Molho de Piri Piri ~ Portuguese Piri Piri Sauce

Shortly after we moved to Portugal we discovered a gift on our doorstep – an old coffee jar containing a strange liquid.

“What on earth is it?” I asked Mr. Piglet as I opened the jar to smell its contents.
“Smells interesting”

I proffered the jar to Mr. Piglet for his opinion. He sniffed, then snorted and finally echoed my comment “What on earth is it?”

I don’t “do” snails but I did tentatively taste the liquid; it was delicious, but EXTREMELY hot – leaving my lips tingling for several minutes!

Thankfully, the bearer of the gift also left us a clue – a sheet of paper with a recipe printed in both Portuguese and English (see below). It was homemade Piri Piri sauce! To this day we still have no idea who left the gift, but what a kind thought!

The piri piri sauce was gradually consumed and I carefully filed the recipe in a safe place for future reference. Needless to “filed” in such a safe place it remained undiscovered, despite several valiant attempts to find it, for several years until Friday.

Mystery Piri Piri recipe

Saturday morning, I was straight down the local farmers market looking for some piri piri plants. Success, I found a lovely plant already bearing many fruit! Armed with some fresh piri piri peppers I was now on a mission to make my own sauce. I returned home only to discover we had no whiskey!

Piri Piri
Piri Piri

We live miles from the major supermarkets so I will just have to wait until our next shopping foray.

So folks in the meantime, here is the recipe for you to try!

For more Portuguese recipes please visit my recipe page


33 thoughts on “Molho de Piri Piri ~ Portuguese Piri Piri Sauce

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  1. For everybody who is interested to have a better translation, here it goes. The garlic is fried in the oil, put the hot pepers and a little bit of paprika, let it fry about 10 minutes in small fire. Put in goblet of whisky and let it boil for a few second. After it is ready, put the lemon juice in. let it cool and serve it in a small bowl with a small spoon.

    PS: nerver trust in those rabbish google translations.


  2. Discovering Piri Piri was one of my biggest (pleasant) surprises when I first step foot in Portugal, as I adore spicy food. I like it so much that I named my dog after it 😀


  3. I love Piri Piri sauce, but this home-made one is probably hotter than I have tasted! Don’t know if I could cope!
    That was a lovely gesture from a friend unknown, to leave the sauce and the recipe for you. Shame you still don’t know who it was after all these years.


  4. What a lovely gift! It is a very old way of making this sauce but a very tasty one indeed… my parents also use to make it but i think they did not fry the garlic. …?! I am not sure . Anyway I am going to try it . In my house I am the only one that loves “hot/spicy” food.. I use to collect spicy sauces from all over the world. Thank you for sharing it! Best regards from Toronto


    1. I was not sure about frying the garlic as it can turn bitter if you overcook. But then if you are cooking in half a litre of oil perhaps not and it will just bring out the flavour as it is heated. I will be interested to hear your feedback if you do try this recipe.



  5. Sounds ace! But I have one question, how much is a goblet of whiskey exactly? I love term, almost medieval. I have a Cheyenne chilli pepper plant growing in the kitchen, it’s take a couple of years to reach the stage where it bears good chillis, so I wonder if it’s possible to grow piri-piri peppers in England too.


  6. I loved the English version, it must have be been “google translated”. What lovely gift though. I´ve never been too fond of “hot” food, but in general the Portuguese like their piri-piri in everything. My husband is always making different concoctions with his chillies as he loves spicy food.


    1. I loved the English version as well. It made me stop and think as to what happens to Portuguese when I use a translator to write a note or something complex I would like to say.SCARY

      I can’t wait to try the recipe for myself.


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