Bright lemon and spicy chilies come together in this incredibly versatile hot sauce recipe.
Piri Piri (also spelled Peri Peri), or African Bird’s Eye, is a hot pepper grown in most of Africa. Piri piri is the Swahili word for ‘pepper pepper,’ but after the Portuguese got a hold of it and started making a spicy sauce and marinade which they brought with them around the globe, the term Piri Piri has come to be more commonly used to refer to any hot sauce made with red chili peppers.
African Bird’s Eye chilies are hot peppers, with their Scoville heat units hitting 175,000. (Compared to the Scotch Bonnet and Habanero whose rating can range from 100,000 to 300,000.) These peppers can be difficult to find in the States, but look for them at your Asian, Hispanic, or Indian markets. Other good substitutions for African Bird’s Eye Chilies would be the Asian Bird’s Eye, Habanero (both of which could be hotter than the African Bird’s Eye), Cayenne, Tobasco, or Serrano (which pack less heat than the African Bird’s Eye).
An authentic Piri Piri Sauce blends the chilies with lemon, garlic, and herbs, creating a bright, citrus flavored hot sauce with a hint of earthiness from the herbs. With a few simple ingredients, you create a sauce with an incredibly complex flavor that is wonderful as a marinade for chicken, pork, fish, and shrimp. It also makes a fantastic dip (especially for potatoes) and a great all purpose hot sauce.
You can adjust the heat levels of your sauce by the number of chilies you add in. Removing the seeds from the chilies before blending them into the sauce will also cut the heat, while still giving you the robust chili flavor.
This sauce can be made as thick or thin as you like by the addition of olive oil. If you plan to use the Piri Piri Sauce primarily as a hot sauce, you may want a thinner sauce, so you may want to use more olive oil. If you are using the sauce as a dip or a marinade, you may want to add less oil to create a thick, spreadable sauce.
Making up a batch of this sauce is a great way to preserve the hot peppers and herbs growing in your garden. (And your lemons too, if you’re lucky enough to live in a region where lemons grow locally!) This sauce will keep for up to a month in your refrigerator. It also freezes well. If you would like to preserve the sauce by canning, we would recommend only canning it with a pressure canner. The olive oil in the sauce reduces its acidity to a point where it really needs to be heated through in the way that only a pressure canner can to ensure that it will be pantry stable.
- 4 large lemons, zested and juiced (approx ½ c juice)
- 8 garlic cloves
- 4-8 African Bird's Eye chilies, stemmed (Asian Bird's Eye, Habanero, Cayenne, Tabasco, or Serrano could also be used)
- 4 tsp fresh oregano
- 4 tsp fresh thyme
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ - ½ c olive oil
- Place lemon juice and zest, garlic cloves, whole chilies*, oregano, thyme, paprika, and salt in the bowl of your food processor (or blender). Process until smooth. (If you're looking for a very kicky sauce, taste it at this point and add another chili if desired.)
- Add the oil 1 Tbsp at a time, mixing after each addition, until desired consistency is reached.
- Store the sauce in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. (If using this recipe for canning, process only using a pressure canner.)
- Use the sauce as a marinade for chicken, fish, or pork. Or, use it to give just about anything a bright burst of spice and an herby-citrus flavor. (It works great as a dip too!)
As our gardens and farmer’s markets are full of summer bounty. The Sunday Supper family is bringing you their favorite ways to save all that summer goodness by canning, dehydrating, pickling, freezing, and more! Thanks to Stacy of Food Lust People Love and Heather at Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks for hosting this week’s preservation fest!
- Blackberry Chia Seed Jam from Books -n- Cooks
- Cherry Lemon Jam from Food Lust People Love
- Chocolate Blackberry Preserves from The Redhead Baker
- Gilded Bluebarb Jam from What Smells So Good?
- Hamburger Dill Chips from A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Piri Piri Hot Sauce from Curious Cuisiniere
- Southwestern Salsa from The Freshman Cook
- Spiced Peach Jam from Cosmopolitan Cornbread
- Spiced Vanilla Rhubarb Jam from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Strawberry Balsamic Syrup from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Watermelon Butter from Palatable Pastime
- Blueberry Peach Fruit Roll-Ups from Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Dried Pineapple from Take A Bite Out of Boca
- Fermented Spicy Daikon Spears + A Cocktail from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Simple Pickled Cabbage from Simply Healthy Family
- How to Freeze Blueberries from Pies and Plots
- Peach Crisp from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Roast Tomato Soup with Basil-Butter Croutons from Caroline’s Cooking
- Summer Veggies from Momma’s Meals
- Raspberry Vinegar from Magnolia Days
- Black Radish Pickles from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Bread & Butter Pickles from Adventures in All Things Food
- Homemade Bread and Butter Pickles from Life Tastes Good
- Mustard Pickles from Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
- Pickled Cherries with Five Spices from Nosh My Way
Preserving in oil or butter
And for even more help and support
- 5 Food Preservation Tips from Sunday Supper Movement
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