Bajan Pepper Sauce

Issue 3, 2018, JamaicanEats magazine

Makes 1 cup (240 ML)

This style of pepper sauce is what I grew up eating in Barbados, and this recipe is my personal go-to pepper sauce. The original recipe uses fresh turmeric, but that can be hard to come by. If you can’t find it, you can substitute ground turmeric. Red Scotch bonnet peppers give this sauce its characteristic orange color with red flecks. Pepper sauce is something that some people can handle and others cannot. Start with just a bit and increase the amount gradually until you learn your limit. Because of its flavor and heat, pepper sauce used to be called a meal saver; if people found a dish unappetizing, they would add a bit of pepper sauce to make it more edible. Pepper sauce is used in sandwiches as well as in most soups and stews in Barbados, and it’s almost always offered on the table at local restaurants. In a pinch, you can use Tabasco or another hot sauce in its place, but try to make this sauce. It will give your recipes authentic Caribbean flavor.

  • ½ cup (120 ml) finely grated fresh turmeric, or 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) American-style prepared mustard
  • 3 Scotch bonnet or habanero peppers (seeded if you prefer less spicy)
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1½ teaspoons pink or sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar


  1. Put all of the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.
  2. Transfer to a clean jar, seal, and refrigerate. This pepper sauce will keep for as long as 1 year in the fridge.

Recipe from Caribbean Vegan: Meat-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free, Authentic Island Cuisine for Every Occasion, Expanded Second Edition © Taymer Mason, 2016. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold. 

-By Taymer Mason

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