Pebre and green sauce are the most populars dips or sauces in Chile, and no typical Chilean restaurant serves a dish without its. Each place has its own version of the recipe, giving it unique touches. Here, I’ll share what I consider to be the base recipe.
This dip or sauce is very similar to Mexican pico de gallo, with the main difference being the level of spiciness. In Mexico, they use much hotter chili peppers (chiles). It also resembles Bolivian Llajua, which includes rocoto or locoto, making it much spicier than the Chilean version.
What is the difference between “pebre” and “chancho en piedra”?
As you can see in this recipe, all the ingredients in pebre are finely chopped, while in “chancho en piedra” (although using exactly the same ingredients) the ingredients are ground. To be more precise, they are “crushed in a stone mortar,” and its name evolved and shortened over time, leading to the term “chancho en piedra.”
Why is it called “pebre”?
The name “pebre” comes from Latin, from the word “piper,” which means chili pepper—one of the essential ingredients in this sauce. The expression “pebre cuchareado” refers to the custom of placing a small cup of it in the center of the table, and each person scoops some out with a spoon.
Tips for preparing Chilean Pebre:
If the onion is too strong or you want to soften it, there are two options, which you can use individually or both: once the onion is chopped, soak it in cold water with salt for 10 minutes, then strain it and use it.
Alternatively, you can start this recipe with only the onion and seasonings. In a bowl, mix the onion with salt, oil, and vinegar, and let it sit for 10 minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients. Add a little salt at the beginning and adjust the seasoning after the pebre is finished.
The same applies to garlic, chili pepper, and pepper.
Let the pebre rest, covered with a cloth, at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Try to chop everything to a similar and as small as possible size to better blend the flavors.
Variations of traditional Pebre:
The recipe I provide below is the most traditional one, but you can make multiple variations:
- Use only cilantro instead of cilantro and parsley.
- Add finely chopped red or green bell pepper (for a crunchy touch).
- Include chopped green onions, especially the green part, which adds color.
- Chopped avocado
- Cooked hominy
- Cooked quinoa
- Mashed quesillo or fresh cheese with a fork
These are the variations I enjoy. Do you have a favorite?
Shelf life and storage:
Once your Chilean pebre is ready, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. However, the longer it sits, the more water it will release.
Pebre is a delicious classic Chilean sauce, which is used to accompany almost everything: kneaded bread, sopaipillas, roast meats, churrascas, french fries and a long etcetera. Note that there are differences between the pebre and the stone pork, although they are almost the same ingredients, in the pebre they are all chopped and mixed and in the stone pork they are crushed on a stone.
- 2 medium tomatoes peeled and chopped into small cubes (there are people who remove the seeds, but I leave them)
- 1 medium onion peeled and chopped into small cubes
- 2 tablespoons parsley stemmed and finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons coriander stemmed and finely chopped
- 1 green chili without seeds without veins and finely chopped (the amount of chili varies according to the taste and hotness of the chili)
- 3 tablespoons oil works any mild flavor such as marigold, canola, vegetable, etc.
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or white wine
- Salt and white pepper to taste
- Optional: 2 cloves of garlic peeled and minced
In a bowl, mix the tomato, onion, cilantro, parsley, garlic and chili with a spoon. We season with oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, stir very well and let rest for at least 30 minutes (if they leave it resting from the previous day in the refrigerator it is much better). We correct the seasoning before serving and enjoy!
The flavor of the pebre improves if you let it rest for a few hours before serving.