Nigerian Red Pepper Sauce

How to make a Nigerian Red Pepper Sauce.

This recipe for Nigerian, original name Obe Ata, delivers a rich and flavourful red pepper and tomato based sauce that can be used in stews or cooked down into a condiment for dipping.

Ingredients: Makes 2 Litres

  • 8 red bell peppers, stemmed, cored and cut into roughly 1/2-inch dice
  • 9 tablespoons red palm oil, divided
  • salt
  • 12 medium cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 6 large plum tomatoes, cored and quartered
  • 4 Fresno chilli peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into roughly 1/2-inch dice
  • 4 Habanero or Scotch bonnet peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into roughly 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 large red onions, peeled and cut into roughly 1/2-inch dice
  • One 2-inch segment peeled fresh ginger, roughly chopped
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 9 tablespoons canola or other neutral oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Nigerian curry powder
  • Ground Cameroon pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) and set oven racks in the top and bottom third positions.
  2. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, toss red bell peppers with 2 tablespoons of palm oil.
  4. Season with salt.
  5. Transfer in an even layer to one of the rimmed baking sheets.
  6. In the same large bowl, toss the garlic, tomatoes, Fresno chillies, Habanero chillies, onions and ginger with 4 tablespoons of palm oil.
  7. Season with salt.
  8. Transfer in an even layer to the other rimmed baking sheet.
  9. Roast the vegetables, stirring and rotating baking sheets once or twice during cooking, until all are tender, some of their juices have cooked off, and they are charred in spots, about 45 minutes for the red bell peppers and 30 minutes for the tomatoes, chillies and onions.
  10. Scrape all of the roasted vegetables into a blender jar and blend until either a chunky or smooth purée forms (the consistency is up to you).
  11. Transfer vegetable purée to a Dutch oven.
  12. Stir in chicken stock, remaining 3 tablespoons of palm oil, canola oil, curry powder and Cameroon pepper.
  13. Bring to a simmer.
  14. Season lightly with salt, then simmer until the sauce is reduced to a good stew like thickness, for about 1 hour.
  15. If desired, season with additional curry powder and/or Cameroon pepper to meet your desired flavour and spice level.
  16. Continue to cook down the sauce until it thickens to a dip like consistency, for about 3 hours; the oils will break from the sauce in this time and fry the vegetable purée, deepening its flavour further.
  17. Can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days and in the freezer for up to 3 months.
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