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Sauce Pa Pah

Sauce Pa Pah

Origin: My friend Jane got us addicted to this recipe that was originally her Grandfathers I think, back in the late 80’s. The recipe has changed substantially over the twenty odd years, and has now been tweaked to suit our families Scoville Scale taste buds!  Don’t miss the second recipe after the sauce for the Flattie Chicken Sauce Pa Pah.This sauce has history and a long story attached so if you would like to just  Click here to go straight to printable recipe

This is one recipe you just have to try. Go on – I promise you it is a hit! I cannot count the number of guests we have had leave our home with this recipe scribbled on a serviette and safely tucked into their wallets.

I must be very transparent about one thing. I have only made this sauce about 5 out of the couple of hundred times it has been made in our home. I am only good for making sure the ingredients appear miraculously in our fridge the minute the level drops below a quarter in the bottle.

During the last 10 years, it has sort of become a Dad and Daughter only ritual, and how on earth Dad got Daughter to become addicted to anything ‘vegetable’ is still a mystery. Every home cooked dinner I prepare gets soaked in Sauce Pa Pah. Due to the high pain thresholds that their taste buds have been exposed to from years of Sauce Pa Pah abuse, each batch seems to have more and more chilli and salt added.

Family dinners are filled with gasps and raised eyebrows as it seems to be a competition as to who can last the longest without rushing for the iced water. I dribble a humane teaspoon on the side of my plate but secretly am addicted.

We do not go anywhere without our bottle of Sauce Pa Pah. Even an overseas destination means, on arrival, a visit to the local market to source the ingredients needed to make a batch for our stay. The most challenging venue was most definitely Greece. I did not realize that chillies were so hard to find on the islands.

To our delight on about day six of our recent sailing trip, we stopped at a lovely restaurant on the island of Anti Paros  called Still Waters where the very colorful owner Aniel, produced two large red chillies, after much begging, protruding from his ears! But we were desperate and ready to accept them anyway at this point.

Although we were on a catered charter, as normal, the gang  hi-jacked the small galley kitchen and all passengers, including three very sweet American law students, set about with no equipment, chopping and lemon squeezing to produce a chunky version of  Sauce Pa Pah. By the end of the trip we even had our very Greek captain Panos asking to pass the Sauce Paw Paw as he called it so that he could dress the salad he proudly taught us to make -  Panos Dacos Greek Bread Salad.



The famous one of two chillies and the making with no equipment of our fix for the trip.

Each batch will turn out slightly different from the next as the quality of the lemons and garlic will determine the end result.

Warning 1: Please mark your bottle Sauce Pa Pah so that new friends do not mistake it for home made salad dressing!

Warning 2: It is totally addictive! I have caught my husband and daughter pouring little shooter glasses of the stuff to sip on while waiting for me to dish up! 


Sauce Pa Pah

(Makes about 750 ml which lasts our family a month in the fridge)

10 -12 large cloves of garlic finely chopped

8 – 10 lemons (1/2 liter of fresh lemon juice)

3 red chillies with seeds finely chopped

3 green chillies with seeds finely chopped

(or six of one type will do the trick)

3 red pepper dews finely chopped

2 Tablespoons of sunflower oil

3 Tablespoons of Maldon salt


  1.  Blend the garlic, lemon juice, chillies and pepper dews at high speed. (blender or food processor works best)
  2. Keep blending and in a steady stream, pour in the oil a little at a time.
  3. Add the  Maldon salt.
  4. If you are a salt lover you can add even more salt. (My husband adds up to 5 Tablespoons of salt for this quantity of liquid.)
  5. Blend for a minute or two until the salt has dissolved and then decant into a bottle for storage in the fridge.
  6. You may find it separates after sitting, so just give a little shake before you serve with fish, chicken, or beef.

Options: Sauce Pa Pah Flattie Chicken on the Braai: (Serves 4 people per whole chicken)

You will need one whole chicken and 2 cups of Sauce Pa Pah


  1. Dispatch the cock, (flatten by laying the whole bird breast down and using kitchen scissors to cut the entire bottom cage from butt to neck) Once that cavity is in half, turn the bird over and use some aggression and body weight by leaning on the breast and crushing it in three or four places. Dislocate the wings and the drumsticks and press those down as well getting the bird as dispatched as you can.
  2. Put into a freezer bag and add about 2 cups of Sauce Pa Pah to the chicken in the bag. Squeeze out as much air as you can, seal and freeze flat if possible.
  3. Defrost a few hours before you intend using the chicken. Best cooked slowly over a medium heat charcoal fire for about 45 minutes. Baste continually with the remaining Sauce Pa Pah.

Note:  Once cooked the heat of the chilli subsides substantially


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