Jun 9

Habanero Soy Sauce—Sushi served with a souvenir from Cancun.

in Appetizers, Japanese, Mexican, Recipes By Region, Recipes by Type, Rice & Noodles, Sauces & Condiments, Travel

Our trip to Cancun last week was wonderful.Sushi ready to dip in habanero soy sauce

We stayed at the beautiful Excellence Playa Mujeres which is north of Cancun city.  While our girls were busy keeping Fuji Nana and Fuji Papa on their toes, we were busy drinking some of these,

Tropical drinks

enjoying the warm water of the Carribean Sea and the beautiful beach,

Cancun Beach

and enjoying the fun wildlife.

Cancun Iguana

One of the days we took a trip out into the Yucatán peninsula.  We went to the Cenote Ik Kil, or the “Sacred Blue Cenote.”  A cenote is a naturally formed water-filled sinkhole.  This particular cenote is perfectly round, 196 feet wide and about 130 feet deep.  The water is about 82 feet from the surface, which you reach by walking down a large stone stairway along the outer edge.  It was beautiful, with tree roots hanging down from the walls and edges of the sinkhole and beautiful clear blue water.

Inside the cenote looking up

We then spent the rest of the day exploring the ruins of Chichen Itza in the Yucatan jungle, once the political and economic center of Mayan civilization, and now one of the new seven wonders of the world.

In front of the big pyramid at Chichen ItzaRuins at Chichen ItzaStone Carving

Two of our other days were spent scuba diving.

Rachael in Cancun

We did a shallow 30-foot reef dive on one day, and then an 80-foot shipwreck dive and a 50-foot reef dive on another day.

The Fujis

The water was very choppy on the 2nd day of diving and a bunch of people got sea sick.  It’s amazing how calm the ocean is though, once you get below the surface!  The sea life was stunning and we enjoyed seeing lots of coral, angelfish, barracuda, a huge moray eel, and a variety of other things.

School of fish

We also did a bunch of activities at our resort, such as enjoying a circus show, going on a bike ride, and going on a tour of the resort kitchens.

Prepping desserts in the Excellence kitchens

The food at the resort was quite good, though some things were better than others.  What I did love was the abundant use of habanero peppers in many of the dishes, a pepper that is believed to have originated in the Yucatán Peninsula.  I especially loved some grilled grouper served with a simple habanero sauce made from habanero peppers and lime juice that I ate for dinner one night, and sushi served with habanero soy sauce that was offered at lunch.

Beautiful bright habanero peppers

Since coming home I’ve been going through habanero withdrawals and decided to whip up my own version of the habanero soy sauce to go with some sushi.  It is very quick and easy to make.  I suggest wearing gloves when preparing the habaneros, as the oils from the peppers will stay on your hands for a long time afterwards and will burn, especially if you happen to touch your face!

Cut open, clean out seeds and membranes, and thinly slice habanero peppers

For very spicy soy sauce, use an entire pepper.  For medium spicy, use half of a pepper and for mild, use a couple of slices to 1/4 of the pepper.  You can always start with a few slices and add more if it’s not spicy enough!

Lightly crush the pepper slices with the back of a spoon

All you have to do is lightly crush the slices of habanero pepper with the back of a spoon so that they release their juices and frangrance.

Add fresh lime juice and then let the soy sauce sit for about 5 minutes

Then you pour in some soy sauce and freshly squeezed lime juice, let it sit for about 5 minutes to let all of the flavors mingle and develop, and then strain out the slices of pepper and serve the sauce with sushi!

Habanero Soy Sauce

The citrusy heat of the habanero blends nicely with the tang of the lime juice and is a delicious Mayan compliment to the sushi.

Dipping sushi in habanero soy sauce

Print This Recipe Print This Recipe

Habanero Soy Sauce

Makes about 1/2 cup

1 habanero pepper
1/2 cup soy sauce
freshly squeezed lime juice, 1/2 lime

1. Cut open the habanero pepper and scrape out the seeds and membrane, being careful not to get the juices of the pepper on your skin.  Slice the pepper into thin slices.  For very spicy soy sauce, use the entire pepper.  For medium spicy, use half of the pepper.  For mild, use a couple of slices to 1/4 of the pepper.

2. Place the pepper slices in a bowl and lightly crush them with the back of a spoon to release the juices.  Pour the soy sauce and lime juice over the slices and stir everything together with a spoon.  Let the sauce sit for about 5 minutes.

3. Strain out the slices of pepper and serve as a dipping sauce for sushi.

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Paula - bell'alimento June 9, 2010 at 11:48 am

I’m sweating just looking at that ; ) You spicy hot fuji mama! So I’m going to guess YOU used the entire pepper right ; ) Loved all the pics! So glad you & Mr. Fuji had an awesome time! xoxo


Belinda @zomppa June 9, 2010 at 11:49 am

Great combination! I’m super sensitive to hot peppers so gloves are a sure necessity. Your vacation looks awesome.


