I do make a lot of salsa to go with whatever else fills a tortilla. Basically you check out what you may have on hand and convert that into a sauce like topping. 'Salsas' can be made from almost anything.

But I always yearn for that next level -- another layer to go on top of the food either in a taco or over a grill and roast. Even in a soup.

In this quest, I've settled on PeriPeri as the quintessential goes-with-anything sauce. 

PeriPeri may be an African chilli cultivar but it is also an African sauce or salsa  adopted by the Portuguese after their colonialists  in Africa invented it either in Angola or Mozambique.

I find that Peri/Peri is very versatile and make sure I always have a jar of the stuff -- homemade -- on hand.

The recipe is simple: mash up all ingredients together by hand or processor and stew for 20 minutes.

Peri/Peri Basic Ingredients

  • 2 red onions peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 head of garlic cloves peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup  chillies -- stems removed
  • 2 (preferably red) bell peppers (capsicums) seeds removed and roughly chopped
  • 3 ripe tomatoes  and roughly chopped
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice and zest of 3 lemons
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika

Instead of the dried herbs you can use:

  • 1/2 cup chopped coriander
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil or parsley

And you can up the oil (for preserving) to 1/2 cup.

You can also roast the tomatoes, chillies and peppers before use. Or you can add sugar. I don't like adding sugar to anything except kombucha.

The traditional chilli used is birdseye -- but really, whatever you like or have to hand should do. Dry chillies are OK to use. So too is tinned tomatoes such as cherry toms.

I appreciate that Peri/Peri uses accessible ingredients -- akin to what I may have in my larder. A cup of chillies may be the find challenge -- but then you may be a light heat person so less is kosher. 

But put 'some' chilli in, please. Given the varying ratios, there is plenty of room to fiddle with the proportions to suit your taste buds.You are seeking sourness with the vinegar and lemon kick.

Aside from sauce usage, Peri/Peri also makes a great marinade.

i make a few jars up. Give a jar away. Freeze some. And one I know will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks --apparently, but I've always eaten it all well before then..

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    • Ohhh. Too much. The sourness of the chimichurri would work so well.

  • Dave, with flat leaf parsley, do you add the stalks to the sauce or just the leaves of parsley?
    • I made the chimchurri sauce following your recipe Dave. Love it. It goes well on most dishes.
    • Part of the stalks depending on their quality. Depending on how old the parsley is -- you know, since it was last cut. Nonetheless, the trick is to cut the parsley fine, stalk plus leaf. In the mix it doesn't matter if a piece of stalk is tough. My mum used scissors on parsley, but I prefer my trusty chopper. I fold the parsley in on itself, hold it firmly and slice as fine as I can. Then spread it out and chop like the android's knife moves  in Alien.

      That's the fun part.

      Because so many cooks have an effete attitude to parsley, they don't use all of the bunch. I try to do use it all. But when old the stems can be thick and very stringy. If you grow your own -- that's always the best quality because you get cut-and-come-again.

      I discussed this with Warren the seedster at the Cab Markets and we decided that you can get three full stem harvests from each parsley plant before it fatigues or runs away from you.

      A very generous herb.

      Coriander in comparison....! Mr Run-2-Seed! With an option of woody stems.No wonder the Thais decided to give up on the stem and leaf and harvest the root for flavour instead sometimes.

      I also find that any dry pieces of parsley in this 'sauce' tickles the throat. That is avoided by cutting as fine as you can manage WITHOUT blending the herb into muck.

      That's years of Tabbouleh training there. With Tabbouleh the finer cut the parsley is, the more the flavours mingle. With Chimichurri, you have some leeway as you add more liquid to the mix.

      ALSO: I think that basil preferably should be pulled apart rather than chopped. Pulled apart and bruised between your fingers.  That is if you use it. Mint is not a  fav of mine but if I use it I use less and cut the leaves length ways so that their flavour doesn't get too strong. Bruising will also work with mint.

  • Lovely! I've always wanted to make those 2 sauces. They can magically turn any ordinary sandwich or dish into a gourmet meal. Thanks Dave.
  • You've turned this into a REALLY valuable resource thread Dave.  Nice work.  

  • Another SALSA worth sharing is one I only recently discovered from Venezuela. If you love avocados you are very much aware that smashing or guacamole-ing them doesn't encourage  any shelf life.

    However, the Venezuelans have that covered with a SALSA  that will last 3-4 days in the fridge:Guasacaca.

    It also makes for a tangy salad dressing because of the vinegar and citrus.

    Process is simple: Just mash or grind or blend all this up:

    • Avocados. 2 ripe average-sized avocados
    • Peppers/capsicum. Use red or  green bell peppers for a milder version. Jalapeños for a bit of heat.
    • Onion family: 1 small onion, along with 3 cloves garlic. Or 2-3 spring onions + garlic.
    • Fresh Herbs. 1/4 cup chopped coriander and 1/4 cup chopped parsley.
    • Acids. 1/4 cup vinegar, plus juice from 1 small lime or lemon.
    • Oil:  add 1/4 cup  extra virgin olive oil towards the end
    • Salt and Pepper. To taste!

    Ratios can vary to taste.

  • Gold!  I'll also be onto this one. 

  • Wow, one cup of chillies, I can barely handle one chilli, without turning into a sneezing mess.  The rest of the recipe sounds great.  Thinking I am a bit of a wuss.

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