This little gem found its way into our kitchen a couple of months ago. What is it anyway? Piri piri is Swahili for ‘pepper pepper’. In Malawi, they spell it ‘Peri Peri’. However you choose to spell it, its meaning is the same; a small hot pepper, member of the Capsicum family. And, it does pack a punch!
This spice seems to be everywhere lately. Google searches will give you recipes for Piri Piri goat, beef, chicken, potatoes, chip dips, its uses are apparently limitless! Even Dominos .com.au offers a Peri Peri Beef Pizza!
Apparently, I may be the last person on earth to learn of the existence of Peri Peri.
Since its arrival in our spice pantry, we have been experimenting with ways to use it to its best advantage. The obvious, and easiest of course is to just sprinkle it over our chosen protein before cooking. This gave us a nice blast of heat, but not much flavour. So, I came up with this marinade, which gives a nice tingle on the lips, a slow burn deep in the throat and great flavour. The heat quotient is easily adjusted by using more or less Peri Peri powder so for those of you who crave bolder flavours, increase the amount of Peri Peri you add.
Peri Peri Chicken
1 small bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
2″ fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 small red onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons Inferno Peri Peri powder
1/4 cup canola oil
Juice and zest from half a lemon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons water
8 – 12 chicken legs or thighs
In food processor, combine all ingredients except for the chicken. Process on low, scraping bowl as needed until all ingredients are blended. About 2 minutes. If you find the mixture is too thick, you can thin it with a tablespoon or 2 of water to loosen it up just a bit. Taste for seasoning and add salt to taste, if needed.
Place chicken in resealable plastic bag and pour in half of the marinade.
Massage bag to distribute the marinade so all pieces are evenly coated. Squish out as much air as possible and seal the bag. Put bag on a plate to catch any leaks and let marinate in refrigerator overnight, up to 24 hours, turning occasionally.
Refrigerate the unused marinade in a separate container. You will need this to baste the chicken while it is cooking.
There are instructions below for oven roasting, as well as gas and charcoal grills. Which ever way you choose to cook the chicken, be sure to tent with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving. This will give you time to dress your salad and get those potatoes mashed.
Oven: Preheat oven to 400 F, place chicken in single layer on baking sheet and bake 35 – 40 minutes, turning several times and basting with reserved marinade, until chicken starts pulling away from the end of the bone, it is no longer pink inside and juices run clear. A meat thermometer, inserted into the thickest part of the leg or thigh, not touching the bone should register 165F.
Gas BBQ: Preheat grill, then turn one side off. Put chicken on the side without the flame. With lid closed, cook 40 – 50 minutes, turning several times and basting with reserved marinade, until chicken starts pulling away from the end of the bone, it is no longer pink inside and juices run clear. A meat thermometer, inserted into the thickest part of the leg or thigh, not touching the bone should register 165F.
Charcoal BBQ: Put coals to one side of the BBQ and place chicken on the grill where coals are not. With lid closed, cook 40 – 50 minutes, turning halfway thru and basting with reserved marinade, A meat thermometer, inserted into the thickest part of the leg or thigh, not touching the bone should register 165F.
Serves 4 – 6.