For Those Who Like it Hot: Pikliz!

A jar of pikliz

Courtesy of Mirta Yurnet-Thomas

Pikliz is an extremely hot mix of pickled scotch bonnet peppers and shredded veggies with which Haitians flavor their dishes. Every Haitian kitchen’s cupboard or refrigerator has pikliz . It is typically passed around at mealtime so that one can spoon out the liquid and sprinkle it over one’s food.

A jar of pikliz

Pikliz is often used to finish sauces and soups.  Usually, only the liquid is withdrawn.  For some recipes, the carrots, cabbage and onions are also taken, but Haitian cooks call it all “pikliz.”  The hot peppers are never removed. For those recipes that call for extra heat, fresh green Scotch bonnet peppers are added.


For 1 quart, or 50 servings


6 Scotch bonnet peppers
2 cups thinly sliced or shredded cabbage
1/2 cup thinly sliced or shredded carrots
1/4 cup thinly sliced or shredded onion
1/4 cup green peas (frozen)
4 whole cloves
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
8 to 10 peppercorns (optional)
3 cups vinegar


Snip off the stems of the peppers. Cut each pepper into 4 pieces, and keep the seeds.

Place the hot peppers, cabbage, carrots, onion, green peas, cloves, salt, and peppercorns in a quart-size jar that can be well sealed.

Pour in the vinegar.

Close the jar tightly and let sit for at least 24-48 hours before serving.

After you start using the pikliz, refrigerate it. It lasts for months.

Courtesy: Mirta Yurnet-Thomas

Mirta Yurnet-Thomas is an attorney originally from Puerto Rico and married to a Haitian. She spent the summers of her childhood on the family farm picking fresh fruits and vegetables, helping feed the livestock, and watching the men and women prepare local dishes and drinks. After failing to find a Haitian cookbook in the U.S., with her in-laws’ help, she documented the favorite recipes from family and friends, and this became the popular cookbook “A Taste of Haiti” (Hippocrene Books, 2003).

Dady Chery

About Dady Chery

Dr. Dady Chery is a Haitian-born journalist, playwright, essayist, and poet. She is the author of "We Have Dared to Be Free: Haiti's Struggle Against Occupation." Her broad interests encompass science, culture, and human rights. She writes extensively about Haiti and world issues such as climate change and social justice. Her many contributions to Haitian news include the first proposal that Haiti’s cholera had been imported by the UN, and the first story describing Haiti’s mineral wealth.

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