Haitian Spicy Pickled Cabbage

Pikliz (Pick-leez) – This spicy cabbage, carrot and chili-laced pickle is traditionally served with rich meats and fried foods, like Pork Griot. Its bright and fiery crunch cuts through any richness and balances out the flavors. The unique spicy, crunchy, tart combination of pikliz is often misunderstood until you try it and realize how inspired it is..

Another misunderstood Haitian cultural icon; Voodoo. Actually its name is Vodoun and originated in Africa and was brought to Haiti along with 1,000,000 slaves. In Haiti, it combined with Catholicism and native beliefs to develop into belief systems that focused on survival and community. Voudon refers to “a whole assortment of cultural elements: personal creeds and practices, including an elaborate system of folk medical practices; a system of ethics transmitted across generations including proverbs, stories, songs, and folklore.

What Voodoo is not is the evil images portrayed in movies, TV, and literature where it has been misrepresented as a cult steeped in black magic and devil worship. In reality, there’s no witch doctors, sorcerers, or occultists. Not a zombie to be found anywhere. Other than in the movies, people who practice Vodou have never seen a “Voodoo doll”. What they have seen is the beautiful culinary merger of French cuisine with local techniques and ingredients,

Pikliz – Haitian Spicy Pickled Cabbage

Haitian pikliz is a wonderful condiment to serve with rice and beans, noodles, roast chicken, or other gently flavored dishes that need a little zipping up. It is exceptionally good as a contrast to fried and grilled meats, especially Grilots (Haitian fried pork). Like most pickles, it will keep for weeks in the refrigerator.
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Course: Condiment, Salad
Cuisine: Caribbean, Haiti
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Marinate: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 15 minutes
Servings: 2 quarts
Author: My Hungry Traveler

Equipment

  • Quart jar with cover
  • Large bowl

Ingredients

  • ½ large Cabbage, shredded
  • 1 medium Carrot, peeled and shredded
  • ½ large Onion, peeled and sliced thin
  • ½ medium Red bell pepper, seeded and sliced thin
  • 4 cloves Garlic, peeled and sliced thin or roughly chopped
  • 8 Peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 6 medium Scotch Bonnet or habanero peppers, stems removed and sliced or cut into small squares
  • 1 Lime juiced
  • 2 cups Vinegar, white or apple cider

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, combine cabbage, carrot, onion, garlic, bell pepper, peppercorns, and paprika. Add vinegar and lime juice. Then add hot peppers and salt. Mix thoroughly with a wood spoon or gloved hand.
  • Transfer everything to a quart jar and top off with any excess vinegar from bowl. Seal jar and sit on counter for 24 hours. Move to refrigerator for at least another 12 hours. Serve as a side like coleslaw. Keeps in refrigerator for a few weeks.

Notes

  • The first 24 hour countertop sitting can be skipped with pikliz going straight into the refrigerator for a day.
  • The hot peppers adds a perfect balance to the pikliz. To lower the heat level, remove seeds and pulp and/or use fewer peppers. 

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