Saturday, May 14, 2011

Piri Piri Sauce

Piri Piri Sauce is pretty much a staple in any Portuguese home.

Just like anything else, there are a TON of variations and different ways to make this hot sauce and it pretty much depends where you are and where you get it, or who taught you how to make it.

I was born in Mozambique on the East of Africa and one of the things they're very well known for as well is their Piri Piri Sauce which goes great when you're enjoying it with freshly caught Prawns or Crab from the local market.

What exactly is Piri Piri??

"Piri-piri" means "pepper-pepper" in Swahili, the pan-African language, and sometimes the chile is called "pili-pili." It is a generic term that can apply to any member of the Capsicum genus, but in Portugal it specifically refers to a small-fruited variety that resembles a piquin. The question is: how did it get to Portugal? The answer is ironic because after Columbus brought back chile seeds to the Iberian Peninsula on his second voyage to the New World, Portuguese traders carried the seeds to their African colonies of Angola and Mozambique.

Soon, spread by birds, traders, and farmers, chiles conquered all of Africa and became an inexpensive way for people to spice up their bland foods. Sometime during this process, traders took small, hot pods back to Portugal where they were called "piri-piri," the Swahili term.

This is the way I make mine, but like I said, there are so many versions out there but if you're looking for an amazing, never to be forgotten, grilled chicken basted in the most delicious hot sauce, you have got to try it.

My fondest memories are of Galinha no Churrasco or Grilled Chicken which is something that's on the menu for this coming week, so if you're interested, keep an eye out here on the blog :)

Piri Piri Sauce
Piri Piri Sauce

Chilies, in Portugal we call them Malaguetas, but you can use whatever you have on hand
1 cup olive oil
5 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves

Remove the stem from the chilies and chop them into smaller pieces.  Drop it into a small bowl.  Remember to include the seeds as well. The amount of chilies you use is totally up to you, if you want it hotter add more....I only used 5 and it's hot enough for us as it will get even more heat as it steeps in the refrigerator.

Piri Piri Sauce

Add the olive oil, garlic and bay leaves.

Piri Piri Sauce

Using a hand blender, blend everything well, check to make sure that all the ingredients are pureed.

Piri Piri Sauce

Pour into a mason jar, close tightly and shake well.  Place in the refrigerator and let it steep for a few days, the longer it sits, the hotter it gets.  Shake well after every use.

It will keep in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Come back this coming week where I'll show you how to make the BEST grilled chicken you've ever tasted.


  1. Hi Sandra,

    I've been away from the computer for a while and just stopped in to see if you'd posted any yummy recipes.

    Of course, I haven't been disappointed ... They all sound scrumpteous.


  2. This Piri Piri Sauce sounds so delish but I can't find your recipe for grilled chicken. Can you guide me to that recipe?