Spiced Vinegar

(Vinagre/Pique)

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The Puerto Rican cuisine is flavorful due to our sofrito and condiments.  However, we also prepare a spicy vinegar (hot sauce) which is placed on the table when a meal is served.   Therefore, you can drizzle the Spiced Vinegar (Vinagre/Pique) over your food for a spicy hot flavor and aroma.   In our culture, Vinagre and Pique are two interchangeable words when referring to the Spiced Vinegar.

This is a very simple recipe.  You basically soak the hot chili peppers in vinegar with herbs, spices and pineapple rinds for approximately 7 days.  The longer it soaks the hotter the Spiced Vinegar (Vinagre/Pique) will become.  In our culture, you will find many different versions of Spiced Vinegar (Vinagre/Pique), depending on your preference of ingredients or taste.

A Little Bit of Food History!

We prepare the Spiced Vinegar (Vinagre/Pique) with hot chili peppers known as ajíes caballeros (capsicum frutescens).   The ajíes caballeros are the hottest peppers native to Puerto Rico.  The Taíno Indians cultivated the ajíes caballeros.   These hot chili peppers (ajíes caballeros) stand vertically on the plant when most peppers hang down from the branches.  The plant can grow from 3 feet to 4 feet tall.  The hot chili peppers on the plant will turn yellow, then orange and a bright red color when it matures.

A picture of the hot chili peppers (ajíes caballeros) standing vertically on the branch of the plant.  

Let’s Prepare the Hot Chili Peppers (Ajíes Caballeros)!

This recipe calls for twenty (20) hot chili peppers (ajíes caballeros).  It is important to wear gloves when handling hot chili peppers (ajíes caballeros).  Rinse the hot chili peppers (ajíes caballeros) and place only 5 on a cutting board.

Gently pull the stems from the 5 hot chili peppers (ajíes caballeros).  

Cut all 5 hot chili peppers (ajíes caballeros) in half with a knife.

You also have the option of making a slit lengthwise on top of the hot chili peppers (ajíes caballeros), exposing the seeds if you do not want to cut them in halves.

Do not discard the seeds because the seeds are what gives the Spiced Vinegar (Vinagre/Pique) its hotness. 

We are Ready to Prepare the Spiced Vinegar (Vinagre/Pique)!

Add 5 peeled garlic cloves, ¼ teaspoon of oregano and ½ teaspoon of peppercorn in a glass jar.  You can add salt at this point if you so desire.

The peppercorns and salt are optional.

Place the 5 hot chili peppers (ajíes caballeros) that were cut in halves inside the jar.  

If you want your Spiced Vinegar (Vinagre/Pique) to be very spicy hot (a lot of heat – muy picante), cut a few more hot chili peppers (ajíes caballeros) in halves.  

Now you can insert the remaining 15 whole hot chili peppers (ajíes caballeros) inside the jar.

Since I am not fond of pineapples due to its tart flavor, it is omitted in this recipe.  However, this is the section where you can add ½ cup of pineapple chunks or 3 to 4 pineapple rinds.   Some individuals will boil the pineapple rinds and pour the pineapple flavored water into the jar. 

Pour ½ cup of white vinegar into the jar.

Pour enough olive oil to fill the jar – approximately ½ cup.

After filling the jar with all the ingredients, stir the ingredients until well blended.  If you place the ingredients in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, shake the jar to mix all the ingredients well. 

Cover the jar with a lid and let stand for 7 to 10 days before using to reach full potency.  This allows the ingredients to infuse the vinegar with flavor and heat.

Let’s Drizzle the Spiced Vinegar (Vinagre/Pique) Over the Food!

Stir the Spiced Vinegar (Vinagre/Pique) before serving.  Pour the Spiced Vinegar (Vinagre/Pique) onto a small spoon.  Drizzle small amounts over your food to give it a spicy hot flavor and aroma.

Enjoy your favorite meals spicy hot with our traditional Spiced Vinegar (Vinagre/Pique)!  ¡Buen Provecho!

The meal in this picture is  White Rice and Stewed Red Kidney Beans prepared with West Indian Pumpkin  – a staple in the Puerto Rican culture.  

Click on the button below to watch my YouTube Video on How to Prepare Spiced Vinegar (Vinagre/Pique)!

Recipe and Nutritional Facts!

Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only.  Please refer to our Nutritional Facts Disclaimer for more information.

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Spiced Vinegar (Vinagre/Pique)


  • Author: Aida's Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 72 Servings 1x

Description

Our Spiced Vinegar (Vinagre/Pique) is prepared with our traditional hot chili peppers that are soaked in vinegar with herbs, spices and pineapple rinds for a delicious spicy hot sauce.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 5 Hot Chili Peppers (Ajíes Caballeros), stems removed and cut in halves
  • 15 Hot Chili Peppers (Ajíes Caballeros), stems removed
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon peppercorn (optional)
  • ½ cup pineapple chunks or 3 to 4 pineapple rinds (optional)
  • ½ cup white vinegar, according to your taste
  • ½ cup olive oil to 1 cup olive oil, according to your taste

Instructions

  1. Rinse hot chili peppers.  Cut 5 hot chili peppers in halves.  Do not remove the seeds.
  2. In a glass jar, add the remaining ingredients.
  3. Mix all the ingredients until well blended.
  4. Cover glass jar with lid.
  5. Let stand for 7 to 10 days to reach full potency.
  6. Stir the spiced vinegar before using and drizzle small amounts over your favorite meals.

Notes

Remember the longer the spiced vinegar sits the hotter it will get.

  • Category: Condiments
  • Cuisine: Puerto Rican

Keywords: Spiced Vinegar (Vinagre/Pique)

Nutritional Facts Disclaimer

 

Category: Condiments, Recipes

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