Homemade Mapuche Merkén Spicy Recipe
Homemade Mapuche Merkén Spicy Recipe

Merkén, also known as Merquén or Meshken, is a spicy condiment of Mapuche origin that has become a hallmark of Chile’s heritage cuisine and is now recognized worldwide.

How to make Mapuche Merkén?

Its preparation is based on a mixture of dried and smoked “cacho de cabra” chili peppers, ground on stone with sea salt and coriander seeds, which provide a natural preservative effect.

Nutritional Information

Category: Spicies
Cuisine: Chilean
Calories: 100
Preparation Time: 45 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 10 people

Homemade Mapuche Merkén Recipe


  • 200 g of dried “cacho de cabra” chili peppers
  • 75 g of coarse sea salt
  • 50 g of coriander seeds


  1. For homemade smoking, distribute the dried chilies on a metal kitchen tray. Place some native wood shavings at the bottom of the oven, turn the temperature to the maximum until the shavings begin to smoke, then lower the temperature to the minimum and maintain for 40 minutes, ensuring it does not burn.
  2. In a medium skillet, add coriander seeds and chilies without the stems, heat over medium heat for a couple of minutes, stirring gently with a wooden spoon until the mixture produces an intense aroma. Remove from heat.
  3. In a large stone mortar, grind the chilies, salt, and coriander seeds until a coarse, flaky texture is achieved, never powdered. Another option is to use a food processor or a clean coffee grinder, always being careful not to grind too much.
  4. Cool and store the merkén in a cool, dry place until ready to use.

Tips for consuming Merkén

Merkén’s use is increasingly widespread in Chilean gastronomy, from small kitchens to exclusive restaurants, also positioning itself as one of the most recognized condiments in Latin America.

It is an ingredient whose versatility and ability to enhance various recipes, from garlic sauces, breads, and crackers to all types of stews, are limitless.

Did you know?

Originating in the Araucanía Region, its name comes from the Mapudungun expression “medkeñ chadi” (ground salt), as it was initially a seasoning made from crushed salt mixed with chili. Today, it is considered one of the symbols of 21st-century Chilean gastronomy.


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