Mozambique Piri Piri Chicken

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My love for good piri piri chicken started 15 years ago, on our annual holiday to Mozambique, Ponta Do Ouro. We would go there as a family to swim with the dolphins and enjoy a lazy time holidaying on the beach. One of my favourite culinary treats and a big part of the Portuguese culture was the flame grilled piri piri chicken. In this small beach town there was a tiny rustic place, which only sold piri piri chicken, chips and salad. It quickly became our local food hangout and ever since then I have had a small obsession with flamed grilled piri piri chicken. The secret is the ever so small but devilishly hot birds eye chillies. You do need them if you want the real mcCoi hot stuff. It’s not just hot but fragrant as well. We buy them dried in large bags from the local markets in Mozambique and then make our own piri piri.

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This year my mom grew her own bird’s eye chillies and having them fresh in my kitchen inspired me to make this delicious, succulent piri piri Chicken. I par cooked the pieces in the oven and then used the braai to get a crispy and slightly charred skin. The marinade imparts a lemony, bay, paprika taste with a gentle hit of heat from the chilies. I highly recommend this as a lazy Sunday afternoon family lunch or even for a summer party get together, served with big bowls of crispy salad and hot chips or Portuguese bread. And don’t forget the piri piri sauce for those mad kinds of chilli eating people … like me!

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Ingredients – Serves 3 to 4

  • Whole chicken cut into pieces – with skin on. I used pieces for convenience, but you can use a whole chicken flatty if you like.
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • 8 garlic cloves – crushed
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 8 bay leaves – torn
  • 2 Tbsp. Piri Piri – adjust to taste .I used the sauce I had made by blitzing the chilies with oil. If you use whole ones then slice them.

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Recipe –

  • Mix all the marinade ingredients together
  • Pour the marinade into a zip lock bag
  • Add the chicken pieces
  • Seal bag and move chicken around until it is coated in the marinade
  • Leave for 24 hours in the fridge, moving the chicken around occasionally
  • Place pieces in an ovenproof dish and cover with foil and bake in a preheated oven 180 degrees C for 30 minutes.
  • Braai the pieces on a low heat, dipping them in the marinade a few times until slightly charred and crispy
  • Once cooked squeeze lemon over the chicken

Dees notes –

  • Keep an eye on the chicken when its on the braai, the oil in the marinade is flammable and you don’t want the chicken to burn
  • Cook the chicken low and slow on the braai
  • Serve with hot chips or potato wedges and a tomato, onion and parsley salad with a dash of white wine vinegar
  • You can marinate the chicken for 6-8 hours if you don’t have the time
  • Serve with Piri Piri, made with blitzed up chillies and oilIMG_8074 IMG_8096
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