Traditional Curaçao Pika: Spicy Onion Relish
gives extra flavor to any dish
Ever since we moved to Curaçao I’ve been so inspired by the local dishes and all the different products you can find here on the island. It’s funny because even though our local produce is limited due to the year around dry and sunny weather, there are so many ingredients out there that I still need to learn to cook with.
Before moving back to the island I rarely ever ate “pika”. Pika means spicy in Papiamentu—the native language of Curaçao—and is made with Madame Jeanette, Scotch Bonnet or Habanero peppers. Like any other Caribbean island, people eat lots of rice and stews here and this relish is the perfect addition to these types of dishes. I have come to love this spicy onion relish so much that I used it in pretty much everything. The recipe is pretty standard and you can tweak the spiciness to your liking. By removing the seeds and “nerves” you’ll make the relish less spicy. You can also add less pepper altogether. If it’s too spicy just add some extra onions.
So yeah, lately I’m getting inspired by so many local dishes, fruits, vegetables, herbs, and even seafood (I don’t even like seafood). But, not only local dishes. Curaçao is a melting pot of cultures and as someone who came here as an immigrant as an infant, I can’t help but also get curious about the dishes of neighboring countries. To all those places I traveled during my time in Europe and tasted unique dishes for the first time, I’ve never been inspired like I am at this moment.
I really encourage you to make this recipe. It’s easy to make and you’ll have something to talk about during dinner. If you are looking for more Caribbean inspired-dishes then check out the website and cookbook of Spice Girls – Caribbean Flavors with a Twist or (if you speak Dutch) antiliaans-eten.nl.
Spicy onion relish made with Madame Jeanette, Scotch Bonnet or Habaneros
- 3 medium onions roughly chopped
- 2 Habanero/Madame Jeanette/Scotch Bonnet peppers or to taste
- 115 ml White vinegar
- 60 ml apple cider vinegar
- salt & pepper to taste
- Food processor
- 2 medium jars/container
Add all the ingredients into a food processor and process into a puree. Add the relish into the jars and refrigerate. Pika can be stored for up to 1-2 weeks in the fridge.