A few months back I was introduced to African Volcano Peri Peri Sauce. Until then my only experience with peri peri had been at Nandos, a mid-market restaurant chain that UK dwellers will likely be familiar. They’re famous for their “legendary, Portuguese flame-grilled PERi-PERi chicken” (and for being a threat to independent businesses).
But nevermind all the politics, I admit to having a soft spot for Nandos. When I worked at The Bank, we’d sometimes go out for lunch as a “team”. Nandos was often the only place that could seat a bunch of people comfortably. They also did a decent black bean burger which was far better than having some kind of pasta or pizza bomb as was the usual alternative. And, plus, they have an all-you-can-drink soda fountain, one of my guilty pleasures from the States that is virtually unknown here.
Anyway, back to peri peri. Last year Grant Hawthorn, creator of African Volcano (both the business and the sauce), got in touch because he wanted some veggie ideas for his Peri Peri. Even in my few brief Nandos forays, I was never really privy to the peri peri phenomenon given I don’t eat chicken, so I didn’t really know what how to help. But then again, I’ve never been one to say no to chilli-based products, so I decided to give his Peri Peri a try and see what I could do for Mr. Hawthorn.
I tried Grant’s Peri Peri as a slather on all manners of vegetables and tofu. It worked pretty well as an all-around base for grilled mushrooms, peppers, onions, zucchini and so-on, but I sometimes found that the flavour was a bit overpowering for the veg (it was designed with meat in mind, remember). So I decided to try it as part of a marinade in one of my favourite tempeh recipes, the Hot Sauce Glazed Tempeh from Veganomicon. It was here that the African Volcano Peri Peri came into its own for me.
The original recipe calls for “hot sauce”, and until now I’ve also used Sriracha. But the African Volcano adds a little something special – it’s smokier, richer, and takes exceptionally well to the inherent flavour of the tempeh. And for the record, it puts Nandos’ peri peri to shame.
I like to serve this tempeh with sautéed greens or in a corn tortilla with avocado and some of Thane Prince’s Carrot, Chilli and Lime Slaw.
The leftovers are delicious crumbled up into a raw kale salad with apple or orange and lots of toasted seeds (and more avocado):
I was able to meet Grant recently while on an outing to Maltby Street Market in London with Kavey and Pete, where I was able to witness his Peri Peri in the way that Grant originally intended: with lots of meat!
Pulled pork and burgers were on the go that particular morning, and I watched people line up for various Peri Peri spiked sandwiches, piled high with meaty stuff and pickles. Grant also makes bread with Peri Peri, which I did try, and I’ve since been meaning to do it myself. Even though I’m not a meat-eater, I appreciate Grant’s enthusiasm for his product, and openness to experience it in new, non-meaty ways. I hope he tries my tempeh – I’d like to hear how it stacks up next to his pulled pork!
- 8 ounce package of tempeh
- 1/2 cup red wine (or vegetable stock)
- 1/4 cup African Volcano marinade
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Bring a pot of water to boil.
- Whisk all marinade ingredients together in a bowl large enough to fit the tempeh slices.
- Cut the tempeh in half widthwise then cut each of those squares diagonally to form 4 large triangles. When the water is boiling, add the tempeh, lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Use tongs to remove the tempeh and then immediately place them in the marinade bowl for at least 1 hour, flipping them every now again to cover with the marinade.
- Preheat a greased grill pan over medium high heat.
- Grill each side for 5 minutes. When the second side is almost done, spoon some of the marinade over the tempeh and let cook for 30 more seconds.