Habanero salsa – liquid sunshine









At the beginning of January, I have a craving for bright food with bold flavours, hot red, uplifting orange & yellow colours, food that is fiery and warming – basically simulating sunshine when the days are dark and dank. Oranges*, lemons, persimmons, peppers, pomegranates, chillies – all seem to brighten the mood and tickle the taste buds. This is especially true for chiles habaneros, little orange lampions or lanterns, which have a pleasant flowery, fruity flavour and are as hot as the sun. So, a habanero salsa is quite literally liquid sunshine.

We pour it on anything and everything, tacos, especially fish tacos, I think (and outrageously delicious on those tacos with beer-battered cod which got eaten so fast that there is no photo), quesadillas or vegetable fritters, falafel in need of a tiny boost. Recently, our salsa got upgraded to two habaneros but I recommend to start with half the amount first, enjoying the fruity notes with some heat rather then flame-throwing your mouth at first bite. Getting gradually acquainted is the aim here and not a dare to bare all.

I always make a sizeable batch and freeze the rest in small portions to be quickly defrosted when a drizzle of instant heat is what we long for. The sauce blends better and frankly I am sometimes just too lazy to make a salsa from scratch every time (and clean the blender afterwards).


*Seville oranges are back and if you haven’t made Vin d’Orange last year you definitely have to try it this year, it is like orange bitters on steroids. This is a really easy and quick method & such fun to make. You’ll be able to reap the benefits of your efforts within a few weeks when you pretend to taste-test more often – purely for quality control, understood – until early summer when a cold glass of extraordinarily intense (bitter) orange wine is just the thing before dinner.). I have bought a few kilos of bitter oranges yesterday to try myself at cochinita pibil (guess who got a new Mexican cookbook for Christmas!) and marmelade, naturally.


Habanero salsa

Habanero salsa

Makes about 1/2 litre, a little more than 1 cup. Adapted from Lisa Fain’s The Homesick Texan cookbook with a few tiny tweeks & changes. I recommend half the amount of chile habaneros for the uninitiated novice.


2 carrots, sliced into coins
1 onion, minced
sunflower oil
3-4 cloves garlic
1 cup (250ml, ¾ of a small tin) chopped or crushed tomatoes
1-2 chiles habaneros (Habanero chillies), deseeded and chopped (use 1 chilli for pleasantly spicy, 2 for a fiery salsa)
½ teaspoon (dried) oregano
¾ teaspoon cumin
1 cup chicken broth (I use a stock cube for this)


Slowly cook the carrot slices and onions in a little oil over medium heat until translucent and slightly soft, decant into a blender and add the remaining ingredients. Blend until you get a homogenous salsa, check the seasoning and decant into a sealable jar or bottle. Keep in the fridge (for about 1 week) or freeze surplus in small containers for immediate access to this liquid sunshine.




Habanero salsa

Habanero salsa

Adaptiert von Lisa Fains The Homesick Texan cookbook mit einigen kleinen Änderungen und empfehle die Hälfte der scharfen Habanero Chilis für den Anfang. Dieses Rezept ergibt ca. ½ Liter, ich friere gerne kleine Portionen für dunkle Tage ein and denen ein Löffel wärmender flüssiger Sonnenschein unbedingt nötig ist.


2 Karotten, in Scheiben geschnitten
1 Zwiebel, gehackt
3-4 Knoblauch, gehackt
240ml (1 Tasse, ca. ¾ Inhalt einer kleinen Dose) gehackte Tomatenstücke
1-2 orange Habanero Chilis, Samen entfernt und gehackt (1 Habanero ergibt eine angenehm fruchtige Schärfe, 2 eine feurigere Version)
½ TL getrockneter Oregano
¾ TL Kreuzkümmel
240ml (1 Tasse) Hühner- oder Gemüsebrühe (ein guter Brühwürfel ist ideal)


Karotten und Zwiebeln in etwas Öl langsam über mittlerer Hitze anschwitzen bis die Zwiebeln glasig und die Möhren weich sind. In einen Blender geben, die restlichen Zutaten hinzufügen und alles zu einer homogenen Salsa pürieren. Mit Salz abschmecken und in eine verschließbare Flasche oder Glas geben. Im Kühlschrank hält sich die Salsa ca. 1 Woche. Wir frieren die restliche Salsa in kleinen Portionen für später ein.

11 thoughts on “Habanero salsa – liquid sunshine

  1. OMG this is amazing! I love it. I would put this on anything and everything! I love that you add broth and oregano. This is just spectacular. I did a Mexican post this week too!

    • Thank you so much, Amanda. Yeah, I just read your post and that’s going on my list to cook in January (along with the cake). We just mixed the last spoonful of habanero salsa into an Asian rice noodle salad vinaigrette and I devoured it before I could even think about taking a picture. Sigh.

    • That is a very, very good idea, Ange. Just saying: better get some more habaneros for something we had last night and which I shall post soon-ish (maybe three from this one).
      Let me know, what you are having it with, I am eager to know.

  2. This looks amazing!! I can imagine it would be absolutely lovely on fish tacos and veggie fritters. Even as a pasta sauce. Beautiful photo!

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