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Pique (Puerto Rican Hot sauce)

If you like spicy foods, then you'll want to use pique in your cooking.

Like most Puerto Rican recipes, the recipe for homemade pique is usually a close-guarded family secret!

Just ask anyone who has tried homemade
ron caña
! If they tell you that they all taste the same, then they've had one too many... But that's another story - haha!

The truly authentic Puerto Rican pique uses the Ají caballero as its base. This is a hot chile pepper that has the distinction of standing almost upright on the plant, as opposed to hanging down from the branches like other peppers.

Perhaps its name is due to this unusual position. I'm not sure.

The pique itself is actually a spiced vinegar and fruit based hot sauce, which is probably why it's popularly known in PR as vinagre. Many people let it sit for weeks or months before actually using it, so as to increase its potency!

Whatever you do, follow the recipe below and then make your own changes later on so that you will follow the tradition of having your own recipe according to your liking!

Just for the record, since you may not find the Ají caballero, just substitiute with the habanero chile. This looks exactly like the Aji dulce, but is hot instead.

So enjoy!


12 ounces white vinegar
2 slices of Pineapple rind (you may use 2ounces of the juice instead)
4 Garlic cloves, sliced in half
4 Ajices caballero (or habanero)
4 cayenne peppers, whole
10 peppercorns, cut in half
4 sprigs of Cilantro (also known as chinese parsley)
2 recao leaves
(if available)- also known as culantro
4 TBSP Olive Oil (2 ounces)
Pinch of Oregano
Pinch of Salt

1- Carefully cut the ajices in half. If you like it hot, don't discard the seeds.

Wash your hands carefully after handling the ajices or the cayenne peppers!

2- Cut the pineapple rind into 6 pieces that are each: 1 inch by 2 inches. So each piece is approximately the size of 2 regular postage stamps, side by side.

3- In a small saucepan, simmer the ajices in the olive oil for approximately one minute on medium low heat. This brings ou the hotness of the ajices without having to let it sit for months. Let it cool.

4- Place the rest of the ingredients in a jar, or an old salad dressing bottle. The large kind will probably accommodate the entire recipe. If you need to use two jars or bottles, divide the ingredients into each one.

5- Add the ajices and the olive oil to the jar(s) or bottle(s). Shake and let it sit for at least a day before using.

6- As mentioned earlier, the longer it sits, the hotter it gets!

Makes approximately 13-16 ounces

¡ Buen Provecho !