Shallot pikliz, or how to conquer a foreign palate

I have been writing this blog for the past ten years, give or take. During this time, I have learned something important: getting people from other countries to try our Haitian cuisine can prove challenging. No matter how much we claim to have the best tasting cuisine in the Caribbean, and no matter how excited I personally get about sharing our cuisine, I often stumble and fail to conquer foreign palates with our food. 

My biggest disappointment happens when they don’t even express a desire to give a dish a try. Such a lack of interest often feels like a denial of my culture, especially when it comes from a loved one. But I refuse to give up or let such reactions get me down. Instead, I focus on the small wins, like this shallot pikliz which I now consider my biggest victory of this past year. Prepared simply with shallots and piment bouc in vinegar, this Haitian condiment conquered a non-Haitian palate, which felt like a major achievement, especially since I never expected them to acquire a taste for this spicy Haitian condiment. 

When I first prepared a batch of this shallot pikliz, I did not expect much from it. 

So many dishes I had prepared with great joy in that person’s kitchen before had failed to receive the welcome I had anticipated. Plus, this pikliz does not receive much attention in our cuisine. It does not necessarily come up in conversations and does not come to mind when introducing foreigners to our cuisine. In fact, it is barely discussed. A search for Haitian pikliz online and on this blog invariably leads to the more traditional cabbage and carrot version, typically served with bannann peze and griot. Until now, I had only mentioned brightened shallots as a decorative touch to add color to dishes on this blog. Yet, when combined with our piman bouc, this spicy variation of brightened shallots possesses the power to enhance fried foods, much like our traditional pikliz, and that’s without mentioning its much easier preparation method.

Unaware that it could please a foreign palate, on that particular day, I had thus prepared a small batch, just enough to accompany the bannan peze on my plate. To my greatest surprise, not only did the person I had cooked for agree to try the pikliz, but they also expressed disappointment when it ran out before we finished our meal.

A few days later, they requested more shallot pikliz to enjoy with their bannann peze at lunchtime

The requests kept coming in religiously for months after that, filling me with happiness and pride. But, my greatest joy came the day I received a phone call inquiring about the recipe. That day, I was ecstatic as that request became proof that that pikliz had truly conquered their palate. And that’s why this shallot pikliz, my favorite type of pikliz, deserves to stand on this glass pedestal I used to serve it to you today. Though it does not have the same popularity as our traditional pikliz, this pikliz managed to win over someone who isn’t Haitian, someone I have been struggling to convince to adopt more than just our bannann peze.

Pikliz aux échalotes, shallot pikliz | Tchakayiti, Haitian Food

Shallot pikliz, spicy condiment

This pikliz complements our bannann peze and griot as well as other fried foods such as our street fried shrimp or veritables pesées.


  • Thinly sliced shallots
  • Chopped piment bouc to taste
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Salt & pepper


  • In a glass bowl, combine the shallots and piment bouc
  • Cover with vinegar
  • Add a splash of water
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste
  • Enjoy with fried food or keep refrigerated


In my opinion this pikliz must be well salted. However, I recommend that you adjust the salt according to your tastes and habits.
You could use bitter orange juice instead of vinegar, however this formula does not stay fresh long.
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