Peri peri seasoning is an iconic South African spice blend that you can use to add pzazz to any meal. This spicy mixture has a peppery, sweet, and sour taste, hence blazing your food with just a few sprinkles. The spicy mix is often made from bird's eye chillies and numerous other aromatic herbs. This magical mix is like pixie dust but for food!
Furthermore, this versatile spice is perfect for both dry and cooked food. In fact, most spice lovers have used Nando's peri peri seasoning to make sauce or added it to their dishes. We took a step further and worked with inexpensive ingredients. As a result, our recipe is better than the store-bought mixture. You can even adjust its spiciness to suit your needs. Best of all, our spice mix is easy to make. And no preservatives are needed.
So, keep reading if you're looking for a healthy peri peri seasoning recipe to level up your food game!
What is peri peri seasoning made from?
This seasoning consists of cayenne pepper, paprika, and a mix of other Asian spices like cardamom and coriander. One of the original key ingredients to making this spice blend is bird's eye chilli, also known as Thai chilli.
The very first peri peri spice blend was made using these chillies. They are hotter than most peppers, with 50,000 to 175,000 Scoville heat units. However, for the sake of ease, affordability and accessibility, we will be using cayenne pepper in its place in our recipe.
The peri peri seasoning origin story began during the 15th century. This spicy mixture was birthed after Portuguese explorers discovered bird's eye chillies in Mozambique. They used these chillies to make a marinade sauce. Since then, this spice mix has gained notoriety and reached other South African regions.
Moreover, this spice blend also became widespread after the restaurant chain Nandos adopted it in their cooking. A few years later, this spice blend made its way to the United Kingdom and other parts of the world.
What is peri peri seasoning used for?
You can use peri peri seasoning for chips to give them a fiery spark. Using this spice blend is like adding finely-grained salt or other spices. There are no texture changes as the spice mix only coats the snacks from the outside.
If you deep fry your chips, season them immediately after cooking. The oil will make it easier for your spice mix to stick to the chips. Sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons of this spicy mixture over 400g of chips. Then, shake the bowl and let everything mix well. However, if you are using an air fryer or oven, mix the raw chips with one tablespoon of oil before adding the seasoning. Then, cook everything as usual.
Peri peri seasoning uses aren't limited to dry foods. You can also use it to make a sauce. To do so, you will need the following ingredients:
- 2 tablespoon of cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoon of garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon of paprika
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoon of crushed red onions
- 2 tablespoon of roasted peppers
- 1 cup of water
Then, you just have to blend all the ingredients until you get a smooth sauce. In addition, you can add one tablespoon of lime juice or vinegar to the mix to add some tanginess.
If you like something spicy and creamy, combine this spice mix with mayonnaise to make perinaise. This sauce variation is perfect for chips, sandwiches, and any meat.
You only need peri peri seasoning powder and mayonnaise to make this condiment. A 1:1 ratio is ideal. For example, use two tablespoons of the spicy powder with two tablespoons of mayonnaise. However, add another tablespoon of the spice blend if you like it spicier.
You can also use this spicy mixture when marinating chicken, beef, and fish. For instance, we have previously used it to marinate meat when making a grilled shell steak recipe.
As for vegans, this spice blend goes well with potatoes, bell pepper, tofu, tomatoes, baby spinach, and mushrooms. However, please note that meat needs longer to absorb the marinade than vegetables. Therefore, you should marinate meat at least one day before cooking.
This flavoursome mixture is the perfect addition to any stir-fry dish. It goes well with chicken, beef, mixed vegetables, and rice. For example, you can sprinkle this powder over chicken or vegetables when stir-frying. Alternatively, if you want a spicier dish, the sauce form can lend more heat and a stronger taste as it blends with the other ingredients.
You can throw in some of this spicy concoction for a burger with a kick. For example, you can dry rub one tablespoon of peri peri seasoning powder on the meat before cooking. However, if you love a heavier spice taste, you can glaze one tablespoon of the sauce over the cooked meat.
Peri peri seasoning ingredients
You probably already have everything you need for our peri peri spice recipe. Please note that cardamom, black pepper and garlic powder are optional. However, we highly recommend that you include them to achieve ultimate spicy bliss.
- Cayenne pepper
- Dried paprika
- Dried oregano
- Ground coriander
- Dried parsley
- Cardamom powder
- Black pepper
- Garlic powder
Cayenne pepper brings an iconic smokiness, sweetness and spice to the mix. Since bird's eye chillies are hard to find, cayenne pepper can provide enough heat for your spice mix. It is also cheap and readily available in stores. When you're using this ingredient, start with two tablespoons of this red spice.
Then, add another tablespoon if you would like it spicier. If you don't have cayenne pepper, use red chilli pepper instead. You can even use cayenne pepper on its own as a peri peri seasoning substitute.
