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Pili-Pili, Congolese Hot Sauce

My hot sauce always gets rave reviews. The sauce uses habanero pepper base for the fruitiness but is tempered with other ingredients to cut down on the heat. Make no mistake, it is still very spicy, but the emphasis is on flavor rather than the scorching heat. And how can you go wrong when the secret ingredient is bacon!



4 cups Habanero or Scotch Bonnet peppers, stems removed.

3 cups of colored bell pepper, banana pepper, cherry pepper, anaheim pepper or other mild peppers. Try not to use dark green peppers because they throw the color off.

1 cup peeled garlic cloves

2 whole onions, peeled

2 whole tomatoes

5 slices bacon

1/2 cup salt

Enough water to cover.

1 cup white vinegar

¾ cup vegetable oil


Place all ingredients except vinegar and vegetable oil in a large pot. Add enough water to submerge all of the ingredients with an inch of water on top. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Warning: You might want to open your windows and turn on your exhaust hood for this step – the fumes can be overwhelming!

Strain the mixture and allow it to cool to room temperature.

Place all the ingredients in a food processor with the white vinegar until smooth. Once it’s smooth, start pouring in the vegetable oil in a thin stream until the mixture emulsifies into a creamy consistency. Store in glass jars in the refrigerator for up to 2 months or in the freezer for up to a year.

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