Passion Fruit-Aji Sauce

This chile pepper originated in the mountains of South America and Mexico. Because of their appearance they are often called “Manzano” which means apple chile. This pepper can only be grown in these regions at elevations above 5000′ therefore making these very rare in the US.These chiles are unique in that they are the only ones that have black seeds. They are very hot and meaty. Rocotos are chopped and used in salsas or sometimes stuffed with cheese and meat and then baked.

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1 cup passion fruit juice
2 fresh rocoto chile peppers, seeded and sliced
1/4 cup minced fresh ginger
5 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup aji panca paste


Combine the passion fruit juice, rocoto pepper strips, ginger and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture is the consistency of honey, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until opaque, about 1-1/2 minutes. Add the aji panca paste** and continue to cook, stirring, for an additional 3 minutes.

Stir the aji panca mixture into the passion fruit mixture.

This recipe is from chef Emmanuel Piqueras Villaran of Andina Restaurant in Portland, Oregon.

**Aji panca paste can be found in specialty markets.