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“Dog’s Snout” Salsa (Xni Pec)

The world’s most colorfully named salsa—xni pec (pronounced shnee pek)—is also one of the hottest. Xni is Mayan for dog, pec for nose or snout. Just why it’s got this name is a matter of debate. The likely explanation is that the habañero peppers make your nose run, an effect I can readily attest to—and a dog’s nose is always wet. Or maybe it has to do with the salsa’s pugnacious bite.


“Dog’s Snout” Salsa (Xni Pec)

Recipe Notes

  • Yield: Makes 1 cup; Serves 4 to 6


  • 2 to 8 habañero peppers or Scotch bonnet chiles, finely chopped
  • 1 large ripe tomato, cut into 1⁄4-inch dice (with its juices)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 fresh sour orange juice, or 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice plus 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice, or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Recipe Steps

Step 1: Combine the habañero peppers, tomato, onion, cilantro, sour orange juice, and salt in a serving bowl. Toss to mix.

Step 2: Taste for seasoning, adding more sour orange juice as necessary. The salsa tastes best served within 3 hours of making.

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