Pili Pili Sauce (Pepper Sauce)

pili pili pepper sauce

In Swahili hot peppers are pili pili. This Pili Pili Sauce or Pepper Sauce is made using ingredients that are very common in Tanzania. Use it at the table to spice up your plate, or use it during the cooking process to add heat and flavor to the pot.

This pepper sauce can be VERY hot depending on the heat of your peppers. The most common hot peppers here are scotch bonnets. The color will also vary from red, to orange, to green based on the peppers you use. It’s common to add eggplant too although we prefer it with out. Try it both ways.

The recipe makes enough to keep on hand for a couple of weeks. Store it in the fridge in an air tight container. Use sparingly and taste test to get desired heat in your dish.

Pili Pili Sauce (Pepper Sauce)
Prep time
Cook/Dehydrate time
Total time
A fiery pepper sauce common in Tanzanian kitchens. Use in your recipes or on the table for extra heat on the plate. Keeps for a few weeks in your fridge.
Recipe type: Sauce
Cuisine: Tanzanian
Serves: 2 cups
  • 1 cup hot chillies chopped
  • 1 medium red onion chopped
  • 1 TBL minced garlic
  • 1 inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 carrot grated or chopped
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 3 TBL lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 TBL olive oil (optional) For oil free version use 1-2 TBL water
  1. Saute onions, garlic, ginger and carrots in oil or water to soften.
  2. Add peppers and continue to sauté. Be careful as the fumes are strong. OPEN A WINDOW!
  3. Add the tomatoes and continue to cook until everything is soft and tomatoes have become saucy
  4. Add lemon juice and salt. Mix well.
  5. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool a few minutes.
  6. Add to your blender and pulse until it reaches the desired consistency. It can be very smooth or leave it chunky.
  7. Return to pan and sauté briefly to combine flavors.
  8. Spoon into clean jars.
  9. Refrigerate for up to two weeks.

Do you like spicy hot food? What’s your favorite way to add heat to your dish?

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