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The History of Peri Peri

“Peri-Peri” is a very hot sauce made with chilli peppers and from a taste point of view, it brings plenty of fire, but also an earthiness and hint of sweetness.

The history of Peri-Peri is a controversial one, it is believed that it was created by Portuguese explorers in Mozambique in the 15th century who discovered the African bird’s eye chilli

pepper and made a marinade with garlic, red wine vinegar, paprika, and other European ingredients. It then expanded to other Portuguese territories under the spelling of “piri-piri.” The name “peri-peri” is derived from Swahili. ‘Piri-piri’ means “pepper-pepper.” It has several iterations including ‘pili-pili’ and ‘peri-peri’ — but the amazing flavour is the same.


Like all chilli peppers, Peri-Peri is descended from plants from the Americas, but it has grown in the wild in Africa for centuries and is now cultivated commercially in Zambia, Uganda, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Rwanda. It grows mainly in Malawi, Zambia, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Portugal. It is cultivated for both commercial food processing and the pharmaceutical industry. Peri-Peri is primarily used to treat schizophrenia, anxiety and mania.

Depending on the crop, these chilli’s can register up to 175,000 heat units on the Scoville scale.

Dancing Roosters Peri-Peri sauces aren’t quite that hot, but the unique flavour provides an exotic dining experience that mimics of the rich history of Peri-Peri.

Peri-Peri pairs quite well with chicken — particularly when you barbecue or roast it — as well as with barbecue shrimp. A popular South African snack is roasted cashews with Peri-Peri spice.

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