You say piri-piri, I say peri-peri, he says pili pili? Alright. Why does this hot sauce have such a spelling-identity-crisis?
Old-faithful Wikipedia has an answer: “Pili pili is the Swahili word for 'pepper pepper'. Other English language spellings may include pili pili in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or peri peri in Malawi, deriving from the various pronunciations of the word in parts of Bantu languages-speaking Africa. Piri piri is the spelling of the name as used in the Portuguese language.”
In other words, all spellings are correct. Makes sense.
But whichever way you spell it, this spicy, fiery, and lively hot sauce can be better described as *awesome*, *badass* or *da bomb*.
Around the world peri peri is best known as a chili based sauce used as a seasoning or marinade for meat, especially chicken.
Even though peri peri’s origins are from Portugal, the first time I tried a peri peri chicken was in London (UK) a couple of years ago, at a restaurant called Nando’s.
The chicken was tender and delicious with the right amount of spicy goodness and grilled to perfection. Amazing.
Since then, I’ve tried to recreate that spicy dish at home (unfortunately there’s no Nando’s in my hood!)
After several attempts, I think I’ve perfected the recipe. Oh hell yeah.
Here’s my rendition. As always, this is open to interpretation.
But trust me, this is really good as it is.
One final note; 10-year old Niece wants me to let you know that according to the official book from 1Direction she received for Christmas (and that she has been reading non stop since that morning), peri peri chicken is one of the favo dishes of the members of the English boy band.
I know, what about that?
I can tell by the look on your face that you are thrilled (just as I am) by this piece of information...
2 lbs / 900 gr free-range organic chicken breasts, cut into 1½-inch chunks
½ cup white vinegar
Juice of 2 lemons
¼ cup olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 shallot (or small onion), thinly sliced
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon oregano
2 to 3 teaspoons chili powder (depending on hot you want it)
½ teaspoons fine grain sea salt
Ground black pepper to taste
In a small bowl combine white vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, cayenne pepper, sea salt, garlic, shallot, paprika, oregano, chili powder and black pepper.
In a shallow sealable container or in a large Ziplock bag, combine chicken chunks and marinade.
Cover or seal and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (marinate overnight for fullest flavor).
Remove the chicken from the marinade and skewer onto bamboo sticks that have been soaked in water for 5 minutes.
Heat a grill or a grill pan to medium heat (if you’re using an outdoor grill lightly oil the grill grates).
Grill the chicken kebabs, until golden brown and cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes turning regularly, until juices run clear.
Transfer kebabs to a platter, top with some fresh chopped parsley and serve.
One serving yields 338 calories, 14 grams of fat, 1 gram of carbs and 47 grams of protein.