(Mozambican, Angolan shrimp in fiery red pepper sauce)
The blazing hot red pepper called the piri-piri burns up dishes in the southern African nations of Mozambique and Angola. Piri-piri sauce, or molho de piri-piri, is used both as a marinade for fish, shrimp or chicken and as a tabletop condiment. Piri-piri is also popular in Portugal, especially with chicken in frango piri-piri. Sometimes spelled pili-pili or peri-peri, another name for it is the malagueta pepper.
4 to 6 servings
- Shrimp, peeled and deveined -- 2 pounds
- Hot red chile peppers, chopped -- 3 to 12 (depending on your tolerance for heat)
- Garlic, chopped -- 2 or 3 cloves
- Salt -- 2 teaspoons
- Red wine vinegar -- 1/3 cup
- Olive oil -- 1 cup
- To make the molho de piri-piri, put the chile peppers, garlic, salt and vinegar in a blender and process until smooth. With the blender running, slowly pour the oil into the blender. Adjust seasoning with salt.
- In a large bowl, toss the shrimp with about 3/4 cup of the sauce, reserving the remaining sauce. Marinate for at least 30 minutes.
- Thread the shrimp on skewers and grill over hot coals, flipping once, until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Alternatively, the shrimp can be placed in a baking dish and baked in a 350°F oven for 20 to 30 minutes. Stir once or twice.
- Serve hot with little bowls of the remaining molho for dipping.
- Frango Piri-Piri (Portuguese chicken in spicy pepper marinade): Substitute 2 1/2 to 3 pounds of chicken pieces for the shrimp. Marinate for at least 3 hours. Grill over an open flame or roast in a 350°F oven until cooked through, 25 to 35 minutes.
- Piri-Piri Sauce Variations: Some cooks insist piri-piri sauce should rest for at least a few days before using to allow the flavors to mellow and ripen. Variations include using dried chilies or cayenne pepper. You can also substitute paprika for some of the hot chiles if you're not partial to all that heat. Chopped parsley or oregano are sometimes stirred in. Molho de piri-piri will keep in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 weeks.