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from: Central Africa | cooking method: pan frying

African Hot Sauce & Pili-Pili Sauce

African Hot Sauce

An all-purpose hot sauce.

tea harvest in malawi

What you need

What you do

Pili-Pili Sauce

An easy-to-make hot sauce. Pronounced "pee-lee pee-lee", also spelled pilipili. From the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, this word is used throughout tropical Africa to refer to hot red peppers, sauces made from them, and foods cooked with these peppers or sauces. Is Pili-Pili a reduplication? See the Coupé-Coupé recipe.

What you need

What you do

Instant pili-pili: Mix cayenne pepper or red pepper powder, garlic powder, and onion powder with a few spoonfuls of tomato sauce.

Philippe Wamba

Children who couldn't eat pillipili were objects of scorn

Philippe Wamba, the child of an African-American mother and a Conglese father wrote Kinship: A Family's Journey in Africa and America (New York: Penguin Putnam/Dutton, 1999) in which he describes pilipili (among other things).

... when my father cooked, which was admittedly not often, Congolese food reigned; he specialized in huge pots of beans and salt fish, which we ate with mounds of sticky rice or foufou, a starchy, doughy Congolese staple my brothers and I learned to love. My father's meals always made liberal use of pillipili, and he would encourage us to try as much as we could stand, saying that in Congo children who couldn't eat pillipili were objects of scorn.

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African Proverb

Okwankyen mako se : wobebu mia-a, bu, na meyaw mi. (Oji) : The roadside pepper-bush (i.e., the pepper-bush by the roadside) says, "If you will break me, break ; but do not abuse me." N.B. -- If you are resloved to ruin a man, do it at once, without tormenting him by reproaches : do not add insult to injury.
  (from: Wit and Wisdom from West Africa, Richard Francis Burton)

Other African proverbs

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