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Chicken Basking in the Piri Piri Flames

March 31, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 181

Piri piri chicken is a delicious fast food that makes your lunch superb.

How did it come to South Africa?

Piri-piri is the Swahili word for the incendiary red peppers of Africa - primarily those of Angola and Mozambique, former Portuguese colonies. Because of the seafaring nature of the Portuguese, it didn't take long for these bite-size pods of fire to make their way to Lisbon aboard spice ships returning from the East.


Piri piri is a cultivar of Capsicum frutescens, one of the sources of pepper that grows both wild and domesticated. It is a small, extremely spicy member of the Capsicum genus. It grows in Malawi, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

The variety of the chili?

Piri Piri is a variety of African Bird's Eye chili, a chili indigenous to East and Southern Africa. It has grown in the wild in Africa for years and is now cultivated commercially in Uganda, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. It grows mainly in Malawi, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. It is cultivated for both commercial food processing and the pharmaceutical industry. Cultivation of this variety of chili is labor intensive.

Making the sauce:

Piri-piri sauce (used as a seasoning or marinade) is Portuguese in origin and "especially prevalent in Angola, Namibia, Mozambique and South Africa". It is made from crushed chilies, citrus peel, onion, garlic, pepper, salt, lemon juice, bay leaves, paprika, basil, oregano, and tarragon.

Mainlanders wasted no time in turning the torrid chiles into a versatile sauce. Cooks use it as a marinade, a basting liquid, and a condiment. In fact, take a walk down an esplanade in Lisbon and you'll find bottles of the sauce dotting restaurant tables everywhere. And no wonder: It's perfect with shrimp, chicken and fish.

How to cook?

First heat the oven to 200 deg C.

Peel and roughly chop red onion and add to the mixer with 4 peeled cloves of garlic. Add the chillies (stalks removed), paprika, zest of 2 lemons and juice of 1 lemon. Add vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, a good pinch of salt and pepper, the bunch of basil and swig of water. Blitz until smooth.

Slash flesh side of the chicken thighs a few times, drizzle with olive oil and season. In a hot pan cook chicken till golden on both sides. Remove chicken and set aside.

Slice the peppers into strips and add to the pan, char peppers for about five minutes. Set aside. Pour the sauce into the pan, then return chicken pieces and peppers to the sauce and scatter the sprigs of thyme on top.

Place pan into the oven and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Serve straight from the oven with a side of salad and rice or crusty bread.

Piri piri Chicken is an easy and delicious dish that is worth a try, cook it with piri piri sauce or eat it at any fast food joint, be it lunch or dinner and you will relish it for sure.

Source: EzineArticles
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