Chicken Piri Piri

Chicken Piri Piri

This is one of my dad’s favorite dish when we lived in the Congo.  I remember when my mum made the dish and because it was so spicy, my dad’s eyes were watering from the peppers.  Piri-Piri chicken is a spicy dish with roots in both Africa and Portugal.  This dish was first created  in Angola and Mozambique when Portuguese settlers arrive with chile peppers (known as Piri-Piri in Swahili) then migrated in the Congo.  I am dedicating this recipe to my best friend from Portugal when I lived in Congo.  We separated during the war and I have never seen her again.  Make this dish at least one to two hours in advance.

A weekend dish sharing with family and friends.

Chicken Piri Piri

My dad in front of his hotel in the Congo with his Chef.


Cut up chicken thighs or breast
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp Piri-Piri sauce
2 tbsp fresh lemon

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
12-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled, thinly sliced
1 large shallot, peeled, quartered
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup Piri-Piri sauce
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for brushing
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
13 1/2 to 4-pound chicken, bones removed


For glaze:
Melt butter in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cilantro and garlic; cook until garlic begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Add Piri-Piri sauce and lemon juice. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 2 minutes. DO AHEAD: Glaze can be made up to 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm before using.

Finely chop cilantro, ginger, shallot, and garlic in processor. Add Piri-Piri sauce, 1/4 cup oil, lemon juice, coarse salt, and pepper; process marinade to blend.
Place chicken, skin side up, on work surface. Using the palm of your hand, press on breastbone to flatten chicken. Tuck wing tips under. Pour half of marinade into 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish. Open chicken like a book; place skin side down in single layer in dish. Pour remaining marinade over. Cover; chill at least 4 hours or overnight, turning chicken occasionally.

Prepare barbecue (medium heat). If using 2-burner, gas grill, light 1 burner. If using 3-burner, gas grill, do not light center burner. If using a charcoal grill, light briquettes in chimney and pour onto 1 side of lower grill rack.

Place disposable aluminum pan on unlit part of a grill. Place upper a grill rack on a barbecue; brush with oil. Remove chicken from marinade.

Arrange skin side up on grill rack above drip pan. Cover barbecue; grill until skin is browned or use a thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165°F, turning often the chicken, about 40 minutes. Transfer to platter. Pour warm glaze over.  Serve with rice or potatoes.

Makes 2 to 4 servings

You can purchase several brands of  Piri-Piri sauce at Amazon Peri Peri Piri Piri Portuguese Spice Hot Sauce 50ml

I was so excited to finally find the Piri-Piri recipe from Epicurious like my mom use to make it.