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Lemon, garlic, and spice… piri piri is the perfect sauce for chicken!

by Joel Steingart | November 23, 2019
Lemon, garlic, and spice… piri piri is the perfect sauce for chicken!

I discovered piri piri a few years ago. A new Nandos had opened up in town and Danielle had raved about having their sauce when she took a trip to England years back.

The first time I tried piri piri I was hooked! Lemon is one of my favourite combinations with chicken. Pairing that with some heat makes it an instant favourite!

Piri piri is traditionally a sauce that consists of birds eye chillies that are found in South Africa. Portuguese explorers discovered these chillies and brought the dish to Portugal which makes it a dish that is both Portuguese and South African. In southern Ontario, I have not found a supply of birds eye chillies so I substitute red Thai chilli peppers to provide the heat in my piri piri sauce. It’s an incredibly versatile sauce. You can use it as a marinade, a glaze, or a dipping sauce. The cut of chicken I am using often dictates how I use the sauce it. If I’m roasting a whole chicken, I usually use it as glaze and brush it on toward the end. For chicken thighs, drumsticks, or chicken breast I would often marinade it. I recommend keeping an extra container in case you want to dip your chicken in the sauce which you probably will because it’s so good!

I have found some piri piri sauces in the grocery store that are good and I often keep one in the fridge or in the cupboard. One of my motivations to start cooking was being able to recreate my favourite dishes and sauces to have them at my disposal whenever I wanted in case I could not find them on the store shelves anymore. Once I realized how much I loved piri piri, I know it would have to be something I would have to figure out how to make myself. The extra bonus is when I figured it out, I found it’s a very simple and easy process!