How to Make Pikliz

December 4, 2014

Many Haitian dishes are not complete without “pikliz”. I’m a Southern gal and cole slaw is a common side dish where I’m from. Well, pikliz looks similar to cole slaw but less creamy and a lot more spicy! Haitians use it as a relish to spice up their dish, taking as much as they want to add some flavor and zing to their rice, meat, and veggies. It’s commonly eaten with fried pork and fried plantains—one of my favorite dishes! I love eating it on top of fried plantains, fried breadfruit, fried sweet potatoes, fried akra… you get the drift.

Here’s the basic Pikliz recipe, though you can find many variations online.

1/2 medium head of green cabbage
2 large carrots
1 oz shallots
1/4 cup onions
3 thinly sliced Habanero or Scotch bonnet peppers
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup white vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper

*Some common additions: a pinch of ground cloves, shredded turnip, thinly green and red peppers

Shred the vegetables into very thin slices about 2 to 3 inches long. Mix them together and sprinkle the salt and pepper over them. Remove the seeds from the Habanero peppers, slice them into thin circle slices, and place them into the freshly squeezed lime juice. (Be careful handling the hot peppers!) Mix everything together and enjoy!

In Haiti this dish is often made and served fresh. But many recipes recommend that you pickle it for at least 4 hours. Simpy pack all the vegetables into a glass jar, alternating layers of vegetables and a few slices of pepper and lime juice. Pour the white vinegar over everything to cover the vegetables. Cover the jar and let it pickle for at least 4 hours. Pikliz is at its peace after 1 or 2 days of pickling. Refrigerate it if kept more than one day.

As I mentioned, the internet offers several variations to this popular Haitian side dish. You can’t really mess up this recipe. Use whatever amount of hot peppers you want. Some people like onions in their pikliz, some don’t. Make it your own! And enjoy!!

For a good fried plantain recipe, click here.

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