Peri Peri Pepper In Hot Sauces

The Peri Peri pepper grows naturally in South Africa and is also known as the African Bird’s Eye pepper, Piri-Piri pepper or Pili-Pili pepper, depending on what area of the country you’re in.

Peri-Peri Peppers
Peri Peri Peppers

Whether or not you call it Peri-Peri , one thing’s for sure – this is one hot little pepper. The peppers were originally brought back on Columbus’s voyage to the Americas. Most people believe that the Portuguese took the peppers to their colonies of Mozambique and Angola, where they were christened a Swahili word that means ‘pepper-pepper’ The settlers tried in vain to pronounce the foreign word, but “peri-peri” is what rolled off their tongues, and the name stuck. The pepper ranges from one half to one inch in length and tapers at a blunt point. Peri Peri’s are green when immature and when they turn bright red it means they’re ripe and ready to use. The small package packs a mighty punch with a 175,000 rating on the Scoville scale which is near where the habanero pepper is but the pepper is smaller and has a much different flavor. It is most commonly used in a hot sauce, combined with other spices and seasonings because it has a very light, fresh citrus-herbal flavor that blends well with the flavors of most other ingredients. The best thing about the Peri Peri is you only taste a bit of heat at the end, as opposed to some peppers that have an overkill of blazing fire that destroys the flavor of what you’re about to eat. With the little Peri Peri pepper, less is more.

Gourmet sauces use more than cayenne or aged peppers to give hot sauce flavor. If you’ve only tried the mainstream sauces and decided you don’t like hot sauce, it’s probably because you don’t like hot vinegar. Try a gourmet sauce and you’re tastebuds will thank you. Find a delicious hot sauce with this pepper and you’ll see for yourself that it’s flavor is not only best on chicken but it’s a great compliment to cheeseburgers and steaks too.


Jeff Schmidt