Last Updated on April 17, 2021
I often wonder how sauces or food combinations come to exist. Like who thought of combining crispy duck, spring onion, cucumber and plum sauce in a pancake? Or that it could be such a fabulous combination? It’s always interesting looking back at the origins of food, like the beginnings of peri peri sauce which could be one of the very first fusion foods ever.
The story goes that variations of this spicy sauce started appearing from the 15th century after Portuguese settlers in Mozambique discovered the African birds eye chilli. They used it to create a marinade by adding lemon juice, vinegar, garlic and a selection of other herbs and spices. I’ve come up with my own version here. If you like a more fiery sauce, keep adding more chilli until you reach your desired heat.
Peri peri sauce is so versatile and pairs well with barbecued or grilled chicken and also with prawns. Today I’ve used it as a dip for fish goujons alongside some garlic mayonnaise.
Start by roasting the pepper and onion in the olive oil. Do it on a fairly high heat as you want the skin to become blistered and slightly blackened.
Chop the pepper, onion and garlic into small pieces. Put them in a food processor with the chilli, paprika, oregano, vinegar and lemon juice and whizz until smooth.
Empty the sauce into a pan and add the bay leaves and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer on low for about 20 minutes to amalgamate the flavours. Remove the bay leaves before serving.
I served the peri peri sauce warm as a dip for fish goujons along with some creamy garlic mayonnaise. A fabulous fusion of flavours which transports me to both Portugal and South Africa simulataneously! Well, in my dreams anyway.
Here’s a printable version of the recipe for you to print and try at home.
Homemade peri peri sauce
- 1 red pepper quartered
- 1 red onion quartered
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
- 1 lemon juice of
- 2 red chillis dried
- 1 tsp paprika piccante
- 1 tsp oregano dried
- 4 bay leaves
- Salt and pepper To taste
- Add the olive oil to an ovenproof dish. Lay the pepper and red onion on top of it and roast at 180C for about 20 minutes until the vegetables are slightly blackened.
- Let them cool, then chop into smaller pieces and add into the food processor. Chop the garlic and add to the processor along with the lemon juice, sherry vinegar, chillis, paprika and oregano.
- Puree until smooth. Transfer to a pan and add the bay leaves. Simmer on low for about 20 minutes.
- Serve as a dip or a coating to cook peri peri chicken.