Victoria June 9, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Hot hot hot!! I doubt I could handle all that habanero action, but maybe I could try the milder version of this sauce, haha.


damaris June 9, 2010 at 12:03 pm

I want a vacay!


Amber June 9, 2010 at 12:12 pm

What a fun vacation! Thanks for sharing your pictures. Those peppers look super spicy! I’m such a wimp when it comes to spice, I need to toughen up!


Fuji Nana June 9, 2010 at 1:27 pm

The real question is not “Did you use the whole pepper?” but “Did you use two peppers?” and “Did you get Squirrel to try it?” Looks yummy!


jenjenk June 9, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Beautiful photos!! Glad you had such a great time! you deserve it!!


Nova Walsh June 9, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Wow, great pictures! Looks like you had a great trip – I’m jealous :) I’ll have to try the habanero soy sauce – my husband and I both LOVE spicy. Thanks for the post!


Patty June 9, 2010 at 6:30 pm

Love the Yucatecan habaneros! Great idea to enjoy them with sushi. I happen to live in the southernmost part of the Yucatan. :)


sippitysup June 10, 2010 at 7:32 am

It looks like a great trip and leave it to you to find as Asian use for a Mexican pepper. Very creative and delicious I am sure. GREG


Andrea @ Fork Fingers Chopsticks June 10, 2010 at 1:24 pm

In the Yucatan, the salsas are hot. It’s another good reason to drink a cold beer, umbrella drink or an horchata. Thanks for sharing the vacation pics – makes me miss the beach.


Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction June 10, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Yum… That soy sauce looks fantastic. I love spicy things. Next year I need to grow some habanero’s in my garden. I do really well with hot peppers for some reason… That’s pretty much the only thing I can grow! (I’m sure that says something about me, or my personality, or something)


Nancy aka SpicieFoodie June 10, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Ok now that I’ve wiped the drool off my mouth, hehe, WOW! Love love your recipe! Habaneros are such a unique pepper and oh so delicious & spicy. What a great combination and beautiful photos.


Christie A. June 10, 2010 at 9:35 pm

I am so jealous! That looks like an awesome getaway. And anything spicy, makes it even better.


Jenny Flake June 11, 2010 at 8:36 am

Wow! What a trip, I could look at your cancun pics all day! LOVE the looks of that spicy soy sauce, YUM!


Maria June 11, 2010 at 8:36 am

What a fun trip. I am jealous! And now I am craving sushi!


She's Cookin' June 11, 2010 at 9:08 am

Gorgeous photos of an unforgettable trip, I’m sure! And Congrats, on the FB Top 9 – that sushi looks incredible!


Michelle June 11, 2010 at 9:20 am

Your pictures are so much fun and I’m so happy you had a great time! The sushi looks so good!


Michelle @ Brown Eyed Baker June 11, 2010 at 9:29 am

Looks like an awesome vacation, and love the twist on typical soy sauce. Now I’m craving sushi! Might have to convince my boyfriend that tonight is sushi night!


Maggy June 11, 2010 at 11:43 am

Love your vacation photos! Looks like you guys had a blast. Great recipe – love sushi and I love anything hot!


Lawyer Loves Lunch June 11, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Oooh, a spicy soy sauce?! Count me in. And like everyone else, I too think the sushi looks spectacular. Tonight may have to be a sushi night :)


Jen @ How To: Simplify June 11, 2010 at 2:22 pm

I love your vacation photos! It sounds like you had a ton of fun! I now have a mad craving for sushi!


Cookin' Canuck June 11, 2010 at 8:05 pm

It looks as though you had a fabulous trip, filled with a good mixture of adventure and relaxation. This soy sauce is brilliant! I can’t wait to try it the next time we make sushi.


Tracy June 14, 2010 at 6:17 am

I love Cancun. :-) Beautiful sauce! I so would have loved to do a tour of the kitchens!


[email protected] Opera Singer in Kitchen June 15, 2010 at 10:36 pm

Lovely post! I have been to all those sights! Looks like you had a great time.


[email protected] June 20, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Wow – spicy soy sauce – that would be right up Neil’s alley!

Love the pics from your trip – you are so brave to go diving. I will snorkel but that’s about it!


ivoryhut June 25, 2010 at 7:15 am

That looks gorgeous! In the Philippines, a popular dipping sauce for dumplings as well as grilled meats is soy sauce, kalamansi juice (our version of lemon/lime), and bird peppers. But I wouldn’t have thought to use it for sushi. Now I will!


ivoryhut June 25, 2010 at 7:16 am

Oh, and I just got my diver’s license last year, so I was excited to see your dive photos!


Noah Allison November 18, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Habanero Soy Sauce made my day! Thank you for sharing this! The sourness of the soy counteracts the habanero perfectly- A true combination that I would have never thought of!

Thank you,



Kail June 27, 2014 at 4:38 pm

This is crazy! I remember the sauce you’re talking about at la playa mujeres! I went to the same hotel and I even remember this exact sauce! I went 4 years ago and still remember it!


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