Piri Piri Hot Sauce

In a roundabout way, piri piri hot sauce is about the Cape of Good Hope. The sauce is based on the Portuguese discovery of bird’s eye chilis in Mozambique, once known as Portuguese East Africa. The sauce has since become an institution in South Africa.

The story begins in the late 15th century, as many Portuguese culinary stories do. Portugal was obsessed with finding a seaway to the spice riches of India. After multiple failed attempts, Bartolomeu Dias was sent to sail around the very bottom of Africa where it was believed India would be waiting just around the bend. It wasn’t. What they found was the country of Mozambique and the bright-red spicy bird’s eye pepper called piri piri. The traders brought these peppers back home where Portuguese cooks incorporated them into a sauce for grilled chicken. That sauce was then shared with their other colonies in South Africa, Brazil, Angola, Macau, and Gao, India.

South African piri piri

Piri Piri Hot Sauce

Africa's gift to Portuguese cuisine, the hot chili pepper, was passed along to 15th century Portuguese colonies in Angola, Mozambique, Goa India, and Brazil. This tangy hot sauce can serve as a marinade for chicken and other meats as well as to enhance foods like eggs and potatoes.
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Course: Condiment
Cuisine: African, Brazil, Portuguese, South Africa
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2 cups
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • Food Processor or blender


  • 4 small Birds eye chili or Thai red hot chili
  • 3 medium Jalapeno or serrano chiles, seeded
  • 2 Bay leaves, crumbled
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 4 cloves Garlic, peeled
  • 1 tsp Black pepper
  • 1 tbsp Red chile flakes
  • 1 tbsp Oregano
  • 1 large Lemon, juiced
  • cup Malt vinegar
  • ½ cup Vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 large Red bell pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 small Sweet onion, roughly chopped


  • Put all the ingredients in a food processor or blender. Puree to a smooth paste. Season as necessary and put in a sealed jar.


  • Sealed tight, Piri Piri sauce will keep a few months in the refrigerator.


Calories: 609kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 56g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 32g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Sodium: 1249mg | Potassium: 592mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 3815IU | Vitamin C: 143mg | Calcium: 125mg | Iron: 3mg

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