aka Pebre

Chilean coriander/cilantro salsa

"The secret to good pevre," my friend Norma, who hails from Chile, informed me when she taught me this recipe, "is not to put in too much tomato."

I get nervous posting recipes from other cultures; what if I get it wrong? So I checked online to find others to compare it to. It turns out it's one of those recipes where every household has their own way of making it. Norma added a little garlic and chilli to hers to give it a kick. I don't. But you can. All the recipes I found use way more tomato than I do. I really wouldn't. Norma's secret works a treat. I reckon it's also what makes this salsa distinctly Chilean as opposed to something people might whip up in Mexico.

Given how exceedingly simple it is, you may be surprised the first time you taste it. I was. So were many of the folk I have introduced this to. At a party, one of my former colleagues threw all niceties to the wind, grabbed a spoon, and started spooning it into her mouth. "It's addictive, isn't it?" she asked. By the way, it's pronounced "pev-ray", with the V sounding like it could almost be a B, and there is no direct translation into English.

Makes a medium tub (it will fit into a 500g yoghurt pot); serves 8 - 10 as a dip...or 2 devotees with spoons.


1 medium-to-smallish tomato

1/2 a red onion

salt and a pinch of black pepper

a large bunch of coriander/cilantro

the juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon olive oil



First, skin your tomato. Score a cross into the skin on the base and another on the top, place in a bowl and cover with boiling water until the skin starts to peel away (about 1 minute). Remove the tomato and refresh it in cold water before peeling off the skin.


Chop the tomato and the red onion very finely. You can see they produce roughly the same amount. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper.

Pick over the coriander and remove any yellowing or damaged leaves, then chop it just as finely. Add it to the bowl.

Pour over the lemon juice, toss, then drizzle with the oil before tossing again.


Taste and adjust the seasonings and lemon juice - if they're small lemons, you may need more than one.

Chill in the fridge for an hour or two before serving, so the acids can do their work. Stir well before serving.

Best on the day it's made, but will last up to 3 days in the fridge.

Any questions? You can use the comments form at the bottom of the page.

Did you know?

You'll find recipes at the back of all the books in the Send for Octavius Guy series:

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