Charred Spicy Piri Piri Chicken

Baked Dish, Chicken, Latin American, Main Course

Hi Fran,

So a couple months ago, when I posted about my Brazilian meal featuring: Chicken Moqueca, I barely spent any time talking about Piri Piri sauce. This sauce adds a really intriguing taste to the chicken you will cook it with.

It’s a very nice combination of the sweetness and pepperiness of red peppers, but the good hot kick of a mellowed down chilly, once it bas been thoroughly roasted. Then you add to that a lot of garlic for the roasting, some oil and loads of lemony/lime zing. Saute all of it up and blend it to a smooth emulsion in which you let your chicken marinade for a good 15 minutes before cooking.

Not only does this allow for the chicken pick up the lovely flavor combination, the olive oil and lemon help to really tenderize it so that when it is cooked it literally melts off the bone.

There is a South African chain restaurant here in London called Nandos that specializes in this chicken. And there always lines of people waiting to get heir spicy roasted delicious piri piri chicken. Yes, it’s that good.

The recipe I’m sharing is not spicy, it is merely taking on the chilly notes but not absorbing the heat. A solid dosage of cayenne pepper though will definitely do the trick – if you’ve just gotta have some heat. I would definitely recommend making a double batch of the sauce, 1 batch for marinading and cooking the chicken, 1 batch for dipping the chicken in!! Also, I made this chicken in the oven, but I have a feeling that it would be even better on the barbie!

Charred Spicy Piri Piri Chicken

Serves 4-6 (ps please do make 2 batches of piri piri sauce)


  • 1 regular sized chicken (quartered)
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 4 chile peppers, ribs and seeds removed, roughly chopped (or substitute other hot red peppers)
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Heat a small saute pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the pan. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic and peppers to the pan. Saute, stirring often, until the edges of the garlic start to turn brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the lemon juice to the pan, and remove from the heat.
  2. Place the contents of the saute pan in a blender and add the salt. Puree the peppers and garlic in the blender until mostly smooth. Drizzle the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil through the feed tube of the lid of the blender until incorporated into a smooth emulsion.
  3. Arrange chicken pieces in a large baking dish(or roasting tray) and with a brush generously cover all the pieces in Piri Piri sauce. Marinade for 15 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 200˚C (390˚F).
  5. Put the chicken in the oven and bake for 50 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink on the inside. Check the chicken basting with sauce every 20 minutes. When the skin is perfectly crisp and golden brown with slight charring at the extremities, you should serve immediately with some rice & my light and creamy coleslaw!

2 thoughts on “Charred Spicy Piri Piri Chicken

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