Two spicy recipes from Yucatan

Back in July, I shared some photos of my Filius Blue pepper plants, as they got studded with dark purplish blue fruit (photo below, left). Packing between 30 000 – 50 000 Scoville units (as a reference, a similar level of hotness as cayenne pepper), I was too scared to harvest and try these peppers, so I just kept them as ornamentals for the time being. By September, I was still fascinated by these mighty little peppers, but still too intimidated to cook with them; a couple of weeks ago, they finally started turning red, and I knew I could not procrastinate any longer with the harvest (photo below, right):

As I mentioned in my July post, Filius Blue peppers are never green in colour; starting from bluish purple, they then gradually change in colour to red:

024 Filius Blue Peppers

Their heady hotness level starts at its highest, and mellows slightly as they mature, so using red peppers for cooking would be the mildest choice. In the Mexican state of Yucatan, sweet peppers, moderately hot such as xcatik, or extra spicy habaneros, are frequently served with its regional food, either by themselves, or as part of sauces and other condiments. Habaneros have an impressive range of 100 000 to 300 000 Scoville units, so I decided that including Fillius Blue instead of habaneros in the following two recipes, should be much more tamed in comparison. I still tried to keep it on the mild side, by leaving the tiny peppers whole, so they could be pushed to the side, or eaten with caution.

Note: In Yucatan, there is a type of orange, used in its regional cuisine for its sour juice; it is hard to find elsewhere, even in Mexico. Where not available, people substitute with vinegar, or a mix of other citrus juice and vinegar. My sour juice mix is usually equal parts of orange juice and white vinegar, sometimes adding a squirt of lime juice.  For the first recipe, though, I prefer a clear mix with little pulp, so I used more lime juice instead of orange.

Marinated Red Onion – Cebolla morada encurtida

Printable recipe: Marinated Red Onion


½ red onion; sliced thinly
½ tsp salt
½ cup sour orange juice (or ¼ cup lime juice and ¼ cup white vinegar)
¼ tsp dry oregano; crumbled
Hot peppers, such as thinly sliced habaneros (or whole Filius Blue), to taste

Place onions in a glass or ceramic bowl; sprinkle with the salt, mixing to rub onto onions. Add oregano, peppers and juice mix (photo below, left). Mix all the ingredients and let rest, preferably overnight, but at least for a couple of hours. The photo below (right) shows the mix after resting overnight:

These onions are a great condiment for chicken, or seafood, especially when seasoned with annatto (achiote.)

The second recipe is salsa Xnipec, a sauce that is supposed to have enough heat to produce actual sweat and runny noses, as implied by the name, Xnipec, which in Mayan means “dog’s snout” (dogs tend to have wet noses all the time.)  For this recipe, I do prefer the juice to be orange flavoured.

Xnipec Sauce – Xnipec

Printable recipe: Xnipec


3 tomatoes; chopped (approximately 2 cups)
½ red onion; chopped (approximately 1 cup)
5 radishes; sliced thinly
1 tsp salt
Hot peppers such as chopped habaneros (or whole Filius Blue), to taste
½ cup sour orange juice (or mix ¼ cup orange juice, ¼ cup white vinegar and a squirt of lime juice)

Place tomatoes, onions and radishes in a glass or ceramic bowl, and sprinkle with salt; in a separate cup, measure juice (photo below, left).  Add hot peppers and juice to the bowl (photo below, right):

Mix thoroughly, and let rest preferably overnight, but at least for a couple of hours. This sauce may be used for tacos, or as a dipping salsa with tortilla chips:

003 Xnipec sauce

Annatto-based dishes are also paired with this sauce, for example as pictured at the top of this post, with Pibipollo, a traditional dish for the Day of the Dead (observed on November 2). I will be sharing a recipe for Yucatan style Pibipollo in my next post.

I am sharing my recipe at Full PLate Thursday #455 with Miz Helen @ Miz Helen´s Country Cottage.

I am bringing my recipe to Thursday Favourite Things #412 with Bev @ Eclectic Red Barn, Marilyn @ Marilyn’s Treats, Pam @ An Artful Mom, Katherine @ Katherine’s Corner, Amber @ Follow the Yellow Brick Home, Theresa @ Shoestring Elegance  and Linda @ Crafts a la Mode.

I am joining Fiesta Friday #299 with Angie @ Fiesta Friday.

10 thoughts on “Two spicy recipes from Yucatan

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