Every home cook or chef needs to have this West African pepper sauce recipe in their back pocket!
This spicy sauce is one to always have on your table to serve as a condiment for meals or as a dip for appetizers. No storebought sauce compares!
I have made this African Pepper Sauce countless times for African and non-African parties. People, always love it whether they are African or not!
It is one sauce I learned how to make several years ago when I first learned how to cook. People always preferred my version over the version of others (humble brag 😊).
In this post, I am unleashing all my secrets for the best African Pepper Sauce!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- An all-around condiment: I love having pepper sauce at home because it makes a whole lot of meals and snacks more palatable. This sauce makes complete meals come alive!
- Spicy but tolerable: I add tomatoes to my pepper sauce to intensify the vibrant red color and water down the heat from the pepper. That way I can spoon a huge quantity on a hard-boiled egg and enjoy the wonders of the sweetness of the tomatoes combined with the spiciness of the peppers. Pure bliss!
- Easy ingredients: This recipe contains familiar ingredients making it approachable for most people around the world.
You need to have a jar, or bowl of this epic in your kitchen anytime. Some of my friends often take a jar of pepper sauce with them from my home when they come to visit. It makes a great edible gift.
Ingredients For African Pepper Sauce
Here are the ingredients you need for this tasty sauce:
- Hot peppers: Use habanero or scotch bonnet peppers.
- Onion: Adds volume and flavor to the sauce.
- Garlic and ginger: These 2 spices add so much flavor to the pepper sauce.
- Tomatoes: The tomatoes help mellow the taste of the hot peppers making the sauce truly enjoyable. With tomatoes, the sauce is spicy but not overwhelming. If you want the sauce extra spicy omit or reduce the tomatoes.
- Seasoning cubes or bouillon powder: Add some chicken bouillon powder, beef bouillon powder, or seasoning cubes for authentic West African flavor. My preferred brand for bouillon powder is Knorr and I used the Knorr Beef Bouillon Powder in this recipe.
- Salt: To bring out all those wonderful flavors.
- Ground white or black pepper: Either would work but I always prefer white pepper for its more exotic flavor.
- Herbs: Parsley, celery, and basil are a trio of herbs often used in Cameroonian cuisine. I often use a combination of 2 herbs for this pepper sauce. Either basil and celery or basil and parsley. Here I used basil and parsley.
- Oil: Adding a neutral-tasting oil serves as a preservative and also adds flavor. Vegetable oil, olive oil, avocado oil, canola oil, or any other oil would work.
See the recipe card below with a detailed list of ingredients and instructions.
How To Make African Pepper Sauce
Here is how to make African Pepper Sauce in 4 easy steps:
- Prep the ingredients: Rinse all herbs and spices then remove the leaves from the hard stem of the herbs. Cut the tomatoes in quarters and cut the onion into chunks. Remove the stems from the peppers.
- Blend the ingredients: Add ingredients to the blender in the following order: First, add the tomatoes, then add the onions, then add the herbs, garlic, and ginger. Blend on low speed into a slightly chunky paste. There’s no need to add water before blending. Only add water if you want a lighter consistency. You can also process all the ingredients in a food processor.
- Cook down the ingredients: Add the blended ingredients to a medium-sized pot on medium heat and add the oil, bouillon powder, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer and let it simmer covered and without stirring for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 15 minutes stirring from time to time.
- Cool and store: Let it cool then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. A mason jar with a tight-fitting lid is great for storing African Pepper Sauce!
What To Use African Pepper Sauce On
You can pair African Pepper Sauce with the following:
- Storage: Store this pepper sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This could keep for up to a month when properly stored with extra oil added to completely cover the surface. This sauce freezes well for up to 3 months.
- Scaling the recipe: Double or triple the recipe depending on the quantity you want. Or reduce every ingredient by half to make a smaller batch.
- When the sauce starts to simmer, your house may smell peppery and cause you to sneeze. Do well to cover your pot to reduce the smell and only open it to stir. Reduce the heat before stirring so the mixture doesn’t splatter on you. Thereafter, return your heat to normal.
- You could also use this sauce as a spicy marinade for meat, fish, or chicken. Delicious!
- Alternatively, you could the pepper sauce by first heating up the oil and pouring in the blended ingredients to fry for a few minutes. Frying the ingredients in oil deepens their flavor.
- Handling hot peppers: When handling hot peppers, be sure to wash your hands often as they are quite spicy. Wearing a kitchen glove before and handling hot peppers will prevent the burn from the pepper.
There are various kinds of hot sauce enjoyed in countries across the African continent. One common African hot sauce is called ‘pili pili’ or ‘peri peri’ which means ‘pepper pepper’ in Swahili or Lingala languages. Pili Pili is enjoyed in Mozambique, Angola, and the Democratic Republique of Congo.
Across West and Central Africa, a sauce, better known as “pepper sauce” is typically made with scotch bonnet or habanero peppers and other spices like garlic and ginger. There isn’t just one hot sauce for the African continent as various African countries make their own variation of hot sauce.
There is not one kind of pepper that can be referred to as “African pepper”. Different kinds of peppers grow in Africa ranging from sweet to spicy varieties.
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Blend the ingredients: To a blender first, add the tomatoes, then add the onions, then add the herbs, garlic, and ginger. Blend on low into a slightly chunky paste. There’s no need to add water before blending. For a lighter sauce, add the desired amount of water.
Cook down the ingredients: Add the blended ingredients to a medium-sized pot, on medium heat. Add the oil, bouillon powder, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer and let it simmer covered and without stirring for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 15 minutes stirring from time to time to prevent burning.
Cool and store: Let it cool then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. A mason jar with a tight-fitting lid is great for storing African Pepper Sauce!
Scaling the recipe: Double or triple the recipe depending on the quantity you want. Or reduce every ingredient by half to make a smaller batch.
Handling hot peppers: When handling hot peppers, be sure to wash your hands often as they are quite spicy. Wearing a kitchen glove before and handling hot peppers will prevent the burn from the pepper.
Calories: 77kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 0.4g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 0.1mg | Sodium: 138mg | Potassium: 70mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 206IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 0.1mg