The use of peri-peri chillies and sauces filtered into South Africa from our Portuguese-speaking neighbouring countries Mozambique and Angola. The peri-peri (also called African Bird’s Eye or Piri-Piri) chilli is a member of the capsicum family of chillies. Compared to the average chilli it’s quite small and very hot. If you can’t get hold of it, use any small and potent chilli. But best is to get yourself a plant and cultivate them at home; they grow quite easily in most parts of South Africa.
In real braai life you will use peri-peri sauce often. It goes particularly well with braaied steak, chicken, fish and prawns. Due to the combination of ingredients it will easily last for weeks inside your fridge and the flavour gets even better after standing for a few days. I suggest you make it in large quantities.
What you need
- 8 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- ½ cup oil
- ½ cup grape vinegar (red or white)
- ½ cup lemon juice
- ½ cup water
- 1 tot paprika powder
- 1 tot chilli powder
- 1 tot salt
- a few small hot chillies (peri-peri/African Bird’s Eye – chopped)
What to do
- Finely chop the garlic and throw this into a glass bottle or jar with the oil, vinegar, lemon juice, water, paprika powder, chilli powder and salt. Shake well until the ingredients are mixed and all the salt dissolved.
- Now taste the sauce and if you want it hotter, add one or more finely chopped chillies to the sauce and shake. You can add as many chillies as you wish and if, like me, you like quite a lot of burn then it might be wise to mix two batches, one with fewer chillies.
- Do not touch your eyes or any other sensitive parts of your body while you are making this sauce as the traces of chilli juice left on your hands will burn those sensitive parts. Go and wash your hands to get the chilli juices off them, and then still be careful.
- The sauce can be used immediately but will improve with age and last in your fridge for weeks. You will use the sauce as a marinade, basting sauce or normal dipping sauce on braaied food.