Puerto Rican ajicitos
|Origin||Latin America and the Caribbean|
Ají dulce, ají cachucha, quechucha, ajicito, or 'ají gustoso" is any of a variety of sweet perennial peppers found in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is most widely known in Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Venezuela, where it refers to a specific native variety of Capsicum chinense that is related to the habanero but with a much milder, smoky flavor. In the English-speaking Caribbean, it is known as seasoning pepper and is essential to a variety of traditional dishes.
Meanings of names
In South American Spanish ají means "chili pepper" and dulce means "sweet," so the name translates to "sweet chili pepper." Cachucha is a Latin American word for cap, so ají cachucha means "cap chili pepper" and refers to its cap-like shape. Gustoso means tasty, so ají gustoso translates to "tasty chili pepper". Ajicito is the diminutive of ají and translates to "little chili pepper."
Use in cooking
In Venezuela, ají dulce is a key ingredient in the national dish, pabellón criollo.
In Puerto Rico where it is called ají dulce or ajicito, it is grown commercially and used for sauces, such as recaíto, sofrito, and mojito isleño, other fish or meat sauces, as well as stews, rice, and other local dishes.
- Mangan, Frank; Barros, Zoraia. "Ají dulce". World Crops. UMass Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment. Retrieved 26 July 2016.