Long before there was Nandos flame grilled chicken peri peri sauce, there was my mother’s Peri-Peri Garlic prawns in a fiery Peri-Peri Garlic marinade. Strangely enough we never used the peri peri sauce for anything other than the prawns my mum made at Eid or special occasions.
My mum used store bought peri peri sauce and marinade for her peri peri prawn recipes and gave it a flavor boost with addition of fresh grated garlic and fresh lemon juice.
When I first moved to Dubai many years ago the brands she used were not available here, but I subsequently found a very good alternative in a South African brand peri-peri coat and cook sauce. However, after reading the ingredient list and all of the E codes, stabilisers and flavorings in the store bought peri peri marinade recipe, my stomach literally turned over.
I realised that I needed to learn how to make my own Peri Peri Garlic Marinade so that I can have peri-peri garlic prawns wherever I am in the world, and not be dependent on a sachet from the store.
I have realized over the years that many of the store bought spice mixes and marinades that we use have too many additives that are probably not doing anyone with an inflammatory response any favors. I have even made my own small batch Home made Fish Masala Spice Blend to ensure I have a consistent flavor for fish masala without all the additives and unlisted ingredients.
The best thing about a homemade Peri-Peri Garlic marinade is that it has so much flavor and you know exactly what you have put into it. You can also moderate the spiciness and heat level from mild to moderate to high, depending on personal preference. I prefer fiery but usually tend to have a lighter touch with the chilis when making this for guests who have a lower tolerance for spicy foods.
A word of warning: This Fiery Peri-Peri Garlic marinade is so delicious you may end up slathering it on fresh bread or using it as a condiment or dip with crackers, cured meats and cheese. This is also fantastic on Peri Peri Chicken flame grilled on the barbeque or baked in the oven.
How to make your own homemade fiery Peri-Peri Garlic Marinade
Below is my home made vegan Fiery Peri-Peri Garlic marinade that can be used as a basting sauce or marinade for any vegan, vegetarian, seafood, chicken or meat dishes.
African Birds eye chillies may not be widely available so you may use other types of red chillies but check the spiciness levels. If you do have fresh African Birds eye chillies then start with 6 chillies and add more if required.
The gluten free marinade starts with sauteeing the onions and red peppers and other aromatics until they are translucent. Then you add the tomato paste and other ingredients and let it simmer until it is cooked down. Blend until smooth and let it cool before using, or refrigerate in a sterilised container.
Fiery Peri-Peri Garlic Marinade
- 125 ml olive oil
- 450 grams red onion, peeled and chopped (approximately 2 large onions)
- 300 grams red bell peppers, deseeded chopped (approximately 2 large peppers)
- 8 cloves garlic, sliced
- 6 red birds eye chillies, sliced (adjust for personal taste)
- 5 ml cayenne pepper powder
- 60 grams tomato paste (approximately 3 tablespoons)
- 375 ml hot water
- 2 lemons (juice and peel without pith)
- 30 ml granulated sugar (approximately 2 tablespoons)
- 30 ml white grape vinegar (approximately 2 tablespoons)
- 10 ml salt (approximately 2 teaspoons)
- Heat the oil in a medium size pot and add the chopped red onions, red bell pepper, sliced garlic, chilis and lemon peel and saute on medium for 15 -20 minutes until the onions are translucent.
- Mix the tomato paste with 375 ml hot water.
- Add the cayenne pepper powder, tomato paste mix, lemon juice and rind, sugar, vinegar and salt and simmer for another 20 minutes.
- Check and adjust the seasoning and remove from the heat.
- Blend the ingredients in a blender or use a stick blender to get the correct consistency without any lumps of vegetables.
- Decant into a sterilized jar and allow to cool before use or refrigerating.
- Use within 1 week.
- Other red chillies may be used if African birds eye chillies are not available.
- Substitute 25 ml honey for the granulated sugar to make it refined sugar free.
- This recipe makes 1 liter Fiery Peri-Peri Garlic marinade, enough for 2 - 2.5 kg of prawns, chicken or meat.
Nutritional information for the recipe is an approximation and varies according to the ingredients and products used.
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