Pique is a style of Puerto Rican hot sauce made with peppers, vinegar, garlic, oregano, and peppercorns. It requires just 10 minutes of prep, and a few days on the counter to develop maximum flavor.
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While Puerto Rican cuisine isn't known for being particularly spicy, many of the island's signature dishes are complimented well with a good quality hot sauce.
Here's everything you will need to make pique :
- chile peppers (can be ajíes caballeros, jalapeños, habaneros, ajis pineapples, or a blend of your favorite peppers)
- garlic, peeled & smashed
- fresh oregano
- whole peppercorns
- white vinegar
See recipe card for quantities.
Prep the peppers. If using larger peppers, start by slicing the peppers in half and removing the seeds (optional).
Hint: For a spicier sauce, you can keep the seeds in the peppers.
Next, chop the peppers into pieces small enough to fit into the jar you plan to bottle the pique in. Make sure to use gloves when handling peppers to prevent spicy hands for the rest of the day.
I opted to simply slice the top off of my peppers because the variety I used is already so small.
Combine. Add the peppers, garlic, oregano, peppercorns, salt and vinegar to your jar. Make sure to leave an inch or two of space at the top of the bottle. This is important as the sauce is fermented and may need some room to bubble up.
Seal and shake the bottle to get everything mixed together.
To make a more traditional red hot sauce, simply blend all the ingredients and strain through a mesh strainer before bottling and fermenting.
Store. Let the pique sit on your countertop for a few days before using on whatever you like.
Fun Add Ins
There are many add ins that will add a unique flavor to your pique .
Some of my favorites are:
- Cilantro - A small handful of these fresh herbs adds a great deal of flavor without much effort.
- Lime Juice - A squeeze of lime juice takes the vinegar flavor and adds depth to it.
- Bay Leaves - Bay leaves are known for their subtle but savory flavor, and they do a great job complimenting the flavors in pique if desired.
What to Eat it With
As mentioned above, pique adds a wonderful kick when used as a topping. Here are some of my favorite Puerto Rican recipes to use it on:
- Sofrito eggs
- Arroz con gandules
- Arroz con pollo
- Habichuelas guisadas
- Habichuelas negras
Check out the Puerto Rican recipe archive to see which dishes you'd like to use your hot sauce on!
Store Bought Pique
If you don't have the time to make your own, grab a bottle of store bought pique!
You will need a bottle to store your sauce in.
I like reusing old hot sauce bottles or olive oil bottles, but it's really important to use a clear glass that you can clean 100% before reusing.
I like using bottles with a narrow neck as they are easier to pour the sauce onto dishes without any of the solid peppers, peppercorns, or garlic cloves coming out.
This hot sauce keeps well on the countertop, because of the fermentation thanks to vinegar.