Food & Drink Magazine

Portuguese Piri Piri Oil Recipe

By Nelsoncarvalheiro

Piri Piri Oil is one of the most important and significant contributions that the Portuguese made to Culinary world and this recipe makes sure your food gets an extra fiery and flavoury kick.


A staple in every self-respected and patriotic Portuguese kitchen, Piri Piri Oil is the prodigy child of the Portuguese Discovery Ages, and the start of the globalization of world food cuisine introduced by Global scale trade. I have bared witness to this influence first hand in my latest travels to the Arabic Kingdom of Bahrain and in my Photographic Tour of India.


Originally found in Mexico and all over Central America, chillies were introduced to the Western and the Eastern World by the Portuguese circa the 1500’s.  If you consider that this simple gesture gave way to the basis of  Indian Cuisine, as you can’t make a good curry without chillies, and the whole of the spicy Southeast Asian Cuisine, namely the Thai and Vietnamese .


More so, as  the Ambassador to the Blogging Community for APTECE – The Portuguese Food Travel Association , I get the chance to learn more about Portuguese Food Storytelling. And remember that as Julio says “A good Piri Piri Oil should only burn on the outside of your mouth and not the inside”

Tip: Get an old bottle to give the Portuguese Piri Piri Oil a morevintage look !


Ingredients for Portuguese Piri Piri Oil per 250ml (1 cup) serving:

4 Medium sized fresh Piri Piri chillies with seeds

8 Large dried Piri Piri chillies

3 Large garlic cloves

3 Tablespoons of whiskey

1 Teaspoon of Lemon Zest

1 Tablespoon of Lemon juice

2 Tablespoon of Red Wine vinegar

5/6 Bay leaves

1 Teaspoon of Coarse salt

1 Tablespoon of Black Pepper Corns

250 ml of extra Virgin olive oil

Preparation of Portuguese Piri Piri Oi

Arrange a 350ml bottle and sterilize it.  Remove the green stems from the fresh chillies and chop the chillies roughly. Peel the garlic.

Crush the dried chillies, the remaining bay leaves and some more raw garlic, in case you like the Piri Piri Oil to be more garlicky; like me! Use a funnel to insert the crushed items inside the bottle.


Lightly pulse the chillies and garlic in the food processor or just chop them very finely on the chopping board. Avoid making a paste as this will destroy the texture and oxidate the garlic and the chillies very quickly! Plus it looks better in the bottle then a dark mash deposit.

If you are doing more than one bottle as I am showing in this example you have to work in batches. Heat up a saucepan, ( big enough to hold the 250mls of olive oil)  and lightly saute the garlic, the chillies and the bay leaves with a drizzle of olive oil on medium heat. Add the whisky and turn the heat to low.

Add the lemon zest and juice, the vinegar, the salt, the peppercorns and the rest of the olive oil.  Let the heat go through the olive oil until it begins to bubble and infuse the flavours. When it starts to smell good remove from the heat and let it cool for a minute or two.


When the olive oil has cooled down a bit, use the same funnel to pour in the olive oil and all its contents into the bottle. The whole bottle will become instantly hot so be careful when  handling it without gloves. Cover with a cork while the oil is hot to ensure a tight seal and leave for about a week for the flavours to settleand mellow down.

Use the Portuguese Piri Piri Oil on all your Mediterranean foods, especially grills and seafood to give it that extra fiery kick of flavours.


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