The Amarillo chilli originates from Peru, and is one of the most important ingredients in the cooking of that country. Its name comes from the Spanish word for ‘yellow’, this being the colour of the fresh pepper – a deep yellow, bordering on orange.
Amarillo is a medium hot chilli, giving a lasting, rounded heat that is not abrasive, and it has a lovely, fruity flavour with a touch of sweetness in its dried or powdered form. It is a very good alternative to habanero chilli for those who do not enjoy very strong chillies, and it works particularly well with chicken and seafood. In South American cuisine it is often combined with cumin, annato and oregano as an all-purpose seasoning.
Another affinity Amarillo has is with anything pickled, as its fruity flavour combines beautifully with the acidity of vinegar. For this reason it is commonly used to make chilli sauce in its native Peru.
Heat level – 4