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This blog was very nearly about spareribs until I walked into the vegetable market of Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. You see, I’m a massive peri-peri sauce fan and this market is full of it. Not only can you buy an assortment of jars, bottles and flasks filled with home-made concoctions, you can also get your hands on a seemingly endless supply and variety of the ingredients needed to make such a sauce.

Take, for example, the African bird’s eye chilli (better known by its street name, the peri-peri chilli). In the space of a few metres and minutes, I’d stocked up on African bird’s eye chillies of all sorts: fresh green and red, dried, flakes, powdered, in a paste and as a sauce.

Next on my shopping list to make a peri-peri sauce was garlic, real Mozambique garlic that looks and tastes like garlic. This garlic isn’t modified, developed or bred to be bigger and better looking on supermarket shelves and ultimately tasteless.

You need either lemon or lime juice, so I bought a kilogram of both (the lime juice went into my sauce, the lemons were used for gin and tonics). You’ll also need normal white spirit vinegar and olive oil (I had brought along a bottle of each from South Africa) as well as a bag of coarse sea salt and some paprika powder.

From the market, I hopped on a boat for a one-hour journey across the bay to Inhaca Island. My mission to make a peri-peri sauce wasn’t the chief reason for the visit to our neighbouring country; instead the goal was a mammoth peri-peri prawn braai session (Mozambique has an abundance of prawns and this braai featured tiger prawns as big as crayfish, with some king and queen prawns on the side). Done over hot coals, a prawn braais in about six minutes, but first you need to marinate them in the peri-peri sauce for an hour.

The prawn feast was followed by a midday nap and I then caught a boat to one of the top snorkelling spots on Inhaca Island. While I didn’t manage to find Nemo, I did meet a few thousand of his friends in various colourful shapes and sizes.

I ended the day with local fishermen on their dhow for a sunset cruise (my definition) and fishing (their definition) and walked away with a big and very fresh couta, which was braaied with, you guessed it, peri-peri sauce.


Nahyeeni Lodge I’ve braaied in a number of scenic places over the past few years and the facilities and view at Nahyeeni Lodge on Inhaca Island rank up there with the best. It’s essentially a very nice holiday house with a great braai area and deck overlooking Maputo Bay.


Super-hot Mozambican peri-peri sauce recipe

Use this to marinate prawns or to make Portuguese chicken, both of which go well with a Portuguese roll to mop up the sauce.

In a clean glass jar, combine:

  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 tot chilli powder
  • 1 tot paprika
  • 1 tot salt
  • 1 tot chopped garlic
  • 10 African bird’s eye chillies, finely chopped (don’t remove the seeds as this is where the heat is)

Put the lid on the jar, shake well and you’re done. The sauce improves with time and will be even better – and more fiery – after standing for an hour or even a day.

If you want the sauce hotter, add more chillies and chilli powder.


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  • Herman

    Hi Jan….Please help, I know what a TOT of brandy is etc….but a TOT of salt or paprika etc makes my rusty old brain rattle…..Please explain to me how much a TOT of powder is….chili, salt etc.
    I am chili abuser myself…..can not go without it and I love this recipe of your`s.
    Sterkte man.
    [email protected]

    • A tot of brandy means a 25ml tot-glass full of brandy. A tot of salt means a 25ml tot-glass full of salt. A tot of chili powder means a 25ml tot glass full of chili powder. Etc….

      • Et’s Boerie

        Het selwes nou hier gesit en wonder waffer tot jy van praat maar nou maak dit erg sin lol. dankie tog vir lekker kos en souse

      • Johan

        Hi – Can you use Canola oil in place of olive oil

        Many Thanks
        Johan Ackron

        • Hi Jan, canola oil does not make it taste the same and for the amount used it will probably let you have a few stomach problems. but yes you can use it though but use less.

      • Maggie Macpherson


  • Thanks for these recipes, Really appreciate them in the Cold Frozen North of Canada.
    Sterkte Boet!!

  • Ebrahim Jogee

    Hi Jan. what quantity of dried birds eye chillies does one use for this recipe. And do they have to be rehydrated?



  • Ian Croft

    Hi Jan,
    Does this sauce need to be refrigerated or can it be stored in a cool dark place if it is “hot water bathed sealed” and if so what would be a maximum period of time?
    I like to do things in bulk and share with friends.

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  • Tiger Jeevan

    If I want to make the sauce in bulk can it keep inthe fridge

  • Bali

    Sir I want to make in powder shape .how is possible can you make in powder shape(piri piri hot sauce in powder shape)

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  • Jose

    If you going to make Mocambique peri peri sauce , why chilli powder ???? Please redo your recipe .sucks!!

    • mbulazi

      I tried the recipe, without the chili powder (which I thought it’s unnecessary) & it came out fine.

  • keith byrne

    i think a bit too much salt chaps.. I cooked with it, maybe not recommended as a cooking broth.

  • Hmmm, weird. I just came back from Mozambique, and I found I needed to cook with much more garlic there than here. The flavor of theirs was much weaker than what I’m used to.