Among the fiery habanero family, there are a few mild versions with little to no heat but with all that delicious fruity, citrusy flavor. Like regular habaneros, they are common in Central America and the Caribbean, and are used in many popular dishes there.
Aji Dulce, literally “Sweet chile” in Spanish, has the shape and size of a habanero but it has only a hint of the blistering heat of its siblings. The Aji Dulce has the same distinct fruity aroma as habaneros, and maintains the same complex and interesting citrus flavor, so it is perfect for those who love the flavor of habaneros but can’t quite handle the heat. (But we don’t know anyone like that around here!) The chile pods mature from green to orange to red, and grow to 1-2 inches in length and about 1 inch in width with a tapered shape. There is also a yellow version, called the Aji Dulce Amarillo.
The Venezuelen Sweet Chile Pepper is another sweet version of the habanero with little heat and a smoky flavor. It is most commonly used in the popular Venezuelan Christmas dish “Hallaca,” a mixture of chopped meats, raisins, capers and olives, wrapped in cornmeal dough and then in plantain leaves and boiled.
The NuMex Suave Red and NuMex Suave Orange Chiles were created by the Chili Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University as an extremely mild version of the habanero. They are rated at only around 800 Scovilles, for a smooth touch of spice, but have all the delicious citrus flavor and aroma of habaneros. Perfect for those who love the flavor but don’t want the heat, especially in salsas, but in other cooking as well. They grow to about 1- 1 ½” in length.
The Trinidad Perfume Chili Pepper (0-500 Scovilles) is a mild chili pepper with very little to no heat. It is a habanero type and produces pods similar to a typical orange habanero pepper, about 1 to 1.5 inches in length and 1.25 inches wide. They mature from green to a bright yellow color. When cooked, they give off a perfume-like scent, hence the name. In flavor, they have a mild citrus-like taste, similar to a habanero, but with smoky undertones.