Haitian Epis (Haitian Seasoning Base) is a spicy and bold paste or seasoning popularly used in traditional Haitian cooking. Try my authentic recipe to make it (vegan, gluten-free).
About Haitian Epis
Haitian Epis (Haitian Seasoning Base) is a traditional Caribbean paste or seasoning prepared with peppers, fresh herbs, garlic, olive oil, and vinegar. The green sauce recipe varies from home to home, but the main ingredients are almost the same.
This paste makes the base of Haitian Cuisine. Haitian cuisine also known as Haitian Creole cuisine is a unique style of cooking that originated in Haiti, blending African, French, Spanish, Taíno, and Caribbean influences.
It is very similar to Trinidad and Tobago’s green seasoning and the Latin American sofrito.
Epis seasoning is used as a base to flavor most of the savory dishes in Haitian cooking. This bold and spicy paste is super easy to make and comes together in just 10 minutes.
Traditionally, it was prepared in a mortar pestle but to fasten the process, I like to use a food processor.
You can easily double or triple the Haitian epis recipe and make a big batch to store in an air-tight container for later use. This green seasoning freezes well too.
Epis is vegan and gluten-free.
Bell Peppers – This recipe uses a mix of green and red bell peppers. Select the ones that are bright in color, firm to the touch, and free of any bruises or soft patches.
Herbs – The addition of fresh herbs like parsley and thyme gives it a refreshing taste.
Olive Oil – Use the best quality extra virgin olive oil.
Apple Cider Vinegar – It adds a nice acidic flavor and also helps the paste to last longer. You can use freshly squeezed lemon juice (or lime juice) instead.
Others – You will also need red onion, scallions, garlic, cloves, celery stalks, veg bouillon cube, scotch bonnet peppers, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.
The addition of scotch bonnet peppers is optional, but it adds a nice spicy kick to the Epis. They are small fiery chili peppers used in African and Caribbean cuisine. You can replace them with any spicy peppers like Thai bird’s eye chilies or Habanero peppers.
You can replace veg bullion cubes with chicken bouillon cubes. Maggi brand is the most popular.
Replace scallions with leeks if they are not available.
How To Make Epis
- 1 seeded and sliced green bell pepper
- 1 seeded and sliced red bell pepper
- ½ cup fresh parsley
- ½ cup chopped red onions
- 6-8 sprigs of thyme
- 3 scallions (sliced)
- 5-6 peeled garlic cloves
- 3 cloves
- 1 veg bouillon cube
- 1 teaspoon chopped scotch bonnet pepper
to a food processor fitted with an S blade.
Pulse to break down the vegetables into smaller pieces.
Slowly pour in ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil followed by ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar, while the processor is still running.
Continue to pulse until the mixture is mostly smooth.
Add 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper powder, and 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder, and pulse until combined.
Pour epis into an airtight container and refrigerate for 5-7 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
Salt acts as a preservative and increases the shelf life of epis, but if you want to skip adding it, just go for it. You can add salt to the actual recipe where you are using the Epis.
Pro Tips By Neha
Avoid using a blender to make epis otherwise, it will turn pasty. Food processors or mortar and pestle are the best choices to make it.
Adjust the quantity of cayenne pepper and scotch bonnet to suit your taste buds. I personally like it to be medium spicy, but you can add more peppers if you like to make it spicy.
Do not add any water to the recipe otherwise, the life of the seasoning will be reduced.
If you want a greener epis, then replace red bell pepper with green bell pepper. I personally like the flecks of red coming in between.
Epis is generally used as a base to make rice and beans, vegetable curries, stews, and soups. It is an integral part of Haitian cuisine and is added to mostly all Haitian recipes.
It can be used as a marinade for chicken, or other meat recipes.
Use it as a dipping sauce for roasted potatoes, wedges, vegetable fries, or any snack or appetizer.
Add it to your pasta recipe. Add a little of it to enhance the flavor of your pasta dishes or use it just like pesto with some protein to make a pasta dish.
You can also use it as a salad dressing.
I make my Haitian Spaghetti using my homemade Epis, do give it a try.
Haitian Epis last for up to 7 days in the refrigerator when stored in an air-tight container.
Use a clean and dry spoon for every use, and make sure to close the container properly again. This will ensure that the paste lasts longer.
It is also freezer friendly. You can freeze it in ice cube trays and make individual ice cubes for every use and they will last for up to 3 months. Once they are frozen, store them in freezer-safe ziplock bags.
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Haitian Epis Recipe (Haitian Seasoning Base)
- 1 green bell pepper (seeded and sliced)
- 1 red bell pepper (seeded and sliced)
- ½ cup chopped parsley (packed)
- ½ cup chopped red onions
- 6-8 sprigs thyme
- 3 scallions (chopped)
- 5-6 cloves peeled garlic
- 3 whole cloves
- 1 veg bouillon cube
- 1 teaspoon chopped scotch bonnet (or any other spicy chilli)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar (or lime juice)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Add green bell pepper, red bell pepper, parsley, onions, thyme, scallions, garlic cloves, cloves, veg bouillon cube, and scotch bonnet pepper to a food processor fitted with an S blade.
- Pulse to break down the vegetables into smaller pieces.
- Slowly pour in olive oil followed by vinegar, while the processor is still running.
- Continue to pulse until the mixture is mostly smooth.
- Add salt, pepper powder, and cayenne pepper powder, and pulse until combined.
- Pour epis into an airtight container and refrigerate for 5-7 days or freeze for up to 3 months.