The Ultimate Haitian Fried Food Partner – Pikliz
In Haiti, cabbage is known as “the queen of the dish,” which is why you will find Pikliz at every fried food vendor’s station. In Haitian cuisine, savory dishes come with a side serving of Pikliz. You probably know it as the creamy, shredded cabbage that KFC serves with its chicken. In one word: coleslaw.
This coleslaw-lookalike is a medley of spicy pickled peppers, shredded carrots, and cabbage in Haiti. Visit any Haitian home, and you will find a homemade Pikliz stash fermenting in a glass jar. Yeah, they love it that much!
History of Pikliz
We can’t point at one point in time in which Pikliz was created. Coleslaw, its standard version, was invented in the 18th century. This dish soon followed after. Its recipe is partly Haitian and carries elements from recipes of colonizers in the Caribbean.
The main ingredient, pepper, is known as piman. “Piman” refers to hot pepper in Haitian Creole, an apt description for Pikliz.
How Coleslaw Became Pikliz
Pronounced as PEEkleez, this is an all-purpose condiment. It’s coleslaw yet not. A touch of hot sauce and a hint of kraut, call it what you will, but the shreds taste damn good and hot. This dish can be eaten with fritay, which can be Tasso (fried beef), griot (fried pork), and bannann peze (sweet plantains pressed and fried). Wait, the list is not over. You can even drizzle its acidic liquid on top of rice or soup.
As mentioned earlier, this side dish’s heart is the pepper, which is either soaked in lime juice. The liquid ingredient is so essential to prevent it from going bad. And this is how coleslaw became Pikliz.
The base of this dish includes carrots and cabbage, and the star is the pepper. The original Pikliz recipe that Haitians created also included onions. Some of the newer ones contain crushed bouillon cubes or Maggi.
- Scotch Bonnet or Habanero Pepper (1 chopped)
- Shredded cabbage (6 cups)
- Shredded carrots (1 cup)
- Shallot or Onion (1) sliced thin – Optional
- Bell peppers (1/4) – Optional
- Lime (1) – Juice only
- Salt (3/4 Tsp)
- Maggi (small piece) – Optional
- Chop the cabbage, shallot or onion, pepper, bell pepper. Use a grater to shred the carrots. You may add more or less pepper based on how spicy you like it.
- Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. Add to a jar, store, and serve.
Note: Make sure that all the vegetables are covered with the citrus juice.
*Serves 5-8 people.
Prep time: Up to 30 minutes.
So, does this recipe sound more exciting than the creamy blend you have been eating your whole life? For your next party, make fried chicken with this side dish and watch your guests’ taste buds explode with Pikliz.
Check out our YouTube video to see how this dish is made.