West Africans love chili or pepper more than your average African. Called ‘hot pepper’ by most, pepper is a must on every plate and table, even for breakfast. There is something about pepper sauce that transforms a drab, bland food into something tasty and delightful. People who do not like spicy food may not know how to make pepper sauce and tame the heat. If you’re not into spicy food, pair your rice with this delish homemade Sautéed collard greens stew instead. In our pepper sauce recipe, you will be guided on what ingredients to combine for optimal flavor, and ways to lower or increase the spiciness if you choose to. While the components vary depending on the cook, one thing remains constant: hot pepper. In this post, we will show you how to make pepper sauce for delicious Liberian dry rice.
Why Do Liberians name it Dry Rice
After a savory pepper gravy is made, it is layered onto cooked brown or white rice, and the finished product is called Dry Rice. Liberians call it dry rice because the dish is devoid of juicy consistency one might find in a soup or stew. They merely pour lain oil or palm oil over their rice with the flavorful pepper sauce.
“Dry rice” simply means they are not cooking a stew or soup, and the flavor will come from pepper sauce. This is sneaky because pepper sauce is flavorful. Most people garnish their Dry Rice with boiled white aubergines, kittely bitter balls, toasted ground sesame seeds, and/or puree okra. These extra things are added to make the “dry rice” less boring and very delicious. The proof is in the picture below.
From right to left, on top of the cooked jasmine rice is a delightful dried pepper gravy, next to it are bitter balls kittely, and boiled asparagus. Naturally, each ingredient contains some amount of protein but the asparagus has more, therefore this vegetarian meal shown in this picture provides great carbs, enough protein, and healthy fats, from the avocado oil drizzled over the rice.
Okay, not so fun fact. Dry rice is also seen as a poor person’s food, which is the mindset some people have. Are those people right? It contains readily available ingredients and takes a short time to create. Dry rice means cheap and easy to make.
How to make Pepper Sauce for Liberian Dry Rice
Pack your Pepper sauce in a container for longer shelf life and refrigerate it. The pepper sauce is what makes the dish but it takes less time to cook and requires fewer ingredients: habanero or dried chilies, salt, onion, vegetable oil, and water.
Related: Evaluating Spices in Benin Food
Everyone has their version of a pepper sauce recipe. Each individual prepares the chili peppers differently. Although the ingredients vary with each cook, one thing is constant, hot pepper. There are so many kinds of pepper you can use in this sauce; habanero, scotch bonnet, among others.
Ways to eat pepper gravy
When serving your Liberian dry rice pepper gravy, you can make a tofu protein side dish, and add your choice of veggies for a balanced diet. If you dislike spicy food, reduce the heat by adding extra tomatoes or use a very little piece of pepper; a quarter is enough. Serve while hot or keep in a jar for storage. Your pepper gravy will keep for one month in the fridge if well stored. Be sure to use a clean and dry utensil while transferring the sauce into the storage jar. This helps with preservation and prevents contamination.
Get your cooked rice and vegetable assortment to garnish or cool down. Be sure to have a glass of cold water nearby.
In the picture below, I used palm oil, puree okra with toasted sesame seeds and the pepper sauce is hiding somewhere in there. With this meal, I added fried tofu and used African aubergines (kittely) as my vegetable of choice. The best fast food I know how to make in 20 mins.
Health Benefits and Side Effects of Hot Pepper
Asides from health benefits, pepper could cause distinct side effects such as:
- Stomach cramps
- acid reflux
- burning sensation on the skin
On the positive side, hot sauce is calorie-free, carbohydrate-free, fat-free, and protein-free. It has a little quantity of vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin that aids immunological function. Since pepper contains capsaicin, it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. According to some studies, capsaicin may help you lose weight by increasing your metabolism, increasing fat burning, and decreasing your hunger.
I am not saying pepper sauce is going to solve your health problems, just giving a tidbit of information since everything has an upside and downside effect. We all know too much of something is harmful. It is advisable to eat or use pepper sauce in small amounts, about 1-2 teaspoons at a time.
There is no wrong way to prepare and enjoy pepper sauce. Keep practicing with our pepper sauce recipe. Once you master how to make a perfect pepper gravy and can call it Liberian Dry Rice, we want to see your handiwork. Tag us on Instagram or Facebook. Moreover, our unique pepper sauce recipe could be great for meal prep, especially if you are busy throughout the week. I want to hear from you, what is your spice tolerance level?
Suggested Humble Vege Recipes
- 1/3 cup of dried peppers
- 1 whole onion chopped
- 3 green onion chopped
- 1.5 cups of water
- 3-4 tablespoon oil
- half teaspoon garlic (1 clove)
- 1 tablespoon sugar (thickener)
- 1 teaspoon flour
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/4- 1 teaspoon Salt & Pepper to taste
- Heat a clean cooking pan and add 1/3 a cup of pepper. Toast while stirring until they turn dark.
- Empty the pepper into a bowl and crush them using a wooden cooking stick.
- Add 1 tablespoon of sugar and salt to the crushed pepper and mix to combine.
- Add 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and 1.5 cups of water and stir.
- In a clean cooking pan (you may wipe the one you used for toasting pepper), heat 3-4 tablespoons of oil.
- Add 1 tablespoon of flour and stir until brown.
- Add 1 whole onion chopped and let it cook for about 2 minutes then add 3 green onions chopped. Stir to combine.
- Add the pepper mixture and half a teaspoon (1 clove) of garlic and stir.
- Cover the pan and let it cook for about 5 minutes OR until the consistency is as desired. Congratulations, you've successfully prepared Liberian Dry Rice 🙂
- Serve it hot OR keep it in a jar for use later as gravy for rice.
- When preparing pepper sauce, avoid touching any sensitive body part, like your eyes until you've washed your hands with soap and water. You'll thank me later 🙂
- Remember to use clean utensils to store your dried pepper gravy for longer shelf life and to avoid contamination.
- Liberian pepper sauce stores up to one month in the fridge.