• Jeff & Jo's

Make Your Own Puerto Rican Pique

Updated: Jul 16

Puerto Rican food is not generally spicy, but that does not mean that a lot of us don't like spicy food. In order to add spice to all of our traditional dishes, we prepare our own hot sauce, known as pique. This is a super easy recipe - add your favorite spicy peppers, vinegar and herbs to a covered container and voila!

Ingredients:


Traditional Pique

Habanero peppers

Thai peppers (bird's eye)

Jalapeno peppers

Whole black peppercorns

Cilantro

Garlic cloves

1 cup vinegar

1 tbs salt


Pineapple Pique

Habanero peppers

Thai peppers (bird's eye)

Jalapeno peppers

Whole black peppercorns

Cilantro

Garlic cloves

1 cup vinegar

1 tbs salt

2 tbs pineapple juice


The first thing you want to do is clean your peppers and then cut them into pieces that will fit in your bottles.


Depending on the size of the bottle you select, you may not even need to cut the peppers, because you can just stuff them whole into your bottle. Here, the opening of my bottlers are about ¾s of an inch, so I’m cutting the bigger habanero peppers in quarters, then the jalapenos in half, and leaving the birds eye chilis whole.



As you are cutting your peppers, you have the option to take out the seeds or leave them in. The seeds pack alot of the pepper’s heat, so if you want a more mild pique, think about taking them out. I’m leaving the seeds in here, just to really spice up my next couple of meals.


Once you’ve got your peppers cut, you are ready to stuff your bottles. Grab the rest of your ingredients, including your cilantro, your garlic, and your peppercorns, and then start adding them to your bottle.



There’s really no science to this step, just try and add an even amount of your different ingredients, so you get a nice, balanced flavor. I like to use a bamboo skewer to help push stuff down into the bottle and then arrange it.


If you use clear bottles like I am here, also consider arranging your peppers so they are visually appealing, highlighting the different pepper colors.


With my first bottle full, I’m going to go ahead and do the same with the second bottle.


Here are the two bottles, full of peppers, garlic, and cilantro. Notice that I left about an inch of space at the top. This is because you want to be able to fully immerse your peppers in the vinegar mixture, so be careful not to overstuff your bottles.



Now on to making our pickling liquid. As I mentioned earlier, I’m going to make two different types of pique. The first one is a very basic recipe, which uses just vinegar and salt. Depending on what size of bottle you use, you may need to make more liquid than I have, but just keep the proportions the same. For each cup of vinegar you use, add 1 tablespoon of salt and stir it vigorously to dissolve all of the salt. One the salt is dissolved, go ahead and pour it into your bottles, until you’ve completely submerged all of the peppers, garlic, and cilantro.



For the second bottle of pique, I’m going to add some pineapple juice to the pickling liquid. So again, you might need to make a slightly different amount of liquid depending on what bottle you use, but the proportions are the same. For each cup of vinegar you need, add 1 tablespoon of salt, and two tablespoons of pineapple puree. Then stir the liquid vigorously to dissolve all of the salt. Once dissolved, add your liquid to your bottle.


Once your bottles are full, place the cap on them and they are good to go. You can use your pique right away, although I think the flavor really takes a couple of days to fully mature. As the peppers sit in the vinegar they will gradually release their flavor, introducing a lot more complex flavors. But honestly, the best way to know what you like is just to keep trying your pique from time to time, as it ages, just to get a sense of how you like it best.



Check out our instructional video, showing how to make this recipe step-by-step HERE.


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