Piri-piri Chicken

Did you know the word Piri-piri actually describes the African bird’s eye chili in Portuguese and a number of African languages [courtesy of Wikipedia of course]. Well i didn’t until i googled it, for the four-ish years I’ve been enjoying Nando’s in Melbourne.

Speaking of Nando’s, you’ve absolutely got to go to one of their many outlets if you haven’t dropped by already. The marinated chicken is just fantastic. We always ask for our takeaway to be spicy hot [you get to choose how spicy you want it], eagerly wait for our number to come up, collect the pack gingerly and do everything we can not to appear nuts by running home to devour our chicken pieces and chips as piping hot as possible. Once we get home and the door is shut, that’s where the real eating begins. We simply tear the pack open and start gorging on the first piece we lay our hands on. Licking of fingers thorough the meal is a must and hardly any words are exchanged across the table until all that’s left are bones, sparkling clean bones. It is rather embarrassing but i have to admit that in our eagerness to have Nando’s for dinner one evening last year, we happily rushed out the door, locking ourselves out in the process. And yes we ended up waiting two hours for the locksmith. So yes, now the secret’s out, you know what gluttons, and very unglamorous ones at that, my sister and i are.

I’ve always wondered how Nando’s made those chicken so damned addictive. So naturally, i had to give this recipe a shot.

While this didn’t blow me away, it was pretty decent. The chicken was moist, juicy and really flavourful, with a tang of sourness and just a hint of spiciness. I definitely wouldn’t say no to making this again but between this and the pasta last night, given that they call for the same ingredients, the pasta wins hands down.

Piri-piri Chicken [adapted from Australian Good Taste, February 2007 issue]

2 Marylands
6 cloves of garlic, in chunks
4cm piece of ginger
2/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp dried hot chili flakes
1/2 cup chopped fresh continental parsley

  1. To make piri-piri marinade, process garlic, ginger, olive oil and lemon juice in a food processor. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add chili flakes and parsley and stir till combined.
  2. Place chicken in a sealable bag. Pour marinade in, making sure to coat chicken well. Place in fridge for at least 4 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 200C. Grease baking tray with extra olive oil. Place chicken in tray, skin side up, discarding extra marinade. Drizzle over olive and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 50 minutes, brushing the chicken with pan juices occasionally, till chicken is golden brown and juices run clear when the thickest part is pierced with a skewer. Leave to rest for 10 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges and chips.
Leave a comment


  1. Patricia Scarpin

     /  March 22, 2007

    Both dishes look incredible!
    I love pasta and must start making it using new sauces – I usually go for tomato and basil.

    I had to go check “piri-piri” – shame on me for not knowing a word from my native language!! :D

  2. thecoffeesnob

     /  March 23, 2007

    Haha, we learn something new every day :)

    I’m like that with chicken too, all i usually do for roasted chicken is rub with spices. So the piri-piri chicken was a nice change.

    I hope you enjoy the pasta as much as i did :)


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