Pumpkin Seed Dip

This Caribbean pepper is famous for being the hottest chile pepper in the world. They come in a variety of shapes and colors(yellow, orange,green, red,chocolate). Not only are they extremely hot, but they also have a unique,distinctively fruity flavor.

It is the key ingredient in the popular Jamaican Jerk sauce. The habanero is also widely used in many different types of hot sauces. The popularity of this chile pepper continues to grow and is becoming easier to find on the grocery shelf.

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1 cup green pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
2 small cloves garlic, peeled and seeded
1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
1 habanero or Scotch bonnet chile (or to taste), seeded and minced
kosher salt to taste
8 oz. vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
1 small jicama, peeled, thinly sliced and soaked in ice water
8 small radishes, preferably with greens, cleaned
6-8 oz. of hot tortilla chips

Place the pumpkin seeds in a wide saute pan and toast over moderate heat, shaking and stirring constantly (about 5 minutes) or until they turn a shade darker green and begin to pop. (Do not allow the seeds to brown or scorch.) Cool completely.

Transfer the pumpkin seeds to a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground. (Do not overgrind into a powder.) Place the garlic, onion, chile and a pinch of salt in a molcajete mortar or heavy bowl. Pound with the pestle or with the end of a rolling pin until the vegetables are slightly mashed. Add half the tomatoes and the ground pumpkin seeds. Continue to mash until well-blended. Stir in the remaining tomato and cilantro. Adjust salt to taste. Wipe the edges of the molcajete or transfer dip to a roomy serving bowl. Drain and blot dry the jicama. Arrange the jicama and radishes around the edge of the molcajete or serving bowl. Serve a basket of chips alongside.

Yields 4 appetizer servings.

Recipe from Chile Pepper Magazine.