It’s a dip, it’s a seasoning, it’s a marinade. Yes, Piri Piri or Peri Peri or Pili Pili is a very versatile sauce of Portuguese origin. The hot sauce is named after it’s main ingredient- the Piri Piri chilli peppers, also known as African Bird’s eye Chillie, that travelled from South Africa and Mozambique and the Portuguese brought them to Goa, India.
In Pakistani, the Peri Peri marinade reached us through Nando’s famous grilled chicken basted in four flavours of this sauce, ranging from mild to extra hot. It’s amazing how easy and economical it is to make this marinade at home and the flavour comes out much stronger too.
The best pairing for this sauce is definitely chicken but you can use it as a marinade for fish and prawns too or dip for vegetables, chips and nachos. The quantities given for Peri Peri Marinade will make extra sauce that can be served on the side. I used some of my extra sauce to sauté my potato wedges in it and I think I’ve never tasted better potato wedges ever!
You can start with 6 Chillies in your marinade, taste and take up the heat slowly to the level that suits you. The given quantities will make a medium hot sauce with extra tang from lots of lemon. Whether you are a hard core chilli lover like me or a new comer to the world of hot food, this easy and delicious sauce is a must addition in your hot sauce recipe repertoire.
For Peri Peri Marinade:
1 small red onion
6-12 red chilli peppers ( depending on how hot you want to make it)
6 cloves garlic
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt to taste
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
For Baked Chicken:
6 chicken breast fillets
1/2 of Peri Peri marinade
This Is What You Do:
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
Add all the marinade ingredients to a food processor, blitz to make a smooth sauce.
Slice chicken fillets into halves to make 12 thinner fillets for quick cooking.
Place chicken fillets in an oven proof dish and pour half of the marinade over them. Rub the marinade all over them on both sides. Arrange them in a single layer, slightly overlapping each other, in the pan.
Cover the pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Basting the chicken with sauce in the pan, bake uncovered another 15-20 minutes or till the chicken is golden on top and juices in the pan sufficiently reduced.
Serve hot with potato wedges, grilled vegetables and pickled green Chillies.
*If you don’t want to serve the chicken immediately, keep the pan covered with foil to keep it warm and juicy.
*Bake sweet potato or potato wedges and sauté them in a little olive oil and remaining Piri Piri sauce for delicious side.
*If you want to keep the sauce in bottle, cook it for a few minutes, then store the cooled sauce in a sterilised jar in refrigerator.
*you can use the same sauce to grill chicken. Just marinate chicken for 30 minutes in the peri peri sauce before grilling.