Thursday, December 15, 2011

South African Peri-Peri Sauce Recipe

Peri-Peri Chicken, Miele Pap and Monkey Gland Sauce from the South African Food and Wine Fest
Ok, food people. If you're anywhere near Virginia next September, you must be sure to hit the South African Food and Wine Festival at Grayhaven Winery. Not only is it an excellent introduction to South African cuisine cooked by those who know it well (the winery owners are from Cape Town), but it's a heck of a great way to spend an early fall afternoon drinking lovely Virginia wines while getting your spicy food fix on.

South African cuisine is incredibly diverse and ranges from Indian-style curries and English fish and chips to Dutch Boerewor sausages and world renown South African wines from vineyards originally planted by the French. It's a melting pot cuisine that is heavily spiced, hearty and soul satisfying.
Just a few of the goodies you can try at the festival.
Sure, I might be jumping the gun here since the festival is a cool 10 months away, but in the meantime, why not try your hand at making a classic South African Peri-Peri marinade? It goes equally well on chicken or shrimp, and it's sure to warm you from the inside-out since it's loaded with hot peppers.
Grilled Peri-Peri Chicken
Peri-Peri sauce (or Piri-Piri) is traditionally made with African bird's eye chili's, which are quite similar to a Thai red chili. These chili's rank high on the Scoville heat scale at 175,000 units (a jalapeno is about 4500 units) so this is one pepper that's not for the faint of heart. Use of this type of chili is integral to recreating authentic South African food, so if you can't find African piri-piri peppers, head to your local Asian grocery and get a bag of Thai birds and be generous with them. There's supposed to be a lot of heat!

Traditionally, this sauce, which is also heavy on the acids (vinegar and lime juice) is not only used to marinade meats, but often doubles as a dipping sauce or is served alongside delicious fried goodies like Fish with Slap Chips (a.k.a. fish 'n chips):
Peri-Peri sauce can also be served alongside grilled lamb:
Peri-Peri is also great on a Boerewors sausage sandwich:
Use this sauce to marinade fish, shrimp, game meats or add it into a dip, sprinkle it over collard greens. It's meant to be versatile, so use your imagination.

South African Peri-Peri Sauce

Makes about 2 1/2 cups

Don't forget to wear gloves when working with these chili's and be sure not to touch your face. Ouch!


1 cup olive oil
10 fresh red chili peppers (such as birds-eye chili’s) – cleaned and chopped
1 large onion, minced
Juice of 4 fresh limes
1 entire bulb of garlic – shelled and chopped fine
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley – chopped
1 cup white wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons kosher salt
4 Tablespoons sweet paprika

Mix all the ingredients in a large glass bowl. Whisk for 2 minutes. Store, covered in the refrigerator for two days or at least 24 hours to let the flavors release. Once aged, remove ¼ of the marinade and set aside to use as a dipping sauce.  For chicken, marinate up to 24 hours.  For shrimp, marinate up to 30 minutes.

This recipe was generously donated by Max Peple-Abrams of Grayhaven Winery.

©2011 Fatback and Foie Gras. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission
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  1. Love Peri-Peri! Always use a dash or two on eggs!


  2. This is a great recipe, too. Hope you enjoy!


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