Chili Pepper Madness

June 06, 2016

Xni-Pec - Habanero Salsa

Xni-Pec (Dog’s Nose) - Habanero Salsa - Recipe Xni-Pec (Dog’s Nose) - Habanero Salsa - Recipe

Xni-Pec is a Yucatan salsa made with fresh habanero peppers, tomato, onion, sour orange juice and more. It packs some heat, and as the name implies, might make you sweat like a dog's nose.

Sweat like a dog's nose you may, my friends. The fresh habanero peppers in this salsa makes it quite hot, but addictively so. It is pleasant, really, as any fresh salsa can be and you can practically make it with ingredients straight out of your garden. It is quite similar to pico de gallo in both composition and flavor, though quite a bit hotter and more of the typical habanero tropical flavor. The name says it all. Xni Pec, pronounced "Shnee Pek", translates to "Dog's Nose" or "Dog's Snout" in Mayan, which implies you will sweat like a dog's nose when you eat it. I can verify the truth in this statement.

Xni Pec Habanero Salsa - Recipe

I made this salsa on Saturday and snapped a photo, then posted it on Facebook, sharing how gorgeous it looked - and truly, it DOES look gorgeous, doesn't it? I received a comment from my neighbor to bring it to her party the next day for her son's 8th grade graduation - Congrats, Jacob! While it was a hit at the party - it received many compliments - I think it was mostly a hit with Jacob and his young friend as they proceeded to devour half of the bowl together. They enjoyed the flavor at first, but as the chow down session wore on, both were beading with sweat on their foreheads and attempting to waft the fumes of heat from their mouths. Luckily there was a bit of whipped cream for them at the end of the evening to help control the burn, but I'm happy to say I believe I've converted a few more in the world to chileheads. Yes! Goal accomplished.

Xni-Pec (Dog’s Nose) - Habanero Salsa - Recipe

You can serve this salsa recipe up right away, as it is quite awesome when fresh, or let it sit covered in the refrigerator at least a couple hours or better yet, overnight, to allow the flavors to develop, just as you would do with a pico de gallo. I like it both ways. Serve this as an appetizer along with chips, or as a garnish for tacos or tostados. I often like to spoon salsa over fish or chicken for a healthier but big-on-flavor meal choice. Xni Pec will certainly deliver on those accounts. I hope you enjoy it as much as the soon-to-be freshmen did!

Xni-Pec (Dog’s Nose) - Habanero Salsa - Recipe

Patty's Perspective: The citrus in this salsa really tamed the other ingredients to my own personal tastes. Sometimes raw onion can be harsh, but not so with this recipe. It was quite hot, but delicious.

Xni-Pec (Dog’s Nose) - Habanero Salsa - Recipe


  • 3 habanero peppers, chopped (or more, as desired)
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh sour orange juice, or 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice + 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice (as a variation, try grapefruit juice)
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • Salt to taste

Cooking Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix well. Taste and adjust for salt.
  2. Cover and refrigerate overnight for the flavors to mingle and develop. Serve!

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  • Comment Link Terry Horton September 07, 2017 posted by Terry Horton

    Jamie, you got a bad habanero. Or you have a boken taster. :-) Good habaneros are the fruitiest of pepper, something like a peach-mango, It's a shame they're so hot, really, as the heat tends to get all of one's attention.

  • Comment Link Colton July 24, 2016 posted by Colton

    Jamie, I can appreciate your comment only due to your tone of respect and appreciation for this great recipe and the heat of habanero pepper, despite your lack of love for the taste of them. I personally am shocked by your statement regarding the flavour of the habanero having the worst taste of any food you've ever eaten...was the worst thing you've ever eaten really, really delicious?

    Growing up eating foods with chillies and spices from all corners of the world, I am almost unable to eat anything bland without a side of hot sauce or something flavourful and spicy to kick it up a notch. I definitely have tried a few different peppers In my life.

    Habaneros happen to be one of my favourite peppers in the world - the smell, the flavour, the colour, I love it all. Fresh habaneros in Mexico and varieties of salsa incorporating them are probably some of my all time favourite treats and first on my list whenever I find myself there. I also particularly enjoy dried habaneros in pasta dishes. It only takes about one half of a dried pepper to release a spicy explosion of flavour into a tomato, oil or cream based sauce. Highly recommended. Of course there are pickled and oil preserved habaneros which you can add the peppers, or oil of, to almost anything for an instant kick. My heart still remains with fresh habanero salsas. I even enjoy a fresh habanero or two to crunch on as a garnish to a lunchtime snack when the ingredients for the salsa are nowhere to be found...delicious when you're addicted, but not recommended.

    So with that said, here's my shot at answering your question. No, I don't think that the heat of the habanero is what gets it through the door of many delicious recipes and that the flavour is viewed as a necessary evil. There are many peppers that are spicier than the habanero, some of which I could understand one disliking the taste of, but wanting the intense heat from.

    If habaneros are only used in your world for their heat and the flavour is not thoroughly enjoyed, I would suggest finding a spicy Italian or Chinese chili oil, or related pepper to kick up your dishes.

    Save the habaneros for me.

  • Comment Link Jamie June 11, 2016 posted by Jamie

    Habanero peppers definitely bring heat to any recipe if hot is what you're looking for. But for the life of me, I cannot get over how awful they taste, they may have the worst taste of any food I've ever eaten. This recipe looks great, as the look of others with habanero, but the taste of a habanero is just plain nasty! Does the heat get people past that flavor?

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