Piri Piri or Peri Peri sauce originates from Portugal and its  made from Red African birds eye chillies, Lemon, Red peppers ,Olive oil & herbs. Piri Piri, Peri Peri or Pili Pili ( alternate names)  is popular in its consumption in southern African states such as Namibia, Angola, Mozambique and South Africa. Nando’s has made this sauce popular in its consumption to most Western worlds and it’s a firm favourite in most households.

The recipe varies in flavour with the type of herbs one uses; however the 4 basic ingredients remains of Lemons or Limes, Olive oil, Red bell peppers and Red African birds eye chillies. The recipe allows for creativity as the flavours can be altered depending on the type of herbs you use.

I substituted the Red African birds eye chillies  for the Thai red chillies (since that’s what I had available) added Mace for a sweeter taste and used Thyme, Oregano and Greek basil as my herb inclusion. My substitutions made for an aromatic sauce with an added depth of flavour.


This is an easy and flavoursome recipe to make, especially with the added smokiness from grilling the Vegetables.

Find out how to get that smokiness by watching the recipe on my YouTube channel, ‘Ndudu by Fafa’.


1 deseeded and quartered Red pepper

1 large peeled and quartered Onion

20 red chillies for a hot sauce or 10 chillies for a milder heat

3 cloves of peeled Garlic

Zest and juice of 1 Lime

30g of fresh Thyme

Optional half a teaspoon of Mace or ground Nutmeg

1.5 teaspoon of smoked Paprika

4 tablespoonful of Olive oil

25ml of White Wine Vinegar

10g of Oregano

10 of Greek Basil (optional)


For the dipping sauce

50ml of  water

1 teaspoon of salt




Grill the Onions, Garlic and red Peppers for 10 minutes in a grill pan  or 7 minutes if Charcoal grilling.

Transfer the grilled ingredients into a blender and add the Chillies, Mace, Smoked Paprika, Thyme , Vinegar and Half the Olive oil.



Omit the salt if you’re making the marinade to prevent your preferred meat or Chicken from drying out. Add the salt when you’re ready to grill or making the dipping sauce.


Blend everything into a textured paste and divide into two portions.



Lime or Lemon

Add half the Lime zest and juice to the marinade, stir and transfer to an airtight container.


Blend the other portion into a smooth paste for the dipping sauce and proceed to the dipping sauce recipe below.


Place a saucepan or a frying pan on a medium heat. Add the remaining Olive oil and your smooth paste. Cook gently for 4 minutes and add about 50ml of water to your blender to release any residue of the Piri Piri marinade.

Add the flavoured water to your cooking sauce and cook gently for 3 minutes. At this stage add salt to taste and cook for a minute.

Add the remaining juice and zest of the Lime and turn the heat off.

Add the chopped Oregano and Greek basil and stir.

Transfer the contents into an airtight container, refrigerate and use when required. Best not to keep for more than 2 weeks (then again, you’ll love it so much, you’ll make another batch).



For a great tasting sauce or marinade, the last thing you SHOULD add are the fresh herbs. This allows the sauce to retain the flavours of the herbs (which can be lost when cooked).


Place your marinade and dipping sauce into two separate airtight containers, refrigerate and use when a recipe requires it,  like these grilled Chicken wings above.

Recipe for the Chicken wings will be available on my YouTube channel, ‘Ndudu by Fafa’ soon.

In the meantime find more inspiring recipes like this Jerk Chicken on my YouTube channel. Don’t forget to subscribe and share.

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