Sunday, October 13, 2013

Piri Piri... Peri Peri... Pili Pili Chicken – Some like it hot !

Pin It

It is Piri Piri? Or Peri Peri? Or Pili Pili ? I lean towards Piri Piri, but whatever you prefer to call it, this spicy chicken dish, which originated in Portugal’s former African colonies, has been a huge hit world wide - as evidenced by the success of Nando’s restaurant chain. I’ve never tasted Nando’s version, which apparently goes from a wussy version that barely registers on the Scoville Scale, to a “throat-scorching” extra h-h-hot!

There’s not much preparation to this easy recipe, however you will need time for the chicken to wallow in all those lovely flavours – 24 hours if possible. It's worth it though, for a succulent, tasty chicken that is so easy to portion up.
The recipe below is how I like it – with the heat somewhere between 10,000 – 20,000 Scovilles so I can still taste the other flavours in the dish. The beauty of this marinade is that you can tweak the ingredients to how you like it. Use African Bird’s Eye Chillies to ramp it up to 100,000+ Scovilles if you like it hot.

For 1 spicy chicken, feeding about 4 people, you will need...
... a food processor
Piri Piri Marinade
100mls extra virgin olive oil
30mls cider vinegar
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 fat cloves of garlic
2 red chillies, stalks removed, deseeded and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon coriander seed, crushed to a powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon of sweet paprika
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
the juice and finely grated zest of half a lemon
the juice of half a lime 

1 chicken weighing approximately 1.5kg, spatchcocked* 

Time – at least 12 hours, but preferably 24 hours. 

Place all the ingredients for the marinade in a food processer and blend until combined into a smooth liquid.

Place the spatchcocked chicken in a large Ziploc-style bag or non-metal container and pour in the marinade. Seal and refrigerate for 12 hours or overnight, turning occasionally to make sure the marinade gets a chance to reach all parts of the chicken.
Pale and interesting? Nah!

 When ready to cook, pre-heat the oven to 200°C. Place the chicken in a shallow roasting tin and roast for 35 - 45 minutes, or until cooked through. To test for doneness, pierce the thickest part of the thigh and if the juices run clear, with no trace of pink, then it’s cooked.
Looking so much better with a tan !

I’m serving this with a carrot and orange salad and baked potatoes.

*A spatchcocked chicken is prepared as follows: 

Sit the chicken on its breast and, using a heavy duty kitchen scissors or poultry shears, cut down both sides of the backbone, and remove it. Open the chicken out and, using a heavy knife, cut into the cartilage in the centre of the chicken, until the knife reaches the breastbone. Turn the chicken over and gently press down to flatten it out.
Pin It


  1. It's peri peri around these parts, even at Nando's. I refuse to eat anything that it hot enough to melt my lips off. :)

  2. We don't care what its called we just like it!

  3. @ Maureen, yeah me too. I was ambushed by a Scotch Bonnet once. Oh the pain, the pain!

  4. Oh my goodness. That chicken looks good and charred perfectly! I don't care however it's called - I am diving on it. Maybe on a little less heat for me as my older stomach cannot take a lot of heat anymore. Have a wonderful week, Hester! :)

  5. That looks like a fantastic recipe, totally bookmarking and trying this. Thanks for sharing!

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

  6. Looks delicious, Hester. If I ever make anything hot these days, I get stories around the table about how spice doesn't agree with them. Admittedly, too hot and you could be eating doormat but your version sounds just right.

  7. I have seen here Piri Piri sauce but have never thought that this name can mean such a wonderful flavourful chicken! This mixture of flavours sounds so much better than the Piri Piri sauce which is good, but not much more than a spicy sauce.

  8. Hester what a lovely spicy chicken recipe - I do not think that I ever made a recipe using Piri Piri before - it does sound rather funny but looks all the more delicious!
    P.S.: thank you for pointing out that my email address does nor appear where it should, I shall remedy that today ( - the cake pan is for a Marguerite Cake though not for Madeleines - you had mentioned in one of your comments on my blog that your sister is quite fond of marguerites and that you would look for a similar pan as I used in one of my blog posts - so, that´s what it is...hope that is still to your liking, if so, I will send it your way next week!
    All the best from cool and rainy Bonn!

  9. I love it when I have everything I need for a recipe, although I think I'll be making the wussy version. I love heat, buy my hubby isn't a fan.

  10. I can feel the heat coming through my computer when I look at your dish. Interesting that you call it a 'spatchcocked chicken'- I've also heard it called a 'butterflied chicken.' Whatever it's called- it looks good!

  11. I've had pili pili chicken before but never made it at home (didn't even now how to prepare the marinade). So fun to finally learn it. I have to reduce spice bit for me and kids (my husband will ask me to keep his spice level high), but it's on my list to try this recipe finally.

  12. This looks delicious and I will be trying it out VERY soon.....I tend to call it piri piri. Yum!


Share your thoughts - I'd love to hear from you!