Monday, July 19, 2010

Aji Amarillos At Lily"s Mexican Market

The back of the refrigerator shouldn't be where food goes to die -- but instead a place where a few staples live to spice up your meals.

Stock your fridge with aji amarillo peppers at Lily's Mexican Market in Columbia.  They're spicy.  That surprised me.  I grabbed them on a whim, and I ate the first one out of the jar because it looked like a sweet yellow pepper.  Shocking heat!  Since then, I have used them more to zest up a meal.

Added them to greens and to pasta sauces.  Sprinkled diced pepper over a salad.  Cut them up for tacos.  They're less spicy than jalepenos, but the real value is that that they're sort of preserved in a salty brine.  Not pickled, but they have lasted weeks, and the clean, bright flavor is a great alternative to the smokey chipotle peppers that I also stock up at Lily's.

Aji amarillos are apparently a Peruvian staple.  Great if you wanted to learn traditional dishes, but I recommend them to anyone because they could zip up your own food.  They were a key part of the best crab cakes that I have ever cooked.  You could add the peppers to almost anything -- omelets, sandwiches, hummus -- for something different and hot.

Lily's is one of the great food outlets in Howard County.  Go for some takeout tacos, and you're guaranteed a good trip.  Then check out the shelves for things to buy -- the fresh made tortillas, the cactus for tacos, the different peppers, the sauces, and on.  Click here for all the posts about Lily's Mexican Market.

1 comment:

icolithic said...

Lilly's Tamales are some of the best I've ever had ... and I'm comparing them with Tamales in New Mexico, Texas and Mexico. Heck, Lilly's would give my grandmother competition ... She makes them using slow roasted hog's head and brain (mmm).

I recently visited Azuls (on Snowden PKWY) and sorely disappointed by the food. Their attempt to deconstruct Tamales was a failure and I soon wished that I had gone to Lilly's instead.

Lilly's Taqueria is good enough ... Their moist tamales filled with seasoned chicken make it better. Just the right size to fill you up, they are cooked just right. The masa is not dry or crumbly and has a silky-grainy texture when you bite into it. The seasoned chicken filling is perfect ... stringy but moist and flavored so you don't need any extra salt or salsa.

The only downside to the Tamales is that they sell quickly. Fortunately, you can call in advance to place an order for the weekend!