If you like your food hot and spicy then you need some Pique in your life! There are two types of Puerto Rican pique: pique verde (Puerto Rican green hot sauce) and pique criollo. Pique verde is usually made with green Caballero hot peppers, green Cubanelle peppers, culantro, cilantro, onion, garlic, olive oil, and lime juice. On the other hand, pique criollo usually consists of Caballero hot peppers (and or Habanero peppers), pineapple, vinegar, oregano, peppercorns, garlic and or onions. Today’s recipe is an example of pique criollo, also known as Pique boricua de botella.
It has always been said that real Puerto Rican pique uses the Ají caballero at its base. The ají caballero is a hot chili pepper that stands vertically or upright on the plant (unlike other peppers that hang down). If you don’t have ají caballeros you could always substitute it with habanero chile.
Many people like to let the pique sit for weeks or months to make it hotter and spicier!
Here’s the Pique (Puerto Rico Hot Sauce) recipe compliments of LaGasse:
Serving: Makes approximately 13-16 ounces
12 ounces white vinegar
2 slices of Pineapple rind (you may use 2 ounces of the juice instead)
4 Garlic cloves, sliced in half
4 Ajices caballero (or habanero)
4 cayenne peppers, whole
10 peppercorns, cut in half
4 sprigs of Cilantro (also known as chinese parsley)
2 recao leaves (if available)- also known as culantro
4 TBSP Olive Oil (2 ounces)
Pinch of Oregano
Pinch of Salt
1- Carefully cut the ajices in half. If you like it hot, don’t discard the seeds.
(Wash your hands carefully after handling the ajices or the cayenne peppers!)
2- Cut the pineapple rind into 6 pieces that are each: 1 inch by 2 inches. So each piece is approximately the size of 2 regular postage stamps, side by side.
3- In a small saucepan, simmer the ajices in the olive oil for approximately one minute on medium low heat. This brings up the hotness of the ajices without having to let it sit for months. Let it cool.
4- Place the rest of the ingredients in a jar, or an old salad dressing bottle. The large kind will probably accommodate the entire recipe. If you need to use two jars or bottles, divide the ingredients into each one.
5- Add the ajices and the olive oil to the jar(s) or bottle(s). Shake and let it sit for at least a day before using.
Remember… the longer it sits, the hotter it gets! ENJOY!