My daughter in law remarked recently that she had enjoyed Nando's Chicken when she was living in Australia and wondered if there were any nearby. She was disappointed to learn that this South African chain has not made it to the West Coast of the US yet. So, we decided to make it ourselves as best we could. Peri Peri or PIri PIri is the African name for hot red Bird Chiles and this dish originated with the Portuguese. It involves marinating chicken in a mixture of Chiles of course, some lemon and some herbs. Then it is grilled or broiled. I couldn't find Bird Chiles at my local market, so I substituted Red Jalapeños and I didn't use too many as I can't take things too hot. If you wan to make it more authentic, feel free to use real Bird Chiles - anywhere from 5 to 10 of them. I also don't have a grill, so I baked the chicken first and then ran it under the broiler for the last 5 minutes. I served it with French Fries and a salad and it was delicious! The sauce was thinner apparently, but it had the right flavors and we were licking our fingers and spooning more sauce over every bite. This is a wonderful marinade for chicken and it's going to become a frequent meal for us!
Almost Nando's Peri Peri Chicken
4 Chicken Legs and 4 Chicken Thighs with skin on
1/4 cup Olive Oil
4 Garlic Cloves
2 Red Jalapeños, stem end removed (or 5 to 10 Bird Chiles)
Juice of one large Lemon or two small Lemons
1 teaspoon of dried Oregano
1 heaping Tablespoon Paprika
1 Bay Leaf, crumbled
1 Bay Leaf, crumbled
1/4 Red Onion
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Turmeric
Place all ingredients except for the Chicken into a food processor or a blender. Puree and then pour the sauce into a large Ziploc Bag. Add in the Chicken, seal and shake to coat evenly. Place in a large bowl in the refrigerator and let marinate for at least 4 hours up to overnight. Turn every few hours.
When ready to cook, heat the oven to 375 degrees. Place Chicken on a parchment lined baking pan, skin side up and pour the remaining sauce over. Bake for 50 minutes. Then turn the broiler on and cook until the skin starts to blister and get brown. Serve with Potatoes.
Five Element Analysis
Chicken belongs to the Wood Element and the Lemon Juice adds even more. The Hot Chiles and Paprika contribute a lot of the Fire Element too. The Onion, Garlic, Herbs and Spices bring in the Metal Element. The Earth Element is barely present, which is why we served it with Potatoes and the Water Element is missing as well, which is why we served it with a Lacinato Kale Salad with lots of Sunflower and Pumpkin Seeds to create a balanced Five Element meal.