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Piri-piri chicken is a spicy dish with roots in both Africa and Portugal. The dish was created in Angola and Mozambique when Portuguese settlers arrived with chile peppers (known as piri-piri in Swahili). Timing note: The chicken needs to marinate for at least four hours before being grilled.



Total time







  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons piri-piri sauce (or other hot pepper sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • 2 inch fresh ginger (piece, peeled, thinly sliced)
  • 1 shallot (large, peeled, quartered)
  • 3 garlic cloves (peeled)
  • ½ cup piri-piri sauce (or other hot pepper sauce)
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil (plus additional for brushing)
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground)
  • 1 chicken (backbone removed, opened flat)
  • 1 aluminum baking pan (11 3/4 x 8 1/2 x 1 1/4 - inch, disposable, to catch drips)
  • piri-piri sauce (bottled, is available at specialty foods stores and online from africantradingco)


  1. Melt butter in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cilantro and garlic; cook until garlic begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Add piri-piri sauce and lemon juice. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 2 minutes. DO AHEAD:
  2. Finely chop cilantro, ginger, shallot, and garlic in processor. Add piri-piri sauce, 1/4 cup oil, lemon juice, coarse salt, and pepper; process marinade to blend.
  3. Place chicken, skin side up, on work surface. Using palm of hand, press on breastbone to flatten chicken. Tuck wing tips under. Pour half of marinade into 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish. Open chicken like book; place skin side down in single layer in dish. Pour remaining marinade over. Cover; chill at least 4 hours or overnight, turning chicken occasionally.
  4. Remove top rack from barbecue. Prepare barbecue (medium heat). If using 2-burner gas grill, light 1 burner. If using 3-burner gas grill, do not light center burner. If using charcoal grill, light briquettes in chimney and pour onto 1 side of lower grill rack. Place disposable aluminum pan on unlit part of grill. Place upper grill rack on barbecue; brush with oil.
  5. Remove chicken from marinade. Arrange skin side up on grill rack above drip pan. Cover barbecue; grill until skin is browned and instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165°F, turning often, about 40 minutes. Transfer to platter. Pour warm glaze over.
  6. View the recipe instructions at Epicurious

Contains allergens
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