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Chile Pequín en Escabeche – Pickled Pequíns

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Chile Pequín en Escabeche – Pickled Pequíns


My mom grew a tiny bush of chile de monte next to our front door. This bush blossomed under my mom’s talented hands, sprouting an abundant crop of chiles for her ever year.  She loved that little bush, cared for it daily and always made sure none of her kids ever trampled it on the way out.  My papi (dad) benefitted greatly from this tiny bush.  Fresh chiles with his morning eggs, salsa de chile to spice up his lunch tacos and more chiles with his evening plate of food.  We kids on the other hand were not quite fond of this bush. 

How would I say it?  My dad is very, very particular in the chiles that pass his lips.  And we had the task of picking those “selective,” chiles from the bush every meal.  This became a chore none of us kids really wanted to volunteer for.  We would look from side to side trying to ignore her stare until she noticed no one was willing to go.  She quickly waved at one of us and that was that “Get papi his chiles.”   And off we went hoping to pick a few perfect chiles.

Now that I think back to these days I smile, because now I LOVE these tiny chiles.  Maybe I love them for their flavor or maybe I just love what they represent.  Our youth, our childhood spent around my mom’s table and the desire to “pick,” those perfect chiles for our papi, just to see him enjoy one of mom’s meals.  This recipe is for you Papi.   




This explosive chile grows wild throughout South Texas with the help of birds spreading their seed. Known as pequín, piquin, bird pepper, chilitepins or chiletepin peppers. In my childhood home they were called chile de monte.  Don’t be fooled by the tiny size these tiny jewels pack a punch.


The chile takes its name from the Spanish word “pequeño,” which means small or tiny. 


Escabeche means pickled


According to the Scoville scale pequín are rated at 75,000, just below the habenero.  Used in salsas, chili or crushed (dried) and combined with lemon and salt over fruit these chiles are one of my favorite.   In 1997 these mighty chiles were named the official pepper of the state of Texas.







Chile Pequín en Escabeche – Pickled Pequíns

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes


  • 1 cup Chile pequíns, with stems
  • ½ carrot sliced (optional)
  • 1 cup White vinegar
  • 3 whole black peppercorns
  • Pinch of comino
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 laurel leaf (mexican bay leaf), if not available use what you have


  1. In a clean glass container or canning jar add chiles and carrot slices.
  2. In saucepan heat vinegar, peppercorns, comino, laurel leaf and salt over low heat until the vinegar reaches a low boil.
  3. Pour the vinegar over the chiles.
  4. Cover and allow to cool to room temperature.
  5. Place in fridge until ready or pickled, 2 days.
  6. Store in fridge.


you can also add onion, cauliflower or garlic to the mix.



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16 Responses to Chile Pequín en Escabeche – Pickled Pequíns

  1. Oustanding recipe,one of reason your mom took well care of chile piquin plant was you cannot qrow it by planting those pepper on soil,has to digested by mockingbirds,that is why is hard to see it fresh,those birds live in north of mexico and south texas,I tried for 25 years to grow it but I failed.This year the mockingbirds were good to me I got a chile del monte bush,is gold to me and my family,Thanks for the recipe.

  2. I love these little guys, but they are hard to find around here…will have to keep an eye out for them. Love this pickling recipe…they look fantastic!
    Magic of Spice recently posted..Celebrating National Grilled Cheese Month with BreakfastMy Profile

  3. I love chilies, especially really spicy ones. I’ve never seen fresh chile pequin, but will keep my eyes open for them.
    Jeanette recently posted..Lyon-Style Chicken with Vinegar Sauce Recipe – April Bloomfield – 50 Women Game Changers In FoodMy Profile

  4. Tragically I don’t think we get these cuties in the stores up here. But if we did…I’d be tempted to hug them. Or pickle them. Same thing.
    Joanne recently posted..Recipe: White and Dark Chocolate Coconut Macadamia CookiesMy Profile

  5. Okay, I’m planting my veggie garden, should I add this chili bush? I really like the idea of making pickled chiles to go on my nachos,lol!

  6. I’ve never heard about chile pekins, they look pretty cute and I would love to try your recipe, I always make my own jalapeños en escabeche
    beti recently posted..Lemon Zest Cake TrifleMy Profile

  7. oh how I wish I could grow these… I know they would taste so much grander just because of your family’s ;love of them and history
    Drick recently posted..How to Barbecue Chicken and PoultryMy Profile

  8. They’re so cute you almost forget they pack a punch!

    I’ve got a cocktail contest going on–come over and link some of your luscious beverages!!!
    Sommer@ASpicyPerspective recently posted..Raspberry Basil Mojitos & Cocktail Contest!My Profile

  9. Oh, beautiful! I love the story and I know I’d love these chiles…so would the hubs and teenager. Any chiles en escabeche go FAST around here!
    Heather @girlichef recently posted..ALMONDINA {product review + GIVEAWAY}My Profile

  10. How fun and so much heat!
    yummychunklet recently posted..Quinoa Oatmeal Breakfast BarsMy Profile

  11. How lovely!! Such a special honor. To have these fresh chilis at every meal? WOW!
    Belinda @zomppa recently posted..Bull City Food ExchangeMy Profile

  12. That chile’s look soo drool-worthy! I’ve seen the dried version ones before. Bet its delicious, made into pickles.
    Kiran @ KiranTarun.com recently posted..Easy Garam Masala Chicken CurryMy Profile

  13. What a wonderful post! I adore chiles and love their spice. I don’t know that I’ve ever had this particular kind before though!

    Wonderful story about your childhood. Made me smile :-)
    the wicked noodle recently posted..ham & swiss bread pudding with whipped dijon creamMy Profile

  14. Lovely memories and interesting recipe! I’d love to taste those.



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