Zimbabwean food is generally not spicy. Some people do like to add fresh or dried piri piri chillies to their meals or eat the chillies raw.
I have to tell you this story. About 20 years ago, my parents were building their house in Chihota, just outside Harare. It is at a growth point, so it surrounded by a rural community. When they started clearing the land, they relied on maricho(kind of like day labourers) to help them on the work. People will just come to your house and look for work and you pay them at the end of the day. You would make them lunch. Everything is pretty informal, so when lunch is served people just sit wherever . One day came by, he was coming from a funeral and he asked if he could work too. Before he started eating he took out his chillies from his pocket. It was the funniest thing, like who goes around with their own seasonings. Obviously this guy and Beyonce! He took his chillies wherever he went, on the chance that he would be served with some vegetables or meat. I am sure he would be seriously disappointed if he was served with sour milk.
We like to keep a bottle of hot sauce but the ones that are sold here taste like nothing we are used to. So I made my own.
This sauce keeps in the fridge for 10 days but I made more than I can use so I canned them. I sanitized my containers by boiling them in a water bath. Then after adding the sauce, I placed the closed containers in the water bath and let it boil until the top domed. If you can a lot I would suggest getting a canning kit.
- 1 red onion, roughly chopped
- 8 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 10 African bird's eye chillies, stems removed
- 2 jalapeno peppers
- 1 red bell peppers, seeds removed and roughly chopped
- 3 ripe tomatoes, skins removed and roughly chopped
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- juice and zest of 3 lemons
- 1 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 2 basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a blender and mix until all the ingredients are crushed.
- Transfer to a saucepan over medium heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes to prevent the sauce from burning.
- After 20 minutes, check the seasoning and adjust.
- Pour into jars/bottles and keep in the refrigerator for up to 10 days or can the rest.
- Process the jars/bottles in a canner or large stock pot, with the water at least one inch above the jars, for 20 minutes. Remove the jars and let them sit undisturbed for 24 hours. Sauce will keep for up to a year.
We usually use this sauce as a condiment but I also like to use it as a marinade. Like with this piri piri chicken. I marinated the chicken overnight and grilled it.