Piri piri sauce

Discover fascinating facts about Portugal’s most spicy sauce

See original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine April 2016


Crushed chillies

  • Originally from Portugal, piri piri sauce (sometimes called peri peri) is also popular in Angola, Namibia, Mozambique and South Africa. The basic ingredients of this molho picante (spicy sauce) are crushed chillies, lemon juice and oil.
  • Some recipes also include citrus peel, onion, pepper, salt, bay leaves, paprika, pimiento, basil, oregano, garlic and tarragon. Making your own piri piri sauce can be done in a blender or by shaking the ingredients in a jar.


Add some chicken

  • In Portugal, one of the most famous dishes made with piri piri sauce is frango piri piri. To try this in the Algarve, either visit a local market with a BBQ or go to Guia, which is the unofficial chicken piri piri capital of the Algarve.
  • Also popular in the Portuguese kitchen is piri piri oil. Like the sauce, this can be used as a seasoning or marinade for chicken, other meat or seafood.


Some like it hot

  • The pungency of the chillies used in piri piri sauce is measured according to the Scoville Scale, which goes from 0 to 2,000,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU). The hotter the chilli, the higher the rating.
  • In 2014, the first chilli pepper eating competition in Portugal was held by Piri-Piri & Co in Albufeira. Winner Jaime Hilário managed to eat ten hot peppers and made it to the Scorpion Red, which has a Scoville rating of between 1,000,000 and 1,100,000.



  • Piri piri sauce is also made in the Algarve. Albufeira-based company Piri-Piri & Co grows 30 different varieties of chillies at their farm Quinta do Piri-Piri in Olhos de Água. They turn them into sauces, which range from the sweet and sour Manga & Mel to the fiery Cometa. The latter is made of 90% Trinidad Scorpion chilli, which has well over a million SHU.
  • Home-grown piri piri sauces, oils, dried and fresh chillies, spicy jams, chilli paste, powder and even liquor can also be ordered online. Interested? Check out their website or their Facebook page.


See original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine April 2016

Posted in Food, Typical Portugal.