Remember when I said, I am not a big sauce fan couple of weeks ago?
Well, I want to share with you my all time favorite sauce, the traditional Portuguese Peri Peri Sauce (also known as Piri Piri sauce). We are talking spicy sauce today for a Peri Peri Chicken recipe.
We have first tried Peri Peri sauce at a Nando’s restaurant in Australia, many years ago and it was like love at first sight. Ah! their flame grilled chicken marinated and basted in their Peri Peri sauce made from African bird’s eye chillies is amazing 🙂
We absolutely love their signature restaurant sauce. It is not the same story with the Peri Peri sauce you can buy in bottles from supermarkets. It lacks flavor, punch and texture, my opinion. Quite disappointing ….
Edite Vieira, author of “The Taste of Portugal” has said that two of the most famous dishes that use piri-piri are chicken piri piri and shrimp (prawn) piri piri. The secret is always in the sauce….a good, full flavored and balanced sauce.
Of course, trying to recreate Peri Peri sauce is not easy. Not because it’s difficult to make the sauce, it takes just 5 minutes to have it done, but it is so tricky to get that right balance.
I have been working to perfect my Peri Peri sauce for some time and I am finally really happy with its flavor! I usually use Thai bird chili as I can’t find piri-piri peppers. You can adjust the spiciness by choosing a milder chili, like Cherry Chili, for example.
Here is my first attempt making a short video to show you how quick and easy it is to make Peri Peri Sauce
My Peri Peri Chicken recipe is perfect for dinner (on a still cold) weeknight, when you don’t feel firing up the BBQ. The whole secret stays in marinating the chicken (you can use a whole chicken, butterflied chicken, chicken legs, etc) ahead of cooking time. If you remember to leave it over night, would be perfect. If you forget, like I did 🙂 allow at least 2 hours for the chicken to absorb flavors.
I used chicken thighs this time and have placed them in a gallon size Ziploc bag, added generous quantity of Peri Peri sauce, sealed the bag and rubbed the chicken for a couple of minutes, before placing it in the fridge.
- 5-7 fresh Bird eye chili, depending on how spicy you want it
- ½ to 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, depending on how thin you want it
- 4 medium garlic cloves
- juice from 1 lemon
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- salt and pepper
- 8 chicken thighs skin on
- Prepare your chili, discard stems and roughly chop them.
- Place all the ingredients from Peri Peri sauce list in a food processor fitted with a metal blade/ blender and blend until smooth. Check if you are ok with the texture of the sauce (I like mine a bit coarse, not very smooth. If you prefer it smoother blend the mixture some more). Pour the mixture into a small glass jar and place it in the fridge.*
- Place chicken thighs (or whole chicken/ butterflied chicken, chicken legs) in a bowl or Ziploc bag, add generous amount of Peri Peri sauce, cover or seal the bag and place it in the fridge for at least 2 hours (overnight would be ideal).
- Preheat your oven at 400F/ 200C. Spray some olive oil on a skillet/ baking pan, add marinated chicken and bake it for 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked, basting with some more sauce after 20 minutes in the oven.
- Serve with extra Peri Peri sauce.
- *You can store Peri Peri sauce in a tight closed jar, in the fridge, for maximum 4 weeks.