Peri-Peri Chicken

A favorite chicken dish of mine is peri-peri chicken. I often go to Nando’s to enjoy this famous Portuguese recipe. The marinade for peri-peri, also called piri-piri or pili-pili, is traditionally made from African bird’s eye chili also known by the same name. One trivia I learned is that “pili” means pepper in Swahili – so pili-pili is literally “pepper, pepper”. 

Thai Chilis are similar to African Pili-Pili and are readily available in most Asian stores.

I want to replicate the peri-peri I eat at Nando’s – and the one I made is for the mild version (I’m not too keen on very spicy dishes.) However, this recipe can be “spiced up” according to taste. I added the basic ingredients in my first attempt but you can add other herbs like tarragon, basil and oregano.

Pair your Peri-Peri Chicken with Spanish Rice

For a perfect pairing, serve this meal with Spanish Rice.


  • 2 fresh limes, squeezed and pulp included
  • 1/2 lemon, squeezed
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2-3 pcs bird’s eye chili / thai chili, sliced (adjust for more heat)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp paprika powder (or use cayenne if you want it more spicy)
  • 1 tbsp crushed garlic
  • 1 lb chicken thighs


  1. Blend well lime juice, lemon juice, salt, chili, vegetable oil, vinegar, coriander powder, paprika and garlic in a bowl until the texture is consistent.
  2. Coat the chicken with the marinade. Marinate for at least one hour to 1 day. Save the remaining marinade for dipping sauce.
  3. Preheat the oven to 175 C or 350 F. Bake the chicken for 25-30 minutes. This will brown the chicken but will not cook it.
  4. Set grill on medium high heat. Grill the chicken for 10-15 minutes. Baste the chicken with marinade while it cooks.
  5. Serve your chicken in a plate with the dipping sauce.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes (plus marinating period)
Cooking Time: 45 minutes

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