Piri-piri Chicken

Piri-piri Chicken

Flame-grilled chicken marinated in east Africa’s most
famous blend of chilli and spices is served oceanside with
a cold beer. The simple things in life are often the best.

Piri-piri sauce is one of the world’s original culinary fusions. Reputedly chillies were brought to Europe from the New World by Columbus, then Portuguese navigators exported them to colonies in Africa. Here the fiery bird’s-eye chillies were dubbed pili-pili, Swahili for ‘pepperpepper’, and subsequently cross-pollinated with local African chillies. Eventually, the chillies were transported back to Europe and Portugal, retaining their African name.

You’ll need
1 tbs olive oil
4–8 bird’s-eye chillies,
depending on how hot you
want the dish
1½ tsp chopped fresh ginger
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and
roughly chopped
½ cup (125mL) lemon juice
1 tbs paprika
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp pepper
4 chicken legs
Rice or fried potatoes and a
fresh green salad to serve

Cooking Method
1 To make the marinade, combine the olive oil, chillies, ginger, garlic, lemon juice, paprika, salt and pepper in a food processor.
2 Rub the chicken with roughly half the marinade, cover and refrigerate for around 3 hours.
3 After marinating, grill the chicken on a barbecue at medium heat, basting regularly with the remaining marinade until the skin is slightly charred and the juices run clear.
4 Serve with rice or fried potatoes and a fresh green salad.

Tasting notes
Sunday afternoon at the beach is a great family tradition in Maputo, Mozambique’s capital city. Futebol (soccer) games with scores of players on each side swarm up and down the sand, and there’s a steady stream of frosty bottles of local 2M (‘Doshem’) lager being retrieved from ice-boxes. In the distance, Maputo’s mini-Manhattan emerges from the heat haze and the beach’s essential aroma is chicken being grilled with spicy piri-piri sauce. If the friendly locals don’t ask you to join their barbecues, seek out the busiest of the piripiri stalls punctuating the beach and dive in. Look forward to a smoky flavour combination of chilli heat and citrusy zing, underpinned by expertly grilled chicken with a charred and caramelised skin.

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