Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Belizean-style Habanero Pepper Sauce

I originally posted a recipe for homemade habanero pepper sauce (also called onion sauce, depending on the ratio of onions to peppers) in my post on serre, a classic Belizean fish preparation. However, this ubiquitous sauce really deserves a post of its own.

Pepper or Onion sauce
This is an essential accompaniment to many Belizean dishes. Dont eat serre or other coconut milk based foods without it-the acidity of the lime and vinegar and the heat of the habanero cut the richness of the coconut milk and create a perfect balance of flavor. Whether you call it pepper or onion sauce depends on the ratio of onion to habanero-go with what works best for your tastebuds and heat preference.

Habanero peppers


Cilantro (optional)

Carrot (optional)

Lime juice


Preparation: Mince an onion and add to taste a quantity of finely minced habanero pepper. Remove the seeds and white internal membrane if you want to tone down the heat even more. Add minced cilantro, lime juice, vinegar and salt to taste. Some people like more vinegar, some like more lime juice. Experiment and see which you prefer. Let the whole concoction sit in a glass container. You can leave it covered on the counter for several weeks and it will stay perfectly fresh as the onion and pepper pickle themselves in the lime juice and vinegar.

NOTE: Most Belizeans do not mince the onion or habanero pepper, instead slicing them up into bigger pieces as you see in the photo above. I mince it because I like to have little bits of habanero all over my food. Its up to you which you prefer. Some folks use large chunks of pepper and onion and then never actually dip the pepper out, instead leaving it to flavour the vinegar, which is used to spice up food, and the pickled onions. Some people also add sliced carrots and even cucumber to the jar, which makes for some very spicy and delicious pickles.

Serve this with Serre and other heavy stews, with refried beans at breakfast, on top of guacamole or anytime you need some hot pepper flavour.


Kirsten said...

Hello! I was wondering if you had a contact email, I work for a local restaurant in the DC area and we are reaching out to local food bloggers for National Mediterranean Diet Month. Please feel free to email me your contact information at

Rebecca said...

Great blog. I just stumbled upon it.

Anonymous said...

I loved this esp. with hutut on my trip to Belize this year; thank you--I'll be trying this recipe soon. It is bugging me--what is the Kriol word for this?

Anonymous said...

Do you know the kriol word for the onion relish? Had it first in Hopkins with hudtut (SP?) and became quite addicted so I am glad I found you and the recipe. But it is driving me crazy that I've forgotten how it was pronounced.

Prepper Yogini said...

I'm so excited to make this you better Belize it!

Lyra said...

Onion Sauce is what kriol people call it. I have no idea what it is called in Garifuna I am afraid. Sorry for taking so long to respond!

Anonymous said...

We call it onion pepper sauce

Soigomoto said...

Late post but just found the recipe. When I used to eat early morning breakfast with the fishermen at the old Belize city market -back in the '80s- they would call this peppa sauce "the ingredients" saying, "pass the ingredients mon". Glad to have stumbled on your recipe. Tried making it a few times and now I know what I was missing -the lime juice! Making it tonight to go with the rice and beans I'm gonna stew up tomorrow.