Salsa Lizano

My friend (and colleague) brought in this delicious sauce to work a few weeks ago. Her husband is Costa Rican, and he had been gifted a very large bottle of this sauce to use. As we are an office of food-lovers, sauces are always welcome. We love trying new sauces, new dips, new everything.


She told us that the sauce was called Salsa Lizano. It is specific brand of sauce, called Lizano, but similar recipes for the sauce are all over the internet. It has a saltiness to it, along with a hint of spice brought on by cumin. And my goodness, it goes well with so many things. Rice, chicken, vegetables, fish. You name it.

Of course, being me, I needed to see whether it was easy enough to make in the comfort of my tiny kitchen. So I looked at various recipes on the internet and on Pinterest, and found that all of them looked fairly simple.


I had originally planned to make the sauce over the weekend that we were hit by Typhoon Manghkut. However, as my gas ran out halfway through Sunday, I couldn’t start the Lizano until I had a new bottle connected up. Luckily that was only 24 hours, and so the sauce making commenced.

The sauce isn’t meant to be super spicy, it’s meant to just have a slight kick, but is mainly salty and cumin-y. I highly recommend making this and eating everything with it. In fact, I’m off to have some with my lunch.



6 or 7 small dried chillies (or 2 large dried chillies), I used piri piri
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 5-inch piece of thick carrot, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoons white vinegar (unflavoured)
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon molasses
1 vegetable stock cube, or 2 teaspoons of powdered vegetable stock.

  1. Remove the stems of the chillies, slice lengthways and remove the seeds and any fibrous material.
  2. Place a pan or skillet on a medium heat, then toast the chillies for 2 – 3 minutes. Add the water to the pan, lower the heat and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the chillies from the pan, and add them to a blender. Add 1 cup of the chilli water to the blender as well.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients to the blender. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning if required.
  5. Transfer to an air-tight container. The sauce will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

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