If you’ve never tried the peri peri chicken please do as soon as possible. It’s one of those meals that you wonder how you could’ve lived without when you eat it for the first time.
Basically, peri-peri chicken is any cut of chicken that’s marinated and served with a peri-peri sauce. The meal is a treat and relatively easy to make. While different in profile, it is similar to the spice used in blackened fish.
You can decide to make it with any part of the chicken you like, whether bone in or boneless. There’s not much to do when cooking it. All you have to cook a basic peri-peri chicken is mix the sauce, marinate and then bake or grill according to what you prefer.
They are absolutely perfect for family weeknight meals, the weekend or even game day gatherings. You’ll be shocked at how fast they’ll disappear.
The peri-peri sauce used to make this meal, has an unmistakable delicious flavor that gently builds on your tongue and grows into a full-body experience.
Their benefits don’t just stop with its amazing taste. For all you health enthusiasts, you’ll be glad to know that the peri-peri chili seeds are abundant with vitamins A, B and C and they have natural preservatives and hence don’t need any unnatural ingredients to the sauces. They also apparently have Capsaicin.
The famous peri-peri sauce has varying recipes but the most common ingredients are African Eye chili(unsurprising!), vinegar, paprika, oil, onions, and garlic. Some other ingredients are bell pepper, bay leaves, basil, lemon, oregano and tarragon.
If you decide to cook it at home, you can check out this homemade Nando’s recipe. The Nando is a famous chain of restaurant in the UK that specializes in peri-peri chicken.
HISTORY OF THE PERI-PERI CHICKEN
The word peri-peri comes from the Swahili language that calls pepper “pilipili”. The language is spoken in some African countries but for this history, south East and Mozambique. It refers to a type of chili also known as Malagueta chili that’s almost similar to Bird’s Eye chili.
There’s a source that claims that the peri-peri originated from a tribe found in Mozambique called Tsonga language. The tribe is part of the bantu group (Swahili is among the group) and the word had a slightly varying pronunciation.
The peri-peri (pepper) was originally grown by Portuguese explorers who were in the Portugal’s African territories (Mozambique). Mozambique was a Portuguese colony back then. Those areas were particularly bordering South Africa. The Portuguese are particularly famous in the chili world for spreading them around the world.
The peppers descended from plants from the Americas but has been growing in Africa for a long time now. The Portuguese were the ones who brought them from central America or the caribbean to Mozambique and Brazil which is still one of the most popular chilis there.
There’s a debate on where the peri-peri sauce was actually invented. One theory claims that just like its name, it was first created in Mozambique (or nearby) by the Portuguese colonizers and then it made its way back to Portugal through the same people.
Another theory claims that it was invented in brazil, then the name was changed when the sauce reached Africa where it became popular. There’s also an author who claims that it was created by Indian immigrants from Goa who came to Mozambique.
The chili sauce emerged almost at the same time throughout the world so it’s a bit difficult to say where it was first made with certainty.
The dish itself (peri-peri chicken) took hold in the 1970s in Portugal due to intensive farming during the time that managed to bring down the cost of chickens. Also, this was the time of the fall of the dictator (1974) where the Portuguese empires started to dissolve. Many Portuguese who were living abroad returned from Africa bringing the knowledge of the African local foods like the peri-peri chicken sauce and the dish itself.
A restaurant in Portugal called Restaurant Ramires claims that it was the first restaurant to serve the dish back in 1964 due to requests from those who were back from the African colonies. As time went, the demand of the dish grew.
How peri-peri influenced society
A small town in Portugal called Guia, which Restaurant Ramires is located at, hosts an annual festival of peri-peri chicken which happens early august.
In Portugal, a dish called Frango assado com piri piri (BBQ chicken with peri-peri sauce or piri piri) is hard to miss in any small town. The dish is popular and loved.
There’s also a popular Portuguese grill house called Churrasqueria that’s a favorite past time for the locals. Some of them specialize in chicken in which the peri-peri chicken is among the most loved chicken.
The Mozambicans are absolutely obsessed with this spicy flavor that dominates their mealtimes. It’s like a universal sauce there, where they are used with meat or seafood.
This is Guilty Carnivore approved!