The Caribbean is flooded with pepper sauces and condiments of all kinds as it’s simply part of our culinary culture. The textures, heat level, ingredients, ways of preserving and overall vibrancy of them all are unique to the maker and individual island. In Trinidad and Tobago you’ll find a lot of chutneys and amchars, while in Barbados you’ll hear the locals boast about their peppersauce. As someone who consider myself an aficionado of anything hot and spicy, it must be said that Haitian Pikliz is at the top of my list when it comes to spicy condiments.
The slight crunch of the vegetables, the heat from the thinly sliced scotch bonnet peppers and the flavors the vinegar (takes on) which is use to bring it all together is just outstanding (after marinating for about a week or so).
This recipe is dedicated to the beautiful people of Haiti.
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 large carrot
1 cup bell pepper (green, orange, red)
6 scotch bonnet peppers
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups vinegar (see note)
1/2 lime juice
* 4 cloves (traditionally used)
Note: Add enough vinegar to cover the ingredients in the storage container. Allow to marinate for about 5 days before use. I was out of cloves, but it’s a traditional ingredient used in making this lovely pickle, so I would recommend using.
This is a very simple recipe to put together as it involves a couple steps and some patience (to marinate). Start off by slicing the cabbage very thinly, same for the all the other ingredients. You may be tempted to use a food processor, but I would suggest you don’t. The food processor may overwork the vegetables and you won’t get that unique size/shape pikliz is supposed to have. Grate the carrot and diced the garlic very fine.
Place all the sliced ingredient sin a large bowl .. large enough so you can easily mix everything easily without spilling all over the place. Also mix in the salt, pepper corns and cloves.
Get a fairly large glass bottle and pack in everything, then all you have to do is top with the vinegar, cover and set aside to marinate. You can certainly begin using right away, but if you give it about five days to marinate and really take on the flavors of everything you’ll be rewarded with the best pikliz you’ve ever had.
Since we used vinegar as the base, it will act as a preservative so you don’t have to worry about it going bad if you don’t store it in the fridge. However, if you do store it in the fridge it can last months. But be aware that some the heat will be lost the longer it stays in the fridge. Now if only I had some Griot to accompany this Pikliz!