Field Notes

Hot Sauce Field Guide: Piri Piri Sauce

Also called “peri peri,” this sauce straddles two continents. It originated in Africa, and is named for a pepper that grows wild in the south-central part of the continent (piri is the Swahili word for pepper). Then it traveled to Portugal by way of early traders, where it’s become synonymous with a beloved dish, peri peri chicken. This recipe falls somewhere between the two versions, and can be prepared as a marinade and a sauce.

Yield: 1/2 cup

  • 1/2 ounce dried piri piri chilies (or pequin chilies, if piri piris are unavailable)
  • Zest, finely grated, and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 fresh jalapeño chili, seeds and stem removed, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 fresh bay leaf, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Place the dried chilies in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit for 10 minutes, then drain the chilies and finely chop. To use as a marinade: combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Rub on chicken or shrimp and let sit in the refrigerator for one hour before cooking. To use as a sauce: Combine all the ingredients in a food processor, and pulse to combine. With the motor running, add ½ to 1 cup water, depending on the desired consistency. Transfer to a lidded container and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.