I have been experimenting for a while now, trying to come up with a good and authentic-tasting peri peri sauce from scratch so as to make my home-made version of Nando's yummy spicy chicken and FINALLY I believe I have landed on the perfect combination. If you've had Nando's Chicken, then this recipe in my opinion comes very close to it. Plus since it is made entirely from scratch, it is both healthier and more convenient for those who have no access to the bottled Nando's Sauces/Marinades! This is definitely a must-try recipe!!
The word Peri Peri comes from the Swahili word Pili Pili which stands for pepper/spicy chilli. So this dish is normally most enjoyable spicy. But of course you can always adjust the amount of chilli to suit your personal taste.
First, prepare the sauce:
Peri Peri Sauce
This sauce is used for marinating the chicken and any leftover is normally cooked down and served as a dip. I prefer making the sauce up to a day ahead of using as the flavors tend to develop with a bit of time. So you can go ahead and prepare the sauce up to a day before you need to use it.
2-6 birds-eye red chillis (adjust spice level to your taste....2 will be mildly spicy whilst 6 will be very spicy)
1 big red capsicum/bell-pepper
1 lemon's juice
2 tbsp. paprika powder
2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. oregano
½ tsp. red chilli powder
½ cup oil (veg or olive)
5 cloves of garlic
4 tbsp. dark vinegar
1 tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. red or orange food coloring
Blend all the ingredients of the sauce until smooth, then pour into a container and refrigerate until needed. You can make the sauce in bulk and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks and use as and when required.
Next, prepare the chicken:
1 chicken, (approx 1kg-1.5kg) skin removed and cut into quarters then make 2-3 slits on each piece
Tip: To get the maximum moistness and succulence in your chicken and to infuse flavor into the meat, take a container big enough to hold the chicken quarters. Add 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, half cup white vinegar, juice of 1 lemon, throw in some roughly chopped fresh herbs like coriander or parsley. Then add COLD water and swirl/mix everything together. Now add in your cleaned chicken pieces, they should be completely immersed in the water. Cover the container and refrigerate it for 1-4 hours. Then drain out the liquid, rinse out the chicken quarters properly to get rid of any excess salt and proceed with the marination.
Pour the prepared sauce over the chicken pieces, making sure it goes into the slits. Cover and refrigerate. Allow to marinate at least overnight or for up to 2 days.
When ready to cook, shake the excess marinade off the chicken pieces. First grill the chicken on a bbq/charcoal grill (or under the broiler grill of your oven) for about 5 minutes per side, just to seal the chicken pieces so they stay nice and moist inside, and this gives the chicken that awesome bbq flavour especially if done on a charcoal grill.
Then place the chicken quarters on a greased tray, brush some sauce over them and pop it in a pre-heated oven at 170 C and bake for about 20 minutes (turn them over midway through the baking). Next, reduce the temperature to 120 C and bake for another 15-20 minutes. Make sure to brush the chicken with some of the peri peri sauce once more during the baking so they stay moist. Once done, remove and keep the chicken covered to retain moisture.
Optional tip: If you did not bbq the chicken on a proper charcoal grill, you can at this point light a small coal, place it on a piece of foil and put it in the center of the dish holding the cooked chicken. Drop some oil on the lit coal and cover the dish so that the smoke released from the coal gets absorbed into the chicken. This will give your chicken a good bbq aroma.
For the remainder of the marinade/sauce, just pour it into a small saucepan, add about half a cup of water and simmer until the sauce thickens and is cooked. You can use this to serve with the chicken.
Serve your delicious Peri Peri chicken with fries, fresh salad and a cold drink .