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.
Yucatan Habanero Salsa - "Xni-Pec"
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.
I made this salsa on a 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.
Let's talk about how to make Xni Pec, shall we?
Xni Pec Ingredients
- Habanero Peppers. Habaneros are key to this dish for their fiery heat and citrusy flavor.
- Tomato. Juicy Roma tomatoes are great here.
- Onion. I'm using white onion.
- Sour Orange Juice. Sour orange juice is a unique ingredient that makes this dish special. If you can't find it, use fresh lime juice + fresh orange juice (as a variation, try grapefruit juice).
- Fresh Chopped Cilantro.
- Salt. To personal taste.
How to Make Xni Pec (Habanero Salsa) - the Recipe Method
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix well. Taste and adjust for salt. Watch out for the punch of initial heat!
Cover and refrigerate overnight for the flavors to mingle and develop. Serve!
Boom! Done! Your habanero salsa is ready to serve. Get ready to sweat, my friends. Xni-Pec truly delivers in the heat department. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
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!
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.
Try Some of My Other Popular Salsa Recipes
- Habanero Salsa
- Fresh Mango Salsa
- Salsa Criolla - Argentinian Salsa
- Homemade Picante Sauce
- Salsa Roja
- Salsa Verde
- Fresh Ghost Pepper Salsa
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
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
- Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix well. Taste and adjust for salt.
- Cover and refrigerate overnight for the flavors to mingle and develop. Serve!
NOTE: This recipe was updated on 6/3/22 to include new information and video. It was originally published on 6/6/16.
I tried it with fresh grapefruit juice and fresh lime juice. It worked out great! Definitely gave it some nice tang and extra bitterness.
Great video, Mike, and great recipe: the flavor of the habanero, mixed with tangy citrus and the freshness of cilantro makes xni-pec a wonderful companion for nachos!!
Mike Hultquist says
Thanks so much, Jérémie! Yes, I really love the overall flavor of this very simple dish. Awesome.
I doubled the recipe and substituted for grapefruit because I couldn't find sour oranges. I sampled a bite before refridgerating over night. I can already tell it's going to be amazing by just that one bite.
Mike Hultquist says
Yes, so good! I hope you love it, Matt!
Hollis Ramsey says
OMG, I haven’t seen a Xni-Pec recipe in ages! This one sounds just perfect. But I can’t get hold of fresh or dried habaneros OR sour orange juice (which sounds like exactly what would really bring out the FLAVOR of the habanero), so Idk what to do [sad-face emoji]. If not for the pandemic quarantine, I’d haunt farmers’ markets for these ingredients, but now?
Do you have any suggestions for recipes that would work well with the Xni-Pec salsa (other than your brief comments, above)?
Also, poor Jamie, who can’t get past the heat to the fabulous flavors in the habanero. But let’s get real — Most people who don’t grow up with hot foods aren’t able to get past the heat. I said MOST. Not ALL.
p.s. My favorite color is orange and I’m considering a post-pandemic orange habanero tattoo on the back of my right wrist so I can wear a habanero on my sleeve. I thought about wearing it on my heart but then I’d need a mirror to see it.
Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness says
It' definitely a great one, Hollis. Nice and spicy. I usually make it for parties for those who like to heat things up. Goes with so many different things! Toss some onto your pizza for hot and cool touch!
Terry Horton says
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.
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 freshhabanero 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.
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?