Aztecs were responsible for most agricultural and cultural developments in the region.

Now there is evidence that we owe the cultivation of peppers to the native peoples of lowland tropics of Latin America.

Ají Lojano, Hot Sauce from Loja Province area.

Hot sauce culture

Practically every town in Ecuador has developed its own recipes and secrets for making chili sauce, or ají, the spicy accompaniment of Ecuadorian meals.

The art of Ecuadorian gastronomy is preserved in the recipes and customs passed down orally for generations.

The use of chili flavors in meals depends on the geographic location in the country and it is part of the stories of people and spices their culture with specific flavors.

The popular food and haute cuisine in Ecuador, unlike other countries, has developed sweet dishes with chili sauce incorporating authentic products such as tropical fruits and herbs in season.

The sweetness of banana for example is present and even highlighted and Coastal Andean and Amazonic food.

 Accompanied with lots of rice, plantains, yuca or potatoes with meat or sea food.

The chili is generally used for accompaniment in entrees and soups but if you mix it with pineapple, mango or passion fruit it is an innovation where the spicy hotness enhances the sweet taste of each fruit.

How hot is hot?

The strength of the Ecuadorian chili pepper sauce depends on the species used when it is prepared.

Within the 30 species that exist in the country, the smaller ones are more concentrated and provocative.

There are countless chili sauces for almost every city or province in Ecuador.

Ají de Tomade de Árbol, tree tomato hot sauce, very popular in Quito and the Northern Andean Area of Ecuador.

Tasting the chili is not a matter of courage, but of enjoyment.

The flavors and aromas are activated when crossing the palate, the taste and that nice burning sensation cause pleasure.

Ají, or hot sause, is also a trip into the traditions and history of the places visited.

Surely everyone should be given a chance.

The many ways in which the chili sauce is prepared is not to dull the original flavor of the food, it is not make the flavor disappear with the force of spicy, but to enhance it.


  1. Hello Joanna,
    Here's my reply to your comment at Harvest Lane Cottage.
    "My son's name is Michael Gabriel. Man of God!

    P.S. You came through as a no reply blogger. If you'd like to change that, read this."

    I must confess, I fear chili peppers after some very fiery experiences!

    1. Thank you for the tutorial help, Laura! I hope I did everything correctly now, lol

      Michael is a very beautiful name, and I love the meaning also.

      The good thing about Ecaudorian chili and hot sauce, is that it isn't as fiery as you can find in other countries. Although it depends on the area you are in.
      The hot sauce made from chili at the Pasific Coast is usually very mild and just a bit stronger at the Andes. The chili at the Andes (just the pepper) can be very fiery and some people like to make their hot sauce a bit stronger but that depends on personal preference and nobody makes you to eat it fiery.
      But the chili and hot sauce here in the Amazon region is horribly hot and I can't eat it without crying and coughing. People put enormous amounts of hot sauce to their food and eat the small fiery chilis raw, or make chili stew with white cacao. It's delicious but keeps me burning inside for a week afterwards.

  2. Hi Joanna,
    I've learned so much about Chili Peppers from this wonderful post. I love using peppers and hot sauce in my own cooking as well.
    Thank you so much for enlightening us about the Chili Peppers of Ecuador at the Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Party Blog Hop. I'm pinning and sharing!

  3. Amazing post! I love cooking with chili peppers as long as I don't over-do it. Thanks so much for sharing with Creative Spark Link Party. Hope to see you again this week!