21. May, 2017

African Piri Piri Sauce (Molho de Piri-Piri)

The Swahili word for pepper is pili pili. Piri Piri is based upon the Portuguese interpretation of that word. Portugal sent chilies to its two African colonies of Angola and Mozambique about 200 years ago because it could not find a commercial use for them, and it was in the town of Beira (Mozambique) in the late 1890s that an elderly lady managed to produce this superlative of all salivating sauces. This hot sauce is a very popular and traditional recipe based upon the Angolan and Mozambique sauce and is used to add flavor to many dishes. It can be more or less hot depending on your preference. It can be used to make many different popular dishes like Mozambique Prawns or Frango Piri Piri. Like all chili peppers, piri piri is descended from South American cultivars, but piri piri has grown in the wild in Africa for centuries and is now cultivated commercially in Zambia, Uganda, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. It grows mainly in Malawi, Zambia, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. It is cultivated for both commercial food processing and the pharmaceutical industry. Cultivation of piri piri is labor-intensive.[

Piri - Piri is something that is never missing at our home. Luisa being brought up in Africa acquired the taste for this tremendous hot sauce  very early in her youth. It's actually funny  that none of her family member like the stuff. Before meeting her I was never very fond of Piri-Piri, but now I must admit that it gives a great taste to some dishes especially grilled prawns or grilled chicken. In the Portuguese gastronomy we learned early to appreciate what this mixture of the gods brings to our palate. It is not at all consensual, but for us, the spicy in the right amount helps to open the flavors, to accentuate the palate. The right amount changes from person to person. But this is for each of you to find out. I just want to help you to have a good spice at home. And it costs very little to make. Then it's just everyone to pick up on these ideas, change your taste and reach your own recipe. Everyone puts  in their little " tricks ".


  1. Piri-piri sacana
  2. Red (or green) chillies
  3. Bay leaf
  4. Whiskey
  5. Lemon
  6. Olive oil


  1. Start by chopping very well the piri - piris, chillies ​​and garlic
  2. Place them in a small small bottle or jar.
  3. Add the crushed bay leaf 
  4. Add the lemon juice, the olive oil and the whiskey
  5. Seal the bottle and kept it in a dark place. 

For this recipe you will need: Olive oil, Piri - Piri sacana ( dry piri - piri), red chili peppers (may also use greens), bay leaf, garlic, whiskey and lemon. Start by chopping very well the piri - piri, the chili peppers and the garlic cloves. Place all in a small bottle or jar along with the crushed bay leaf. Then the lemon juice, the olive oil and the whiskey are added. The quantities will depend on each one`s taste. There are those who use sunflower oil, because they like it better, others because they say it preserves longer than olive oil. I personally prefer the olive oil for the taste, but I also add the whiskey not only for flavor but also to help conserve it.

After all the ingredients are well mixed, the well-sealed bottle or jar is left in a dark place. As a rule, the spicy flavor will be very intense in the early days, and then softening, getting better as time goes by.