Served on everything from choripan or empanadas this Chilean salsa makes everything better. Here’s an easy pebre recipe to make at home.
I didn’t spend as much time in Chile as I had hoped. Northern Chile blew me away and the Atacama Desert continues to be one of my favourite places on earth.
Besides the landscapes, I fondly remember the food. Chile has such a long coastline with cold waters that reminded me of home in Canada.
And the seafood was incredible.
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But it didn’t matter where I went in Chile, there was one constant on every single table.
Either a small bowl of Chilean salsa was on the table or it was the first thing brought for the meal.
This cilantro salsa was one of my favourite things about food in Chile.
What is Pebre?
Best described as a cilantro salsa? Sometimes it’s called Chilean chimichurri because it’s served on choripan – just as Argentineans put chimichurri on their choripan.
But the pebre recipe is a bit different from chimichurri as the two countries have similar cuisine but Argentinean food is a bit different.
Easy Chimichurri Recipe
If anything it’s like the brother of chimichurri and the cousin of Mexican pico de gallo.
What is the Difference Between Salsa, Pico de Gallo and Pebre?
Pebre sauce isn’t quite a sauce but more often like a Mexican pico de gallo.
Pico de gallo is one of the few recipes in Mexico where you do not see regional variations. It is almost always finely diced tomato, onion, cilantro, pepper and lime.
Although many people believe pico de gallo and salsa are the same thing there is one slight difference.
Pico de gallo is fresh, raw vegetables and never cooked. Whereas salsa may be cooked and can use canned tomatoes.
It’s a slight difference but an important one.
Salsa simply means sauce in Spanish. In Mexico, if something is only described as salsa it means it is tomato based.
If it’s something else then it will tell you…salsa verde, salsa ranchera, salsa criolla etc.
It’s not pebre if it doesn’t have cilantro! But if you are crazy enough not to like cilantro you have some options.
Ask if they have chancho en piedra which has more tomatoes and sometimes sweet peppers. But otherwise the unifying ingredient in pebre is cilantro.
- diced white onion,
- minced garlic
- vinegar or lime juice
- aji pepper
Is Pebre Spicy?
If you want to spend a holiday eating spicy food then South America is not for you.
In most countries you can find hot sauce on the table, but the food itself is not hot. The only exception to this rule is in Peru where aji peppers reign. Otherwise as soon as you sit down at a restaurant look for the hot sauce.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing. I ADORE the arbol de tomate or tree tomato hot sauce in Ecuador.
Like most Chilean food, pebre is not very spicy. A good pebre recipe uses a cilantro and a little bit of chile. I actually like to add a little bit of Chilean hot sauce on top of my pebre.
If you want to make this pebre recipe spicy use this guide to the Scoville scale.
How to Use Pebre Sauce?
Pebre sauce is so versatile, which is why you can find this Chilean condiment on every table.
- A topping for choripan
- Spread it on bread
- Eat it with empanadas
- A topping for humitas (known as tamales in other countries)
- Add it to salads
- Spoon it over freshly boiled potatoes
- A condiment for barbecued meat
- Dip for sopapillas
Traditional Chilean Pebre Recipe
Everyone has their own pebre recipe. Some recipes don’t have any tomatoes at all and it’s more of a cilantro sauce.
And then some recipes don’t bother with chopping up aji peppers and instead just use hot sauce.
There is no ONE authentic Chilean pebre recipe. This recipe uses tomatoes, but I tend to use what’s on hand. You can’t screw this recipe up if everything is fresh.
I would make pebre salsa one say in advance as the flavours tend to blend and also mellow a bit. It gets better with time.
- 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
- 3 cups tomato, chopped
- 1 cup white onion, diced
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup pepper (yellow banana, jalapeno or serrano)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Combine together and let sit for at least four hours.
- Taste to see if it needs more spice, red wine vinegar or salt.
Although this recipe in Chile uses aji. I find it is VERY difficult to find South American peppers in Canada and the United States. This is why I have not recommended a pepper typical to Chile.
If you want it to be truly authentic look for aji.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 Amount Per Serving: Calories: 154Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 153mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 1g
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although BaconisMagic.ca attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.