Homemade Peri peri sauce

Peri Peri sauce recipe

When we see or hear peri-peri, we immediately think of Nandos chicken or something really hot, nice and spicy! Peri peri sauce which is a very hot sauce made of hot chilli peppers is apparently Portuguese-African in origin. During our uni-days, we would regularly dine in Nandos ordering a whole chicken and their legendary peri-peri chips to share among our friends. We love spicy-food, so we would always pick the hotter option.

Let’s talk about the heat. If you love spicy-food, and have a high spice tolerance, 15 bird eye chillis isn’t enough (Spice Level: Mild). We initially tried 10, and could barely feel anything, so we did 15, and still didn’t have the kick we wanted. Instead of getting more of bird eye chillies, we decided to add in just one epic chilli! We threw in a ‘Carolina Reaper’! Beware! The spice level is HOT! But an amazing good spicy-kick type of hot for us. If you haven’t heard of this pepper before, we emphasize you to ‘google‘ it before trying it. It is the worlds hottest pepper with 2.2 million Scoville units! Of course, it is far from deadly as one may think in this sauce recipe, as it is diluted. We love it in this recipe as it just gives us a great pleasant kick! If you can take the Nandos EXTRA HOT peri peri sauce, you would love this! So don’t be afraid to try this. HOWEVER, big warning here, if you ever think of trying the chilli raw, JUST DON’T! DO NOT eat it as a whole or even think of taking a small bite from it! Sadly, we did the Carolina Reaper Challenge, eating it raw as a whole, and it was AWFUL awful awful!! We stupidly ate them with an empty stomach as well which made the experience incredibly regretful. The initial burn in the mouth (or entire face for Mel’s case…) wasn’t pleasant, but what took us by surprise was the unexpected digestive pain, which was so much more excruciating compared to the burn in the mouth. It was a few hours of constant lingering sharp knife-stabbing pain we had to get through. None of the chilli-relieving solutions we found online really helped at the end of all. What goes in your mouth, just has to take its own sweet time burning through your body until it comes out. “Ring of fire“? Not a joke at all! NEVER AGAIN!

Fortunately, our traumatic experience with the Carolina Reaper did not change our love for this sauce recipe. You can use it not only for marinating meats, but as a dip for chips! So let’s begin! Firstly, preheat the oven at 200°C, and start roasting the capsicum for approximately 25 minutes. Don’t panic if it chars, you haven’t burnt them! Once roasted, leave aside to cool. While the capsicum is roasting, sauté minced onion and garlic in a small pan for 10 minutes or until brown then leave aside to cool.

Freshly squeezed lemon.

Combine all the peri-peri sauce ingredient into food blender and blend until texture is smooth and consistent. Next, transfer the blended content into a sauce pan and simmer for 10 minutes, then let it cool. You should have approximately 700ml (3 cups) worth of peri-peri sauce. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

To make a whole peri-peri marinated chicken, first dry the whole chicken, butterfly it on an aluminium foiled tray, remove any internal organs and season with coarse salt. Next marinate the whole chicken with approximately 250ml of peri-peri sauce for in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours (overnight recommended). Take the marinated chicken out of the refrigerator and let it rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.


Preheat the oven to 200°C. Oven the chicken for approximately 45-60 minutes (depends on the size of the chicken) and baste with its juices in the last 10 minutes. For chicken boneless/bone-in pieces refer to the recipe. Let the chicken rest for 5~10 minutes before serving.


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