Aji Chirel – Pepper Type, Scoville, Flavor, Uses

What is Aji Chirel?

Aji Chirel is a rare C. Chinense pepper from Venezuela. It’s very hot and the pods are very soft and squishy. Despite the uncertainty on its species, upon close inspection, it seems the Aji Chirel is a Chinense.  The pant features like leaves and flowers appear to be Chinense but the fruit is more like peppers from Capsicum Baccatum species but they have Chinense flavor in dominance.

The pods are thin walls and squishy, about 5 cm long and 1.5-2 cm wide. They start out green and end up a bright red on maturing.

Unfortunately, this little-known pepper isn’t much discussed and there isn’t any clarity on even the basic facts about Aji Chirel pepper a.k.a aji chirere.

Key Facts In A Gist

  • Species: Capsicum Chinense
  • Origin: Venezuela
  • Spiciness: Hot – About 50,000 SHU
  • Size: 4 cm long and 2 cm wide
  • Texture: Fleshy and soft with thin-walled skin
  • Color: Changes from green to bright red on maturing
  • Flavor: Sweet and spicy and has some close similarities to Serrano pepper

The plant grows about one meter tall in a pot but in the natural wild it grows still wider and taller.

Aji is the Spanish name for chili but in Caribbean history, “aji” had different names such as asi, axi, aje, agi et cetera. However, the name “chili” or “chilli” began to be used more popularly instead of aji. Finally, the name “chili” became widely accepted term for all types of peppers.  Today, the Spanish-speaking countries use the name “aji” for chilies.

How Hot Is Aji Chirel?

Aji Chirel pepper is small in size but it packs a lot of punch. The heat level of Chirel is similar to Aji Amarillo. It has a high pungency that lingers in the mouth and throat for a couple of minutes. This Venezuelan chili has a heat that can reach up to 50,000 SHU. When compared, Chirel is 10 to 20 times hotter than common Jalapeno pepper which has an average of 5,000 SHU on the Scoville Scale.

Aji Chirel Flavor And Uses

Chirel pepper has a sweet Chinense flavor without the earthy taste. Peppers from C. chinense varieties are well known for their unique flavors and many have exceptional heat. Like the other Aji peppers, sweet and fruity flavor makes this chili flavorful and taste. Above, it’s one of the hottest peppers among several varieties of Aji peppers. Some say that Aji Chirel is a lot similar to Serrano in the taste despite being hotter and spicier than serrano. Aji Chirel is a rare chili with minimal uses in Venezuelan cuisines. It works great in hot soups, sauces, stews, and salsa. Some prefer to use it in condiments like the famous Venezuelan Mojo Sauce and Picante sauce. This chili being hot and spicy, it can be used in any hot dishes, raw or cooked.  If you want a spicy Fosforera, Lengua en Salsa, Sancocho, or Pisca Andina, Aji Chirel could be a nice addition to them.

Other Varieties Of Aji Peppers

There are many different strains of Peruvian and South American aji peppers and here are the links to some of the most popular aji peppers: