Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Piri Piri Chicken and Seasoned Wedges

I'm probably going to get strung up by a lot of people when I say this, but I have to come clean.

I don't like Nando's.

I find the chicken greasy and dry at the same time (quite an impressive achievement), the food is never warm and the restaurant is always full of people trying to chase away their hangovers.

However I do like piri piri and it's really not that hard to make at home. 
It's the chili that is the important ingredient and the clue is in the name.  Although people tend to assume piri piri is Portuguese in origin the dish actually originated in Mozambique and can be spelt as piri piri, peri peri or even pili pili.  However you chose to spell it, all versions translate as 'chilli' so the name literally means 'chilli chilli' in Swahili. 
You need little birdseye chilli's for this dish - small, fiery and red.  Go with at least 1, more if you want a bit more heat.  You can scrape the seeds out to amp up the chilli flavour without the heat if you want.  Just be careful - I was careless whilst making this, brushed my nose with my fingers and had burning nostrils for the next hour, a really unpleasant experience!
The longer you marinade the chicken for, the better but it will need at least 2 hours; overnight would be awesome.

To serve I think it goes really well with home-made seasoned potato wedges and corn on the cob dripping in salt and butter.  According to Steve I'm weird for putting salt on my corn but I happen to love it.
For the chicken you need:

4 chicken portions (strangely enough) - on the bone
1 small onion
Tomato passata or puree
Olive Oil
1 lemon (cut in half)
1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
Sprinkling of maldon sea salt flakes
1 dried ancho chilli
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried coriander leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon celery salt
2 cloves crushed garlic
Between 1 and 5 red birdseye chillli's
Score the chicken with deep strips along the skin.  Fry the onion in a little oil until translucent.  Add the onion, passata, olive oil, juice of half the lemon, herbs, spices, hot sauce and chilli's into a blender and blitz until smooth.  Put the sauce into a freezer bag, add the chicken and mush it all together, making sure you massage the sauce into the chicken well. 

Set aside to marinade until 1 hour before you are ready to eat.

Turn the oven up to 180 and prep your potatoes.  Scrub the skins well and cut them into wedges.  You don't need to peel them.  Scatter the wedges in a baking tray, slosh them with olive oil, pepper, thyme and a generous amount of sea salt and roast for 45 minutes - 1 hour, turning every so often.
Put the chicken into a baking dish and bake for 45 minutes - 1 hour, checking that the juices run clear before serving.  Because you are baking the chicken in the marinade you will find that the skin blackens a little bit. Don't worry - this just adds to the flavour.
Serve with corn on the cob and coleslaw with the chicken juices dribbled over the top and napkins as people will want to invite their fingers to this chicken party!


  1. You're making me feel so hungry right now! This looks sooooo good! And way cheaper than Nando's too! x

    1. Hey Amber! Sorry, at least it's lunchtime! xx