Field Notes

Introducing the Chili Lab Hot Sauce Kit

Sometimes the only thing standing between you and a new cooking adventure is the right tools. To that end, we’re thrilled to announce our latest creation, The Chili Lab Hot Sauce Kit. A collaboration with W&P Design, the Hot Sauce Kit comes with everything you need to create a bespoke chili condiment of your own.

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Piri Piri Cucumber Cooler

The bright citrus flavor of the piri piri chili enhances the cucumber and cilantro in this refreshing cocktail. And of course the chiles brings a welcome dose of heat to counteract the fresh cool flavors. 

  • a few thick slices of cucumber
  • few leaves fresh cilantro
  • 1-3 dried piri piri chili peppers (or substitute 1/4 teaspoon habanero)
  • 1 3/4 ounce gin (we like Half Moon)
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce Morris Kitchen ginger simple syrup (or plain if you don't have ginger)

Muddle cucumber, cilantro, and chili in a cocktail shaker or mixing glass until well broken and slightly mashed. Add gin, lime, and simple syrup and shake vigorously. Strain into a double rocks glass, half filled with ice. Garnish with a slice of cucumber.

makes one cocktail

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The Chili Pepper Field Guide is a growing knowledge base exploring the diverse flavors of chili peppers from around the world. We welcome your thoughts and content suggestions via email or social media using hashtag #chililab

Roasted Cauliflower Freekah with Arugula and Anchovies

In this recipe, the clean, herbal, citrusy hot flavor of piri piri is set in contrast against earthy and rich ingredients for a powerfully flavored weeknight meal. The starchy sweetness of roasted cauliflower is the perfect vessel to bring out all of the nuances of this high-octane pepper.

 

  • 1 head cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ cup olive oil, divided
  • ½ teaspoon ground piri piri chili (less if you don’t like heat)
  • Sea salt
  • ½ cup freekah
  • 6 oil-cured anchovy fillets
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups arugula
  • Juice of ½ lemon (1 to 2 teaspoons)
  • ½ cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus more for serving


Preheat the oven to 400°. Place the cauliflower florets and bay leaves in a large bowl. In a small bowl combine ¼ cup of the olive oil and the ground piri piri chili. Pour the mixture over the cauliflower and toss to coat. Transfer the cauliflower to a parchment-lined baking sheet and sprinkle evenly with salt. Roast, stirring once, for 30 to 40 minutes, until the cauliflower is browned around the edges. Discard the bay leaves and set aside.

Meanwhile, place the freekah and 1½ cups water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a skillet, heat the remaining ¼ cup olive oil. Add the anchovies and garlic and cook until anchovies are dissolved in the oil, about 3 minutes. Add the red onion and cook until the onion is softened, about 7 minutes. In a large bowl, add the roasted cauliflower, cooked freekah and the hot contents of the skillet (use a spatula to scrape out all the oil and browned bits). Add the arugula and the lemon juice and stir for a minute, until everything is nicely coated and the arugula has wilted slightly. Sprinkle with the Parmigiano, and season with additional salt to taste. Divide between bowls and serve with additional cheese on the side.

Serves 4

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The Chili Pepper Field Guide is a growing knowledge base exploring the diverse flavors of chili peppers from around the world. We welcome your thoughts and content suggestions via email or social media using hashtag #chililab

The Piri Piri Chili Pepper

Piri piri on the wall, who is the herbiest pepper of them all? Okay, the piri piri pepper might not have the greatest heat or the earthiest flavor, but it's these light nuances that actually makes this pepper so desirable. You're not so intimidated by the heat that you can actually explore the flavors fully. That is why piri piri is a staple in our Grove Blend Chili Flakes.

You can also make your own hot sauce with our Homemade Hot Sauce Kit. We provide you with two artisan hot sauce flavors in the Forager's Blend and Grove Blend. That way you can experience the complexity that is the Piri Piri in everything from your morning eggs in the morning to your Michelada at night. 

Now that you're less intimidated by this chili pepper, let's get to know the Piri Piri Pepper better!

History of the Piri Piri Pepper

You’re probably familiar with the name “piri piri” as it relates to chicken. Piri Piri Chicken is a classic dish is ubiquitous in Portugal, and its popularity has spread worldwide. But “piri piri” goes way beyond poultry; the word is actually Swahili for “pepper” and refers to a specific varietal of chili that was originally cultivated in Africa.

The piri piri chili, also called the African birdseye chili, packs plenty of heat. It registers 300,000 on the Scoville scale (a jalapeño, by contrast, measures only 10,000).

This pepper's clean, bright flavor makes it one of the most exciting chilies to keep in your kitchen. The piri piri’s sharp herbal notes and citrusy underpinnings can help bring rich ingredients into balance, or amplify starchier dishes, all while adding a welcome dose of heat.

Sourcing the Piri Piri Pepper

This chili pepper isn’t widely available in the States, but it’s worth hunting down. Look for it in specialty stores or online markets, such as Kalustyans. You can always try piri piri pepper by purchasing Grove Blend Chili Flakes. Otherwise, look in a specialty store and get them dried. From there, you can easily rehydrate your chilies

Storing Piri Piri Peppers

Piri piris are almost always sold dried. Keep these peppers in an airtight container. Store the container in a dry, cool space. These dried chili peppers will keep for up to one year.

Pairing Piri Piri Peppers

These peppers are light, bright, and zesty. They will make you pucker and smile all in one. Most importantly, the piri piri pepper willl keep you coming back for more. That makes piri piri peppers and Grove Blend Chili Flakes perfect for:

🌶 Poultry
🌶 Fatty Fish (Salmon, Mackerel, Swordfish)
🌶 Feta, Goat Cheese
🌶 Shellfish
🌶 Whole Grains (Brown Rice, Barley, Freekah)
🌶 Avocado
🌶 Cauliflower
🌶 Sweet Potatoes
🌶 Cauliflower
🌶 Cilantro
🌶 Mint
🌶 Gin
🌶 Tequila
🌶 Chamomile Tea
🌶 Honey

    Piri Piri Pepper Recipes

    At The Chili Lab, we do more than just encourage you to make your own hot sauce at home. We, want you to make food from all over the globe in your very own kitchen. Here is how:

    Check back for recipes and images or follow us on social media to get reminders.

    Want to see if piri piri is right for you? Give it a try with our Grove Blend Chili Flakes or try out our Chili Flakes Trio Set for a sample size.  

    Piri Piri Chili Salt Pork Chop Rub

    Getting dinner on the table quickly is important - but so is making it delicious! This Piro Piri Chili Salt Rub is the best of both worlds. Just add the rub in the morning (it takes 5 minutes to make), and let it marinade while you are at work. The herbs and citrus notes of the rub perfectly compliment the Piri Piri Chili Salt, giving it a well balanced flavor and spiciness. After a day - or even a few hours marinating in the rub - by dinner time you will have tender, well seasoned and delicious pork chops that only need a few minutes on the grill or in the pan. 

    Ingredients

    1 teaspoon Piri Piri Chili Salt

    1 tablespoon Lemon Juice

    1 tablespoon fresh Thyme

    1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper