piri piri sauce

A Hot Piri Piri Sauce

This has been on my list for a long time; not a cooking sauce, or a milder sploshing sauce, like you might get at Nandos, but more like one of the small bottled hot sauces you get in Portugal, used in drops, slightly salty and with lots of lemon. Portuguese Macarico and Brazilian Quinta D’avo are examples of this type of sauce which carry the general tag of molho picante, which means, well, hot sauce. That name doesn’t carry much information, but at least it differentiates between those and cooking sauces.

piri piri sauce

Piri Piri Sauce

I experimented with some extra flavours, such as bay leaf and oregano, but the flavours I wanted to get were lemons, and the sharp heat of the piri piri, which has hints of sweetcorn when dried so in the end I left out the herbs. The saltiness has always been a characteristic I have noticed in these sauces too, so I used a bit extra there.

I am a big fan of piri piri as written before so I have a good supply of them. I have some from last year which were dried, and I powdered these so I could pack in as much piri piri as possible. This also helps a lot with the consistency. This has actually turned out to be a pretty hot sauce, lets say these piri piri are about 80-100,000 SHU, and in 40g of powder there are probably about 140 chillies, that with a dozen fresh ones means they average out at about 80 chillies per 140ml bottle. A lot hotter than making a sauce with 5 or 6 fresh habs per bottle.

piri piri for recipe

Sometimes when we are looking for a real citrus flavour there is a temptation to add more and more juice when a lot of the flavour is in the skin, so I have used a whole lemon in this. I think it is this that gives this sauce some individuality, it is evident even from the boiling mix that there is lots of herby lemon, even before you taste it.

Ingredients (makes just over two 140ml bottles)

  • 40g piri piri powder
  • 12 fresh piri piri
  • 100ml white wine vinegar
  • 200ml water
  • 1 whole lemon
  • 1 heaped teaspoon salt

I used a very high powered blender for this, it smashes up the seeds and deals with the lemon easily. You may need to boil more and filter the bits out if you don’t have a decent blender.

Wash and roughly chop the lemon and the fresh chillies. Add all the ingredients together in a blender and blend them until they are smooth.

Add to a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes stirring frequently.

If you think it isn’t smooth enough, blend it again, wash out the saucepan to remove bits then return it to the pan for a final heat, which helps remove the air bubbles and makes it easier to bottle. Add a little extra water if it is looking too thick at this stage.

Funnel it into sterilised bottles.

I have based the quantities in this recipe around using a single lemon, which conveniently fills about two 140ml bottles. If there is a little left over stick it in the fridge and use it in a milder cooking sauce within a couple of weeks.

This is a preserved sauce, salty with high acidity, and should last years in the bottle as long as the top doesn’t get too claggy.







Mango & Chilli Hot Sauce

Mango & Habanero Sauce

I’m embarking on my 3rd batch of this sauce since the summer, it has definitely become the sauce of choice in our household.

This fruity recipe will make what most people would consider to be a hot West Indian or Belize-style sauce. Some aficionados will think it is a little weak though, so there is no harm in adding more chillies, even doubling or tripling the number of chillies used without changing the quantities of the other ingredients.


200g mango
100g grated carrot (preferably small or
baby carrots)
100g white onion, chopped
50g white sugar
5 x orange or yellow habanero or scotch
bonnet chillies
150ml water
200ml cider vinegar
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1cm cube fresh ginger, chopped
½ tsp salt

Use baby carrots if you can get hold of them, or at least small ones that aren’t woody and tough. If you are using fresh mango, remove the flesh and chop it into pieces. One large mango should do, but buy two just in case, you can eat the leftovers. You can alternatively use a tin of mango pieces; if you do so, use the stuff tinned in juice rather than syrup, a
400g tin should give you just over 200g of flesh with a few pieces left as a snack.
Chop the onion, garlic, ginger and chillies and grate the carrot. Add to a pan with the salt, water, mango pieces, vinegar and sugar. Bring to the boil and simmer with the lid on for about 30 minutes. Keep an eye on it, don’t let the mixture boil dry or thicken beyond a watery slush, add a little more water if need be.
The mango should break down quite quickly, and eventually the onion will soften too. Transfer to a blender and blend this
mixture to a smooth thick creamy liquid. Alternatively use a stick blender to do this in the saucepan. Don’t be shy, you are after a perfectly smooth finish and you can’t blend it too much; the more you do it the less likely the sauce is to separate into solid and liquid. If you use a separate blender, rinse your saucepan while it is empty, you will be returning the mixture to boil again so you need to make sure that stray lumps don’t mess up your smoothness. You may find there are some persistent stringy mango threads too, so remove these using a fork, they probably won’t break down much further and will only clog up your bottles.
If the liquid looks too thick, you can add a little extra water during the final simmer. You then need to bottle it in sterilized bottles, clean them, boil them in water for 10 minutes, then drain them. There are lots more tips and instructions on bottling and sterilization in my ‘Cooking Chillies’ Book, together with other hot sauce recipes.

Mango & Chilli Hot Sauce