Nandos’s is a South African restaurant chain that has worldwide locations. They specialize in Portuguese food, especially known for their peri peri chicken. Peri peri aka African Bird’s Eye Chili is a particular species of chili peppers that were produced in Southeast Africa by the Portuguese explorers. Recipes for this sauce vary from region to region. Even with the variations all have some common ingredients like birds eye chili, lemon, red bell peppers, garlic and paprika. This homemade version is spicy and tangy, I’m so excited to share it with you guys!
The sauce can be used for the marinade and to dip as well.
I have used Thai red dry chilies in this sauce. Please keep in mind these are extremely spicy. I only used 2. Adjust to taste.
To make it easy I have used store bought roasted red bell peppers. These add a little sweet flavor and adds a smooth texture to the final sauce. You can easily find these at the grocery store.
Charring the onions in little bit of olive oil adds slight smoky flavor.
Once all ingredients are blended in a food processor make sure to cook the sauce to get rid of any access water and than blend it again. This gives the sauce a very smooth texture.
I used chicken thighs, use any chicken cut you prefer. It’s best if you let the chicken marinade overnight in refrigerator. Grilling would bring so much flavor in this dish. But I used a cast iron pan.
Served with a side of corn or garlic bread.
- FOR SAUCE-1 cup roasted red bell peppers
- ½ onion, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2-3 thai red dry chili (very spicy adjust to taste) my spice level was medium
- ¼ tsp. paprika
- zest of 1 lemon and a small piece of the lemon as well without seeds
- Juice of 2 lemons
- ¼ tsp. salt/pepper (adjust to taste)
- 1 tbsp. olive oil to saute the onions
- TO MARINADE CHICKEN
- 4-6 chicken thighs
- some fresh lemon juice
- olive oil to sear the chicken
- In a small pan heat oil and saute the sliced onions, just get some char on them.
- In a food processor/blender add onions and all sauce ingredients and blend until smooth.
- In a small sauce pan add the sauce and cook on medium until excess water has gone and sauce becomes a little thick, about 5 minutes.
- Carefully once sauce is cool to handle, add back to blender and blend until it has a smooth consistency. Taste to check if you need more lemon or salt. Adjust as needed.
- Marinade the chicken with salt/pepper and juice of 1 lemon. Brush few tbsp. of this sauce all over chicken. Cover and marinade in fridge overnight preferably.
- Once ready to cook chicken set it out and let it come to room temp.
- I used a cast iron pan, add few tbsp. of olive oil and heat. Once pan gets hot place marinaded chicken in pan and cook 5 minutes on each side or until done. Brush some sauce on the chicken as it's searing.
- Keep in mind marinading time as you prep. Chicken thighs and chicken breast will cook much faster than bone in chicken.