After making Pebre from Chile last week, I wanted to make another salsa from a different part of the world. Plus, with the Olympics currently taking place what a great time it is to cook and celebrate new dishes from around the globe. So for this week’s Sunday Salsa I decided to try Piri Piri which originates from Angola and Mozambique.
Piri Piri, also known as Peri Peri or Pili Pili, translates to “Pepper Pepper” in Swahili. There are many different variations of this sauce, but it typically contains African Bird’s Eye Pepper, vinegar, lemon, garlic, and paprika. The peppers give Piri Piri quite the punch, but the addition of paprika creates an addictive smokey flavor.
I came across Piri Piri on the website Taste Atlas (it’s a really cool website for international food, go check it out!) and an article they had for the top 10 sauces from Africa. I was very intrigued by Piri Piri’s ingredients, especially the African Bird’s Eye Pepper.
Its not an easy chile to find, as I went to five African/International Markets around Tucson looking for African Bird’s Eye Peppers. I didn’t find any of the peppers, but did come across some really interesting and fun spices that I will be using in the future. This was my first time going to these markets and will definitely be going there more often.
In place of the African Bird’s Eye Pepper, I wound up using Tabasco peppers from my garden for Piri Piri. Tabasco and African Bird’s Eye are actually varieties of the same pepper species, Capsicum frutescens, which makes sense why they look very similar to each other. A lot of Piri Piri recipes also recommend using Thai or Cayenne peppers in place of the African Bird’s Eye.
I went with Neha Mathur’s recipe for Piri Piri as I really liked her addition of red bell peppers, onion, and dried oregano to the sauce. She also recommended using olive oil in the dish, but I decided to try the the Red Palm Oil that I found at Salama Market in Tucson. Red Palm Oil is very popular in Caribbean and African cuisine. It is a heavier oil than olive, but the aroma and taste really compliments the Piri Piri.
Many of the articles I’ve read on Piri Piri strongly suggest using the sauce as a chicken marinade or on top of shrimp. I really enjoyed using it on top of my grilled chicken as well as my potato dumplings.
Here is a link to Neha Mathur’s recipe as well as a few other websites’ recipes for Piri Piri that looked appealing to me :