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The fiery hot Portuguese food cuisine
in South Africa

The magic of the Portuguese food cuisine in South Africa is its fearless use of the locally grown fiery "African red devil", an extremely hot cultivar of the chilli pepper.

The influence of Portugal's former colonial possessions on its cooking is clear, especially in the wide variety of spices used.

Portugal is a seafaring nation at heart and this is reflected in the fact that fresh fish and shellfish are found on almost every menu.

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to round the Cape of Good Hope and to set foot on South African soil in the 15th century.

At first they were not interested to establish a settlement in Southern Africa.

It was only at a later stage that they decided to colonize Angola on the west of the continent and Mozambique on the east, both of them bordering onto South Africa, which included Namibia at the time.

Some favourites from the Portuguese South African kitchen are,...

Chilli peppers - Portuguese food cuisine in South Africa
Chilli peppers
Portuguese food cuisine in South Africa

They brought with them their talents for flavouring with spices and their techniques of roasting and marinating, blending them with local African cuisine and ingredients to produce spicy dishes.

From their Asian colonies they brought the orange, lemon and lime. and from Brazil, their colony in South America, they brought chillies, peppers, corn, tomato, pineapples, banana and the domesticated pig.

The locally grown African birds eye peppers, also called African red devil - Portuguese cuisine in South Africa
The locally grown African birds eye peppers, also called "African red devil"
Portuguese food cuisine in South Africa

But the Portuguese really made their mark with the introduction of the hot chilli pepper which originated in South America. Today it’s also known in Southern Africa as "African birds eye", or "African red devil".

It is a cultivar of the chilli pepper, that grows both wild and domesticated. It is a highly popular ingredient in Portuguese South African cooking, especially in the form of "peri-peri" (also known as piri-piri).

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Peri Peri sauces,...

Variety of Peri-Peri sauces - Portuguese food cuisine in South Africa
Variety of Peri-Peri sauces
Portuguese food cuisine in South Africa

"Peri-Peri" is used in preparing sauces and marinades for roast and grilled dishes, especially chicken and various fish. It is made by warming sieved lemon juice, adding the freshly picked and tremendously hot African birds eye peppers and letting it simmer for exactly 5 minutes.

Thereafter it is salted and pounded to a paste. This paste is heated up again with more lemon juice. The end result is a basic Peri Peri or Piri Piri sauce that can be used over meats, fish, shellfish etc.

Including the more traditional Portuguese ingredients such as olive oil, lemon juice and garlic, the fearlessly fiery Portuguese food cuisine has become highly popular in South Africa.

Dishes such as peri-peri chicken, peri peri chicken livers and peri peri prawns have become national symbols. Portuguese-South Africans are particularly gifted when it comes to preparing seafood, baking delicious bread and preparing memorable meat dishes.

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Peri Peri prawns,...

Peri-Peri Mozambique prawns - Portuguese cuisine in South Africa
Peri-Peri Mozambique prawns

Peri-Peri prawns, next to peri-peri chicken livers and peri-peri chicken, are one of the Big 3 of the Portuguese-South African kitchen. You have not lived so to speak until you have devoured a plate of delicious garlicky Portuguese peri-peri prawns and washed them down with cold beer or chilled white wine.

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Peri Peri chicken,...

Peri-Peri chicken - Portuguese food cuisine in South Africa
Peri-Peri chicken
Portuguese food cuisine in South Africa

Peri-Peri chicken has almost become an institution in South Africa. After marinating the chicken in either a mild, medium or hot peri-peri sauce with garlic, lemon juice and herbs, it’s flame grilled to tender and succulent perfection, a unique flaming taste experience.

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Peri Peri chicken livers,...

Peri-Peri chicken livers - Portuguese cuisine in South Africa
Peri-Peri chicken livers
Portuguese cuisine in South Africa

A delicacy loved by all cultures in South Africa, often served as a starter. Use the bread to mop up the lovely juices and you will understand why their popularity never stops.

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Portuguese espetada,...

Espetada on the barbecue - Portuguese food cuisine in South Africa
Espetada on the barbecue
Portuguese food cuisine in South Africa

A steak meal with a difference. It consists of cubes of perfectly aged rump steak threaded onto trimmed bay leaf skewers. The cubes are then dipped into rock salt before putting them on the barbecue fire. Slightly charred on the outside and succulent on the inside, it tastes magnificent.

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Portuguese bread rolls,...

Bread rolls - Portuguese cuisine in South Africa
Bread rolls
Portuguese food cuisine in South Africa

Portuguese bread rolls (potato being the magic ingredient) are an absolute treat and a meal within a meal.

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Calamari,...

Calamari rings and tartare sauce - Portuguese food cuisine in South Africa
Calamari rings and tartare sauce
Portuguese food cuisine in South Africa

Calamari in all its forms, grilled, battered or deep-fried, is served as either a starter, or main course and is a delicacy not to miss.

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crab curry,...

Crab curry - Portuguese food cuisine in South Africa
Crab curry
Portuguese food cuisine in South Africa

Mozambique crab curry is a truly hands-on experience. Creamy, loaded with garlic and just a hint of heat, it is the ultimate treat for the food-lover who loves to dig in.






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