Some Like It Hot ! Piri Piri, The African Devil

Posted by Marianne Hoesen on Thursday, September 18, 2014 Under: food and drink

Thanks to Columbus you can now enjoy the famous chicken piri piri here in the Algarve. He was the one that brought this fiery pepper from South America to Europe and the Portuguese then took it with them to Mozambique and Angola, where it became an important fruit to the natives as well as Portuguese. 

Piri Piri is Swahili for "pepper pepper", but this cultivar of Capsicum frutescens is also know as peri peri, African birdseye Chili, or African Devil. It is a relative to the Tabasco chile. Here in Portugal piri piri refers to the sauce that is made with this chillie as a key ingredient.

The piri piri sauce is used in many dishes. It tastes great with chicken, fish, pork ribs and shrimp, but is also an important ingredient in casseroles, stews or rissottos. In every restaurant there is some kind of piri piri on the table to spice up your meal and there exist lots of different recipes for this wonderful sauce. Here is the one we use ourselves:

Piri Piri sauce

Chop up 150 grams of piri piri peppers, including the seeds, and 4-6 cloves of garlic.
Heat 0,5 liter of olive oil and add the piri piri and the garlic. Stir for a few minutes.
Add a glass of good whisky, the juice of a lemon and a teaspoon a paprika powder and stir well. Fill the hot mixture into sterilized glass jars.
It develops its full aroma after a couple of weeks. Be careful: it is very hot!

This sauce is great to marinade your chicken in! 


Piri Piri chili is quite hot. In comparison: on the Scoville Heat Units list it gets 300.000 points, whereas tabasco and cayenne only get 50.000 points. 

Did you know this about chilies?
  • Chilies will clear your sinuses. After eating them your nose starts to run. Therefore they are great to fight off the flu or hay fever!
  • They are tonic and antiseptic.
  • They stimulate the digestive system and speed up your metabolism
  • Rubbed on the skin, they stimulate blood flow (good for sprains, rheumatic pains)
  • Chillies contain more Vitamine C than other fruit ( YES, its is a fruit!)
  • Some like it hot, but if it turns out to be too much heat you can try the following remedies: yoghurt, ice cream or any other dairy product , avocado or peanuts, banana or cucumber. Do NOT use water, beer or any other fizzy drink, because this only worsens the sensation of the capsaicin. 
  • The hottest part of a chillie is the flesh around the seeds and the seeds themselves. 
  • If you work with chillies it is recommended to wear gloves, but at least wash your hands very well after you finish and make sure not to touch your eyes or nose or other sensitive parts of your body.....

In : food and drink 

Tags: piri piri  peri peri  african devil  frango piri piri  chicken piri piri  capsicum frutescens 

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About Me

Marianne Hoesen Born in the deep south of The Netherlands, I moved to the central Algarve in 2007, together with my partner and 2 dogs. In the meantime we added some goats and chickens and are living a peaceful life in the rolling hills of the rural south of Portugal. I invite you to read a bit in my blog and to leave a comment afterwards. Also check out the holiday accommodations mentioned elsewhere in this website.


Algarve Portugal
café Portugal, bica
Esteva, rock rose, Algarve
sun, beach, Algarve
real cork real wine
beach Algarve
folklore dance Algarve
chicken piri piri

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