The Malagueta chili pepper is similar in appearance to the Bird’s Eye chili or the Thai chili because of its bright red color and short, tapered body. It starts out green and matures to red, and grows to only about 2 inches.
The Malagueta is one of the most popular chilis in Brazil, and is also used widely in Portugal and Mozambique. Its name comes from an unrelated spice in West Africa called the melegueta, which causes some confusion.
It is sold in markets at different stages of ripeness, each usually going by different names: mostly different versions of the word “malagueta.” But, in Portugal, they call the smaller, younger ones “piri-piri.”
The Malagueta chili pepper is widely popular in Brazilian cooking such as soups and stews, as well as regional dishes from Mozambique and Portugal. In Portugal it is often used in poultry dishes. They are also great for salsa, hot sauce and as a condiment.