How to make a starter sauce (Ata lilo) – The starter sauce is a name I coined to for ‘Ata lilo’ which literally means blended pepper. Ata means pepper and Lilo means blended or ground.
In my tribe, ”Ata” is a general term used for both peppers only and also, a combination of peppers with other things like tomatoes, onions, garlic, and the likes.
You a watch the video of how I make my Ata Lilo below:
I was a little skeptical about publishing my own way of making the Ata lilo but I gave it a second thought because most of our Nigerian recipe calls for this and I don’t want to bore people by going through process every time I have a recipe that calls for the starter sauce. I’d rather refer people to this post than bore them with the process over and over again each time I have a recipe that calls for it since I like to keep my video recipes as short as I can.
Just as I have chosen to name this sauce “starter sauce” I have also come across names like Base sauce, Nigerian pepper sauce, Tomato sauce, and the like. You call it what you think suits you best but the aim of the whole recipe is to get a pipping red-colored sauce for your enjoyment.
You can make this sauce in bulk if you have enough freezer space. you can even use your own variety of peppers. (You don’t necessarily need to use my choice of peppers).
It’s O.k to boil it on high heat if you are planning to use it up within a couple of days but if you intend to store it and use it over a couple of months it’s advisable to boil it slowly so that it doesn’t go sour
Also, your cooking time will increase if you use a larger quantity of Peppers, Tomatoes and onions.
***I made this sauce to show you the process involved if you plan to store it over a long time note that, you definitely don’t need to boil it for a long time if you are planning to use it right away or within a couple of days.
Below is the list of ingredients I used but you can vary or tweak it the way you want it. It could also be made in Bulk and stored in the freezer for a couple of months for use when needed.
***You can also remove the seed of the Habanero Pepper if you like less heat in the Sauce
How to make a starter sauce – Ata lilo
- 2 Red Bell Peppers
- 1 Habanero
- 1 Chilli Pepper
- 4 Tomatoes Big plum
- 1 Onion Sweet
- 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
- Blend the peppers, Tomatoes and Onions
- Add oil in the Pot
- Pour the blended sauce (You don’t need to heat the Oil). Note that if you heat the Oil the sauce will start to fry and we really don’t want to fry the oil we just want to boil.
- Boil on a low heat. (I set my stove on a mark of 4).
- Boil on a low heat between 1 hour and 1 hour thirty minutes depending on the consistency you want.