Homemade hot pepper paste

African cuisine is a spicy cuisine therefore hot peppers are required to be added in almost every dish. That’s why you will find in almost every African household, whether it’s in Africa and abroad, a can of homemade hot pepper paste in the fridge. This is an unavoidable relish which can be used for multiple purposes; as base for any hot and spicy stew or soup, to marinade meat, fish or seafood, to season a vegetable sauté or as dipping sauce. It’s important to add that there are many variants of hot pepper paste because it’s up to taste. However, this is one of my mother’s versions of hot pepper paste.


Hot pepper paste

Prep: 10 min                        Cook: 4-5 min                     w/o Servings




10 Medium sized Caribbean or African hot peppers

½ Onion

4 Gloves of garlic

4 Sweet grape tomatoes (optional)

1 tablespoon of Water





In a food processor, blend all the ingredients together until obtaining a paste. Add more tablespoon of water if necessary because water helps to combine all the ingredients together.

Over medium heat, pour one tablespoon of oil (I use olive oil but any other oil will do) in a pan and fry the hot pepper paste for 4-5 minutes.

After 4-5 minutes, add salt then turn off the heat. Let the paste cool for 4 minutes before transferring it in a mason jar or any other type of container.



The paste can be stored in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. My mother would add a tablespoon of oil in the jar before putting it in the fridge in order to extend the storage time.

Remove the seeds of the hot peppers if you don’t want your paste to be too pronounced and too spicy. My tip would be to remove the seeds of half of the peppers and keep the seeds of the other half. But it’s always up to personal preference.

The sweet grape tomatoes are optional because in my mother’s original recipe there is no tomato. But, I add them to my version to bring some sweetness in order to counter the piquancy of the hot peppers.

You can replace the sweet grape tomatoes with any other kind of tomatoes and add as much tomatoes as you like if you chose to make this recipe adding tomatoes.


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