"Epis" Haitian Marinade

"Epis" Haitian Marinade

Growing up as the only girl in a Haitian household meant learning how to cook was an absolute must. My first cooking lesson involved going over a list of Haitian axioms.

1. You are not a woman if you do not know how to cook.

2. No one will marry you if you do not know how to cook.

3. If some how you found someone to marry you and you do not know how to cook he will send you back home.

WELP! After hearing the list and seeing the demand for from my grandfather (he did not eat leftovers and required freshly cooked meals everyday) I had decided that I would not marry a Haitian man. At eleven I thought they required too much. Nevertheless here I am much older I learned never say never and I have been that woman who cooks three hardy meals in one day.

Haitian dishes have a very distinct flavors when it comes to savory and sweet dishes. The key to our sweet dishes is cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg, and Almond essence (we like to call it Essence). As for our savory dishes “Epis” is our secret weapon. It is a marinade of blended herbs, veggies and spices.

There are several different recipes for Epis. I am sharing how we make it in my family.


3-4 cloves of garlic (peeled)
2 bell peppers (green & red)
3 scallion sprigs
1-2 scotch bonnet (optional)
1 bunch fresh parsley sprigs
1-2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup olive oil


   Place all ingredients into a blender. You may need to add a little at a time if all the ingredients do not fit. Blend until has consistency close to applesauce. Pour mixture into a container with a lid and keep refrigerated for future use.

Traditionally “Epis” was made with a mortar and pestle. I do both. The epis with mortar and pestle has more intense flavor in my opinion. Epis can be used to season your vegetables, meat substitutes, rice, and more stay tuned to recipes that include it as an ingredient. Salt can be substituted with vegetable bouillon cube normally maggi is used but it contains MSG which has negative impact on your health. Also pictured is mini bell peppers.

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