Feature Food & Drink Words

Today’s Word Is Malagueta

Having used the phrase “salsa piri piri” in the restaurants for the last however many years to request the hot, piquant sauce as an accompaniment, today I am told the word is “Malagueta”.

It appears that malagueta is a type of chilli pepper widely used in Brazil, the Caribbean, Portugal, Mozambique and Angola, alongside São Tomé and Principe. A small tapered chilli of around 5cm in length with a range of between 60,000 and 100,000 units on the Scoville scale. That’s slightly less than the Habanero or Scotch Bonnet.

You’ll find the chilli called malaguetinha in Brazil and as piri piri (a Swahili name) in Mozambique and in Portugal. This pepper is used to season many regional dishes and sauces in Brazil and Mozambique. In Portugal, it is mainly used to season poultry dishes, hence Nando’s Piri Piri Chicken dish.

To me malagueta is not a retail branded salsa, but what appears as home made sauce at many restaurants. Hence, as Cape Verde Creole seems a more terse language, it’s malagueta from now on.