When I think of the perfect summer holiday I always think of the trip I did to Mozambique in 2002 and the wonderful culinary simplicity of the daily dose of peri peri ANYTHING…usually steak or prawns.
We stayed on the beach in reed huts with only the most basic of services, in a remarkably beautiful spot, and what an amazing time we had. We would hire a boat and driver for the day and go out to the most remote spots and discover turtles, coves and just the most unspoilt beaches and just ridiculously turquoise waters.
Every morning, usually at about 7, the heat would make sure we were up and about. There would be two to three eager fisherman waiting for us to sell us the freshest, most delicious ocean fare. Prawns by the dozen and so very cheap we would just buy all they had just to see their big wonderful happy smiles assuring us they would have more for us in the morning! We only had an open drum wood fire to cook over, and would sit under the stars listening to the local reggae, drinking local beer, and wondering how life could really get any better than that.
To make peri peri sauce is very simple. There are many variations and of course you will find your own peri peri mojo, but for starters here’s my recipe and you can be assured it will be everything you were hoping for.
Of course the secret is the chilli, the peri peri chilli is the birds eye chilli, small, flavoursome and fierce! I make this one sauce, some of it is used to marinade the prawns and the rest I place in a saucepan with a tin of tomatoes and cook it down into a lovely thick sauce.
Peri Peri Sauce
2 onions finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
10 birds eye chillies
1 cup lemon juice
zest of one lemon
1 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons hot or sweet paprika
You can either pop all of this into a food processor and whizz until it forms a thick fragrant paste, or you can chop it the good old fashioned way.
Clean and devein the prawns by cutting down the back of the prawn with a good pair of kitchen scissors and removing the vein. You can cut almost right through the prawn to butterfly them OR just leave them whole. Now use about a quarter of this sauce to marinade about 2kg prawns. Place the rest in a saucepan with two tins of chopped tomatoes and cook for about 25 minutes on high, stirring occasionally.
Season to taste with more salt and sugar if you feel it needs some and then serve as a sauce over the prawns once they come off the coals!
To cook the prawns. Simply heat your BBQ or coal fire to a good but medium heat and then place the prawns, flesh side down, and get them nicely browned and sealed off before turning over and browning the shell. They don’t take long so please don’t overcook!
The Vanilla Zulu