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Peri Peri Chicken

This dish, Peri Peri Chicken, originated in Mozambique, I am told. The words “Peri Peri” is translated from “pepper pepper” in Swahili. The peppers, like most in Africa, arrived with the Portuguese, who had encountered them during their colonialization of the Americas. People in my homeland, Great Britain, have become somewhat obsessed with this spicy chicken dish. Ask anyone from London if they fancy a “cheeky Nando’s” (the restaurant that serves it) and you will see a tear come to their eye. Now you can find out why.

A skillet of a spatchcocked Peri Peri Chicken by Simon Majumdar

Peri Peri Chicken Recipe

(Serves About 4)


For roasting the Chicken:

  • 1 Whole Chicken

  • 1 Large Onion (Sliced)

  • 1 Lemon (Sliced)

  • 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

  • ¼ Cup Olive Oil


For the Dry Spice Mix (You may not need all of this, but keep extra in an airtight jar to use on steaks, or pork chops):

  • 1 Teaspoon Salt

  • 1 Teaspoon Ground White Pepper

  • 1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

  • 1 Teaspoon Paprika

  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Thyme

  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano

  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder

  • 1 Teaspoon White Sugar


For the Wet Marinade:

  • 10 Red Thai Chili (If you can find the Peri Peri, then do substitute them)

  • 5 Cloves Fresh Garlic (Peeled)

  • 1 Whole Red Bell Pepper (De-seeded)

  • ¼ Cup Cilantro Leaf

  • ¼ Cup Parsley

  • ¼ Cup Red Wine Vinegar

  • ½ Lemon (Juice and Zest)

  • 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper


  1. Spatchcock the chicken – i.e. remove the back bone and press down the chicken from the breast so it is butterflied.

  2. Place the chicken on a large plate or baking tray and rub with the dry spice mix.

  3. Place the chicken in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

  4. After one hour, place the chicken in a large non-reactive bowl or place in a resealable plastic bag.

  5. Pour in the wet marinade and massage the marinade all over the chicken.

  6. When the chicken has been fully covered in marinade, cover the bowl with plastic cling wrap or seal the resealable plastic bag.

  7. I like to leave this to marinade in the refrigerator overnight. But, if you are short of time, you will get a great result after 2-3 hours.

  8. Layer a large roasting pan with the sliced onion and lemons. 

  9. Sprinkle the onions and lemons with salt and pepper, and dribble with olive oil.

  10. Place the chicken – breast side up – on top of the onions and lemon.

  11. Brush the chicken with any excess marinade so it has a good covering.

  12. Pre-heat an oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

  13. Place the chicken in the oven and baste with the cooking juices every 10-15 minutes.

  14. Cook the chicken until golden and the internal temperature is 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

  15. Once cooked, allow to rest under foil for 5-10 minutes.

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