Pika – Spicy Pickled Onions

Pika - Spicy Pickled Onion

Spice Up Your Life

Pika is this quite spicy condiment we use in Curaçao to spice up any of our dishes. You can add it to anything and it will enhance it. Back in Curaçao I never made this because you can basically get it at any restaurant. And you can even buy it at the supermarket. Once I moved to the Netherlands I realized if I wanted to enjoy these flavors from Curaçao I would have to make it myself. And it is actually super simple to make.


Is Hot, Hot?

You know how Indonesia gave us Sambal and Suriname gave us Madame Jeanette. Well Curaçao is responsible for pika. In Jamaica you have Escovitch pickle. Escovitch has way more ingredients than our Pika. But we have one thing in common and that is the use of Scotch bonnet. Scotch bonnet is extremely hot and I would recommend using gloves when handling them. You definitely want to wash your hands once you are done. Even if you used gloves. In Guyana they are known as ‘Ball of Fire’. That should tell you enough.



Use gloves when dealing with spicy peppers like Scotch Bonnets or Madame Jeanette.


Buying Scotch Bonnet

In the Netherlands Scotch bonnets are not always easy to buy and often gets confused with Madame Jeanette. Going to the Caribbean market will ensure you actually buy Scotch bonnet and not Madame Jeanette. And you can easily substitute with Madame Jeanette should you not be able to get Scotch bonnet. Some people remove the seeds to make a milder version. But I like it nice and hot and leave everything on. You can also play around with the amount of peppers you add. Should you finish and find it too hot to your taste, simply add more onions.


That Pika Life

The beauty of this is that it lasts forever. Okay maybe not forever, but I’ve had a pot in my fridge for the past 2 years and it just keeps getting better and better. Whenever I make a fresh batch I like to split it over 2 smaller jars so I can give one away to a friend. Even though you can add the pika to any dish, I think it tastes best with some dishes from Curaçao. Give it a try with the fried sardines and the krioyo sauce.


Caribbean Dishes:

Pika - Spicy Pickled Onions

Prep Time15 mins
Servings: 1 cup
Author: Kyara


  • 350 gram onions finely chopped
  • 4 Scotch bonnet or Madame Jeanette chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt


  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
  • Transfer to jars to preserve.


Remove seeds for a milder version or use less pepper. Always use gloves when handling Scotch Bonnet or Madame Jeanette as these are extremely hot. And remember to wash your hands with soap once done.