Dogs Nose Salsa (Xni Pec) – Habanero salsa from the Yucatan

Dogs Nose Salsa, or its proper name Xni Pec, is another Mexican salsa with a funny name, e.g Pico de gallo (The rooster’s beak). Xni-Pec (pronounced ‘shnee pek’) is ancient Mayan for ‘The Dog’s Nose’, probably because you’ll be sweating like a Dog’s nose after eating it because of the addition of habanero chilli peppers.

Xni Pec - Dogs nose salsa

Xni Pec – Dogs nose salsa

This habanero salsa hails from the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, not surprisingly as the Yucatan is the world’s largest producer of habaneros, and is a common table sauce throughout the region and is served at most meals. While travelling around the Yucatan a few years ago, I got addicted to this particular salsa. The fruity taste of the habaneros, along with their citrusy aroma, go particularly with the orange juice in the salsa and makes it a good accompaniment for fish, chicken or enjoyed just with tortilla chips.

Habanero Chilli Peppers

Habanero Chilli Peppers

Habanero chilli peppers used to be regarded as the hottest chilli pepper in the world, but it has lost that claim to fame many times over to chillies such as the Bhut Jolokia, Trinidad Scorpion Butch T and the Carolina Reaper. Though the habanero has lost title as the world’s hottest chilli, it still packs a mighty punch at between 100000 to 350000 Scovilles. Compare that to a Jalapeño, which most people will know of, at between 2500 to 8000 Scovilles. When preparing the habaneros for this salsa you can choose to discard the seeds if you want, but don’t be mistaken that you will have reduced the heat, as chilli peppers have the majority of their heat in the placenta, i.e. the white pith.

XniPec de Yucatan – Dogs Nose Salsa

Total time: 45 mins


  • 1 medium ripe tomato
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 or 3 Habanero peppers
  • Juice from half an orange
  • Juice from half a lime
  • 1 small handful of cilantro (fresh coriander)
  • Salt to taste


  1. First roast the Habanero peppers and remove the skins. See this post how to roast peppers.

    Roasted Habanero Peppers

    Roasted Habanero Peppers

  2. Chop the chiles finely and add to a bowl.
  3. Finely dice the tomato, onion and cilantro and add them to the bowl with the habaneros.
  4. Add the orange and lime juices to the bowl and combine.

    Xni-Pec ingredients

    Xni-Pec ingredients

  5. Add some salt to taste
  6. Refrigerate the Xni-pec for about half an hour before serving to allow the flavors to blend together.
  7. Serve with grilled meats or with tortilla chips as a snack.
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