Alternatively, you can opt for ground pequin chillies to get the same heat level as bird's eye chillies. Ground pequin chillies introduce smokiness, a hint of citrus and enough heat to light up your tastebuds. But, if you have access to bird's eye chillies - use the powder form. The powder has a finer and smoother texture. These chillies add a hint of smoke and snapping heat to your food. One tablespoon of its reddish powder is enough to make your mixture fiery.
You can either use dried or smoked paprika. Dried paprika offers a peppery, herbaceous aroma with a mildly fruity and sweet taste. Meanwhile, smoked paprika has a more rich, smoky and spicy flavour.
If you prefer a unique, BBQ-like taste, choose smoked paprika. Start with one tablespoon. You can also opt for two tablespoons of this pepper for a heavier taste. Our peri peri seasoning ingredients lean toward fresh, peppery, and herbaceous aromas. So, we opted for dried paprika without the smoky scent.
Oregano has a sweet, spicy, and earthy taste. This herb comes in fresh, dried, and oil forms. Since you have dried parsley in the mix, don't use more than one tablespoon of this herb when making your spice blend.
Dried parsley has a mild, herbaceous taste as opposed to oregano's strong, earthy taste. So, exceeding more than one tablespoon of dried oregano can drown the taste of dried parsley.
Coriander leaves have a sweet, citrusy aroma. The ground form is used as a flavouring agent in our spice blend. Mix two tablespoons of ground coriander with other herbs. You can add another tablespoon for a heavier floral taste.
Fresh parsley offers a peppery and earthy flavour. So it is used to enhance the flavour of many dishes. But we will use dried parsley for our peri peri spice recipe.
Dried parsley tastes milder and less bitter than the fresh ones. So it won't drown the flavours of other ingredients. In addition, you only need one tablespoon of this herb to give your spice blend a subtle, herbaceous taste.
Cardamom has a sweet, nutty, and minty taste. It blends well with peppery spices like cayenne and black pepper. Mix one tablespoon of cardamom powder with the other herbs. Alternatively, you can also use dried basil to replace cardamom.
Black pepper adds a nutty and spicy flavour to this peri peri spice recipe. Since you already have cayenne pepper and paprika in the mix, one tablespoon is enough to make your mixture spicy.
It is convenient to buy ground black pepper in powdered form. However, if you wish to use whole peppercorns, you can use an electric pepper grinder to turn them into a fine powder.
Garlic powder can enhance the overall aroma of your spicy mixture. The powder form is less concentrated than clove garlic. So it won't drown other flavours in the spice blend. For a delicious, garlicky undertone, add about two tablespoons to the mix.
Alternatively, you can substitute it with onion powder. Onion powder has a milder scent than garlic powder. Furthermore, it also offers a sweet flavour that goes well with other herbs.
How to Make Peri Peri Seasoning
Making peri peri seasoning is really simple. All you have to do is place all the ingredients into a bowl. Then, mix until blended well. However, you might find it helpful to use separate bowls to measure out all the ingredients beforehand.
Keep the spice blend in an airtight container or a mason jar to store it. Ensure that you close the lid tightly to prevent outside moisture from entering. If you're wondering how to make peri peri seasoning last longer, keep it in your refrigerator, kitchen cabinet or closed cupboards. Furthermore, keep the spice mix away from direct sunlight and humid areas.
Homemade spice blend can last up to 6 months long. But store-bought spice blends like Nando's peri peri seasoning only last up to 3 months after use. Most premade spice mixes contain anti-caking agents. These chemical compounds may alter most powdered products, leading to microbial growth. Microbes are capable of spoiling any products and shortening their shelf-life.
When storing this spicy mixture, label the jar with the date you made it. Then, you can refer to the date later to avoid using an old batch. Most spices and herbs will lose their flavour after a long time. So, to ensure freshness, don’t make this seasoning in very large batches.
Peri Peri Seasoning Recipe
- Mix all the spices and herbs in a dry bowl. Stir and blend everything well with a spoon.
- Transfer the mixed spice into a mason jar. Make sure the container is dry and clean before transferring.
- Seal everything tightly and keep the peri peri seasoning mix away from moisture and sun. You can also wrap the container with a stretch film for better protection. To use, simply just sprinkle, dry rub or make a sauce out of this flavoursome blend.
- You can adjust the heat level by altering the amount of cayenne and black pepper. But the base amount we use in our peri peri seasoning recipe for both ingredients is two tablespoons.
- You can also leave the salt out of the ingredients and add it directly to your food later for a saltier taste.
- Our recipe is super customisable, so you can experiment with the ingredients and their amounts.
Calories have been calculated using an online calculator. Nutritional information offered on Honest Food Talks is for general information purposes and is only a rough estimate.
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