A collection of my favourite recipes & remedies from Mexico and around the world.

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Word of the Week – Escabeche & How To Make Pickled Jalapeño & Habanero Chilies

habanero jalapeno onion carrot

Word of the Week – Escabeche & How To Make Pickled Jalapeño & Habanero Chilies

I thought escabeche was the Mexican name for anything pickled as you find jalapeños en escabeche everywhere and they appear to be just pickled in vinegar with slices of carrot and onion chucked in. Now I’m checking it all out I am finding that there is a bit more (but not that much) to this preserving method than just throwing jalapeños, onion and carrot in a jar with vingear.

The word escabeche is derived from a Persian word sikbaj, which sounds like “iskabech” which then transformed to the Catalan word eskabetx (“x” = “ch” in Catalan). The Persian dish of al sikbaj was a meat dish cooked with vinegar and honey or molasses. During the Moorish conquest the Arabs brought it to Spain and the Mediterranean, from there the Spanish took it with them on their conquests. It is common throughout Europe, Latin America and in the Philippines in its various forms.

jalapeños en escabeche

So what is it here in Mexico? Well it is a method of preserving vegetables, usually chilies with carrot and onion in vinegar with herbs. The bit I had been doing wrong, or missing out altogether is that before putting all those things in a clean jar and leaving them to absorb the flavours for a period of time, the Mexican way is to fry them in oil first, then add the vinegar after and boil it. So I was totally incorrect in my efforts to make my jalapeños en escabeche, oh well, ni modo, I will give you my method for pickling chilies – they still taste great in tacos, sandwiches, cold meat or whatever you fancy spicing up.

I will make a batch of ‘proper’ escabeche another day and post the recipe and photos once its done.

Pickled Jalapeños and Habaneros

You Need:

Clean glass jars with lids
Wax paper cut in circles an inch (2.5cm) bigger than the jar-lids


Jalapeño chillies
Habanero chilies
White Onion
White vinegar

Sterilise the glass jars and lids by filling them with boiled water and leaving at least 10 mins.
Slice jalapeños, habaneros and carrots into rounds.
Cut the onion in half and then into thin slices.
Cut the habaneros in half lengthways then into thin slices -take care as the juice is extremly hot and will burn your skin! You may want to wear rubber gloves, but you definaltly want to wash your hands thoroughly after touching the chiles to avoid any burning skin/eyes etc.

Stuff the jars with the veggies – keeping the habs and the jalapeños in separate jars, once full pour in the vinegar to the top. Place a circular piece of wax paper over the opening of the jar and seal with the lid.

habanero jalapeno pickled chilies

Mark the jars with the date you made them and leave around 4 weeks -stored in a cool, dark place. Once opened keep them in the fridge. They last almost forever with all that vinegar, however i live in the tropics so keep almost everything in the fridge!

They are HOT so eat with caution!

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