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Piri-piri : origine et recettes avec le petit piment portugais

Peri-Peri: Origins and Recipes with the Fiery Portuguese Pepper

Peri-Peri, renowned for its use in Peri-Peri chicken, is a small chili pepper with a complex, fruity flavor. Where does it originate? What are the top Peri-Peri recipes? How can you make your own Peri-Peri sauce? Where can you find the best Peri-Peri sauces?

The origins of Peri-Peri.

Peri-Peri is generally thought to have originated in Mozambique, a former Portuguese colony located in East Africa along the Indian Ocean.

In fact, this pepper was found in its natural state in Bolivia and was later cultivated in Mexico for food and natural medicine. It was in Central America that the Portuguese discovered it in the 15th century under the name "bird's eye chili".

Ripe Peri-peri

This variety of pepper, which could rival black pepper—known at the time as "black gold"—was acclimatized by the Portuguese in their African colonies, particularly in Mozambique, for trade with all of Europe.

Today, it is grown in Zambia, Uganda, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Rwanda, as well as in Portugal. It is used in food processing and also as an ingredient in the pharmaceutical industry.

Peri-peri different names.

Due to its many cultivation areas, the Peri-peri has several names, all of which refer to the same pepper.

Pilipili, written without a hyphen, is an ingredient in Tanzanian, Kenyan, Reunionese, Mauritian and Madagascan cuisine, where it is also known as pily kely.

Peri Peri is also a common spelling in the Anglo-Saxon world, notably in South Africa and Malawi.

Piri-Piri is the term used in Mozambique, Portugal, Portuguese-speaking countries and mainly in Europe.

Peri-peri is a chili pepper.

Peri-Peri is a popular chili due to its relatively mild heat and complex, fruity flavors.

The Scoville scale measures the heat and spiciness of chilies, with each chili recorded in Scoville Heat Units (SHU). On this scale, Peri-Peri peaks at around 175,000 units—much lower than Pepper X or Carolina Reaper, which reach 2 to 3 million units, but hotter than Thai chili, cayenne, harissa, or bird's eye chili.

Its complex, fruity flavors are the key to its success today.

Peri-peri is a sauce.

It's hard to make Piri-piri sauce at home. Aside from the difficulty of finding the original ingredients, which guarantee real flavors, it's unlikely that you'll get the flavors that the great Portuguese Piri-piri preparers do.

Not easy, but doable, so here's the recipe :

  1. Coarsely chop the chillies and discard the stems.
  2. Place chillies and seeds in a blender with metal blades.
  3. Add garlic, lemon juice, salt and extra-virgin olive oil.
  4. Blend to the consistency of a purée.
  5. Pour the mixture into a glass jar and leave to infuse for several days in the fridge.

Peri-peri handmade sauce

You can also buy Peri-Peri sauce in the shops. In the store section of this site, we offer some excellent Peri-Peri marinades, as well as a marinade that makes it easy to prepare the famous Portuguese-style chicken.

Recipes with Peri-peri.

Because Peri-peri is a chili pepper that retains fruity, complex flavors, it is widely used in Portugal to spice up traditional dishes.

Gambas ao alho

It's the perfect chili pepper to prepare a chili con carne, which will remain very tasty despite the chili's strength. In Portugal, mixed with olive oil and large cloves of garlic, it's the essential ingredient for shrimp a la plancha.

Gambas ao alho recipe

Ingredients (4)

  • 800gr large fresh shrimps
  • 160ml white wine
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Peri-peri (to taste)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt Pepper
  • Fresh coriander


  1. Peel the shrimp, removing only the head and part of the body, leaving only the tip of the tail.
  2. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the juice of half a lemon.
  3. Finely chop the garlic cloves and set aside.
  4. Heat a frying pan with a drizzle of olive oil. Heat and add the minced garlic.
  5. Allow to brown slightly, then add the shrimps.
  6. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp turn pink.
  7. Add chilli, white wine and chopped coriander to taste.
  8. Cook for a few more minutes and serve with a few slices of bread.

It's also perfect for spicing up tomato soup or Gaspacho. Last but not least, it's the perfect accompaniment to chicken barbecues, kebabs or beef cuts.

Peri-Peri chicken.

Influenced by the culture and dishes of Mozambique and Cape Verde, Piri-piri chicken, known in Portuguese as "Frango Assado" or "Franco Peri-peri", emerged as a traditional dish in the Algarve in the 70s and 80s.

Traditionally, Peri-peri chicken is a recipe for barbecued chicken served with Peri-peri sauce and a mix of more traditional European ingredients: garlic, vinegar, olive oil, salt, bay leaves and lemon juice.

Portuguese style chicken

Accompanied by Vinho Verde, a Portuguese wine made from young grapes, peri-peri chicken has proved incredibly popular with locals and tourists alike, especially in the Algarve.

Read the full recipe for Piri-piri Portuguese-style chicken in our blog post.

Where to find the best Peri-Peri?

Portugal, of course, has the best Peri-peri to spice up any recipe. It comes in 

All these sauces are prepared in the Lisbon region from Peri-peri grown on site on a small family farm to the highest quality standards: no added water, no preservatives, no coloring, no added flavoring, no cholesterol, gluten-free and guaranteed GMO-free.

Discover all our Portuguese Peri-peri sauces

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