Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Spices & Marinades

Throughout the web I read cooks that are calling Haitian seasoning "epis or Zepis" to which translation would mean spices when they are referring to Haitian seasoning.  There is no particular name for Haitian seasoning it is simply referred to as "asezoneman" which means seasoning in Haitian Creole.  To use the Haitian marinade for meat and other dishes it is the act of "asizone ak epis" to season with spice. 

Savory food uses a blend of aromatic herbs and vegetables that can be added as a base to just about everything in cooking Haitian food. You will need a blender or wooden pestle to make the seasoning which you can store in a jar for later or simply do it like every haitian by making fresh seasonings each time you cook. Of course there are many variation of this recipe and it depends on the cook as to how hot he or she wants his seasoning or how simple. Years ago, before the advent of chicken bouillon a piece of lard used to be added to the seasoning.

Savory food is not only the type of dishes that Haitian add spices to, desserts, drinks such as milk, shakes and porridge are spiced with vanilla essence which is the item that every haitian households has in its cabinet, cinnamon, star anise and lime peel, often you will find that people add lemongrass leaves in milk as well.

Scotch bonnet pepper unless you are blending the seasonning for marinades is always added unbroken to food like you see in the picture. It is added for the perfume of the pepper not to make the food hot.

Regardless of the way you decide to blend or additional ingredients that you choose to include in your seasoning it sure to add flavors into your dishes and bring you a wonderful taste of haiti.

Ground Spices/Haitian seasoning

 Servings: Makes 1 quart


 2 garlic head, peeled
 1 green bell peppers
 2 onions
5 scallion sprigs
10 cloves
1 teaspoon of Black pepper
15 parsley sprigs, leaves only
½ cup oil 
3 chicken cubes
10 twigs of thym
2 scotch bonnet pepper 
juice of 3-4 limes or 1/4 c of white vinegar
1 tablespoon of coarse salt


Grind all the ingredients together in a blender or wooden pestle and place in a 1-quart jar.  Keep refrigerated.  You can reduce the recipe to make fresh seasoning for each meal if you desire.

Fish Marinade


2 onions
2 cloves of garlic
3 sprigs parsley
Scotch bonnet pepper at will
2 limes


This preparation gives a great  taste to raw fish before cooking. In a large bowl, mix 2 chopped onions, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, 3 sprigs parsley, pepper dosed according to your taste with the juice of 2 limes. Pepper, salt and stir occasionally.

Bouquet Garni


   4 sprigs of parsley
   2 Thyme
   1 bay leaf
   1 to 2 celery leaves (optional)
   a piece of string
With a piece of string, tie together  all the items.

Porridge spice

For any type of porridge that you  are making to the exception of Akasan/AK-100 you add 1 to 2 cinnamon sticks a couple of star anise, vanilla essence and sometimes when lacking one or two fo the items half a lime peel which will be removed at the end of the cooking.


For Akasan/AK-100 you will need cinnamon sticks, star anise, vanilla essence and malaget

Milk Spice

You can spice your hot milk with either lemongrass leaf or cinnamon stick and star anise.

Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate needs only cinnamon sticks, star anise and a dash of vanilla essence.


Shakes depending on the amount you are making for individual serving just a dash of vanilla essence if more it is up to the judgement of the cook as to the amount of essence to add but never too much as to overpower the taste and color of the fruit shake.  Please use Haitian Vanilla essence the taste is completely different from what one finds in the traditional supermarket. 

Essential in Haitian cooking


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