Ata dindin
Nigerian hot pepper sauce

Ata dindin or “fried pepper” in the Yoruba language is a delicious sauce that can range from medium hot to extremely hot. The Yoruba language is spoken in Benin and Nigeria. In Nigeria, a country more blessed with linguist diversity than 

most other places on earth, it is one of the most important, widely spoken languages.  Enjoying food from all over the world and loving any kind of peppers especially hot ones I came across this chili sauce while searching for an accompaniment for calamari rings. Seeing that we had nearly all the necessary ingredients at home I decided to try our own version of this spicy Nigerian treat. Having looked at quite a few variations of Ata dindin some of which had so many red hot chilies added to them that I feared my wife and I would have only been able to eat them with a first aid kit right next to us on the dinner table.

I decided to make our sauce slightly less daring. I included all in all 5 different kinds of peppers: 3 spicy hot (jalapeno, cayenne and habanero) and 2 mild bell pepper types. The final result we both liked very much. There are lots and lots of other uses and combinations for this lovely dish and we are sure to try quite a few of them in the future.

Preparation time: 40 minutes 
Cooking time: 60 minutes
Resting time: 0 minutes
Total time needed: 1 hour 40 minutes
Grade of Difficulty: standard

for medium hot
Ata dindin sauce

  • 1/2 cup of peanut oil (use more if you like)
  • 1 large and 3 small mild red bell peppers
  • 5 dried cayenne chili peppers, deseeded and soaked in water for at least 30 minutes
  • 1 fresh green jalapeno pepper, deseeded
  • 1/2 habanero chili pepper, deseeded (Use more chili peppers for a spicier sauce)
  • 1 large onion,diced
  • 7 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
  • 100 ml / 3.38 oz tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1 shot of brown balsamic vinegar

For a hotter version of this pepper sauce follow this link


  • Deseed the spicy chili peppers and place together with the bell peppers, the quartered onion and the garlic cloves in a food processor and grind them into a smooth paste.
  • Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan and add the pepper paste to it.
  • Stir-fry it for a few minutes than add the tomato sauce and brown sugar.
  • Turn down the heat, cover partially with a lid and simmer the sauce for 50 minutes, stirring it every 10 to 15 minutes.

  • After 50 minutes turn down the heat even further and add the balsamic vinegar. Mix it in and let the sauce stand with the covered lid for another 10 minutes.

Let the hot sauce cool down a little before you fill it in a glass jar with lid. Once it has cooled down to room temperature place it in the fridge and use it as a spicy condiment for any of your favourite savory dishes. 

Makes about 2 cups of the medium hot sauce

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