Source for Peruvian aji, other ingredients?
I am looking for a local source for Peruvian ingredients, specifically including chiles such as aji amarillo, aji mirasol, and/or aji rocoto. I have seen at least the amarillo in paste format at McPherson's on Becaon Hill, but the jar I bought spoiled quickly before I could use most of it. According to the cookbook I am using (Gran Cocina Latina), fresh, frozen or dried would be preferable.
Plaza Latina on Aurora Shoreline has the best selection that I know of.
Jars of the paste are easiest to find, though as you note you do need to watch for fuzz. They must not add enough sodium benzoate. :) Mixed sauces, such as one combining passion fruit with amarillo, last longer.
I am partial to the aji panca, the milder (ancho like) dark red kind. I've found that in whole dried and paste.
They have some frozen as well. I've not seen fresh aji panca or amarillo.
Aji rocoto is available in paste, canned whole, and frozen. But JD's produce in Lynnwood (multi-ethnic) also has fresh chile manzana ('apple'), which is essentially the same thing, but from Mexico.
I can confirm paulj's advice on the Peruvian aji at Plaza Latina. I did not find them at first, but in the back of the shop there are several unmarked white freezers where the frozen goods are kept. There are numerous Inca's Food brand frozen products, including aji rocoto and aji amarillo. The frozen rocoto costs less than half of what Mercado Latino charges for the same product. The frozen amarillo was a variant labeled as "escabehe" and consisting of seedless slices of the chiles rather than whole. Fortunately Plaza also had dried aji amarillo of the Amazonas brand. I also scored some frozen peruvian corn and maracuya (passion fruit pulp). Plaza Latina is definitely the best source for Peruvian products that I know of.
Have you tried The Spanish Table? I don't know for sure that they have exactly what you're looking for, but they stock some Latin (/non-Spanish but from Spanish speaking regions) ingredients. Might be worth a phone call if that's a convenient spot to shop.
Mercado Latino in Pike Place Market sells frozen amarillo and rocoto, the Inca's Food brand IIRC. The price is high, $10 for a one pound bag.
They carry the paste at Met Market, I have bought aji amarillo at the Salvadorean Bakery as well. you might also check a Saars? Also, I maintain that anything, and I mean anything, can be found in Kent.