Pique is an interesting hot sauce. You'll find it in Puerto Rico - it's a national staple there, with a different version practically for every household. It is one of those hot sauce recipes that defies any specific recipe because it can vary quite a bit. Many of the ingredients come down to personal preference of the household serving it up. It is not a blended hot sauce. At its most basic, it is a number of ingredients floating in vinegar. Those ingredients, in particular, chili peppers, infuse the vinegar with heat and flavor, which you can use to dash over anything you desire.
I've seen versions with or without lime juice, splashes of rum, culantro leaves, sugar, onion, pineapple chunks or other fruit, peppercorns. So many possible ingredients. The traditional chili pepper used is the Aji Caballero. You basically chop up the larger ingredients, drop them all into a container, and cover it with your vinegar and other liquids, then let it sit anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks. The vinegar solution will infuse and you're good to go. Store it in the fridge if you'd like.
My particular version here incorporates a variety of 7-Pots, Aji Pineapples, and some Moranga Reds, which are a hybrid grown in my garden this year. I have some excellent heat from the 7-Pots and Morangas, and some nice sweet flavor from the ajis. I like this particular version as it helpls to preserve my peppers. We had such a huge harvest this year - YES! YES! - that preserving them is the best way to go. And isn't it nice to have a good hot sauce on hand for pretty much anything? Enjoy, and feel free to mix up the recipe with fun new ingredients!
Here are some answers to the most common questions I get about this and other hot sauce recipes:
How long will this sauce keep? It should keep a few months easily in the fridge, or even longer. It's all about the acidity. To be technical, target level ph for shelf stable foods is below 4.6 ph, but should probably be lower for home cooks, around 4.0 or so, to account for errors. I have not measured the ph of this sauce, but I won't have it around very long anyway. If you're concerned, add more vinegar to lower the ph.
Where'd you get that sauce bottle? I find them locally sometimes, but I also order through Amazon. Here is a link to some bottles I like (affiliate link, my friends!): Swing Top Glass Bottles, 8.5 Ounce - Set of 4. If you like the smaller bottles that most hot sauce makers use, here's another link: Hot Sauce Bottles, 5 Oz - 24 Pack.
Can I process this hot sauce for longer storage? Absolutely. Just be sure to use proper canning/jarring safety procedures.
What should I do with hot sauce? Aside from drizzling it over anything you please, here's a post I did about How to Cook with Hot Sauce. As if you need even MORE reasons to eat hot sauce. LOL. I hope you find it helpful!
Pique - Puerto Rican Hot Sauce
- 12 small chili peppers/About 4 ounces – I used a variety of 7-Pots, Ajis Pineapples, and Muranga Reds
- 2 cloves garlic, slightly crushed
- 10 black peppercorns
- 4 cilantro stems
- Squeeze of lime juice
- White vinegar to fill the jar, about a half cup or so
- Remove the pepper stem. Slice the peppers in half or into quarters, small enough to fit into the jar or container you are using.
- Stuff the peppers into an 8-ounce bottle or jar.
- Add cloves, peppercorns, cilantro stems and lime juice.
- Fill the container the rest of the way up with vinegar, leaving a bit of head space.
- Cap and give it a good shake.
- Let it sit out anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks to allow the heat and flavor to develop. Refill as needed with more vinegar and peppers.
- Shake it onto everything!