The Peri Peri (also known as African Bird's Eye Pepper) Whether you call it peri-peri, piri-piri or pili-pili, one things for surethis is one hot pepper. Its real name is the African birds eye chili. Portuguese explorers in southern Africa were introduced to this fiery chili pepper, for which the Swahili word is pili-pili. The settlers tried in vain to pronounce the foreign word, but peri-peri is what rolled off their tongues, and the name stuck. The pepper ranges from one half to one inch in length and tapers at a blunt point. Green means immature and bright red means ready to use. The small package packs a mighty punch with a 175,000 rating on the Scoville scale (which measures the hotness of chili peppers). The chili is most commonly used in a sauce, combined with other spices and seasonings.