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  • David Skarin

Peri Peri Sauce

Updated: Jan 21, 2021

I love bringing global flavors and techniques into my cooking. Peri Peri, also known as Piri Piri in some parts of the world, is a sauce that originated in South Africa. Some people say it originated in Portugal but the primary pepper is African Birds Eye which is grown where? You guessed it, Africa, not Portugal.

I first became aware of this amazing sauce when I studied abroad in South Africa while in graduate school. I was with a group of about 30 other students and we stumbled across a fast casual restaurant by the name on Nando’s and their specialty was Peri Peri chicken. Needless to say, we ate there every opportunity we could. Upon my return home, I wanted to recreate that sauce to the best of my ability. After researching many “original” recipes, I came up with this and it is really damn good! Just ask my neighbor Jamie, she raves about this sauce.

This sauce is extremely versatile and can be used on poultry, vegetables, and fish.

Please note, I adjusted this recipe for my kids. My son is 3 and daughter is 1 so heat doesn’t really sit well with them just yet. I’ll tell you where you can sub ingredients for more heat.


Fast Facts

Category: Sauces

Estimated Cook Time: 15 Minutes

Cook Date: September 18, 2020


Ingredient List

  • 2 red bell peppers

  • 2 red Anaheim chili peppers

NOTE: you are aiming for a total weight of 1 pound in red peppers. I just use the grocery store scale in the produce department to know how much I should buy. This is where you can significantly increase the heat. The traditional recipe calls for African Birds Eye peppers which you probably won’t find in your local grocery store. You’ll need to visit an international grocery store to make this the traditional way. For me and my cook, I used two red bell peppers and 2 red anaheim chili peppers. I deseeded both. For the record, when I tasted the sauce before cooking, I thought it may be too spicy but upon cooking there was near zero heat coming through. So, if you want heat, you can decrease the red bell pepper and increase the red Anaheim pepper count to your preference.

  • 1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

  • ¼ cup diced yellow sweet onion

  • 6 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, stems removed

  • 2 tablespoons basil

  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons oregano

  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika

  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt

  • 2 teaspoons sweet chili sauce (can substitute sriracha is desired)

  • 1 teaspoon pepper

  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard

Supply List



Step 1: combine all ingredients, except olive oil, in a blender or food processor and blend while slowly incorporating the olive oil. If you want a more dipping sauce consistency, add more olive oil.

Step 2: Serve and enjoy!

Lessons Learned (Note: I will update this section to include your lessons learned from the comment section)


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