You simply cannot visit Portugal without sampling Piri-Piri Chicken, well unless you are a vegetarian. It is easily found, both in restaurants and as a take home meal, it is one of the most delicious chicken dishes that I have ever tasted.
What is Piri-Piri Chicken?
Piri-Piri chicken is a spicy dish with roots in both Africa and Portugal. It originated in Angola and Mozambique when Portuguese settlers arrived bringing chilli peppers that had originally been brought from South America. It’s a pretty international dish! Over time the recipe evolved with other ingredients such as garlic and lemon being added to create the sauce.
Best place to buy it (in my opinion)
I don’t often eat it in a restaurant, I prefer to bring it home where I can devour it in private accompanied by chunks of freshly baked bread that provide the perfect tool for soaking up every last drop of the juices. At home you are not so conscious of the juices running down your chin or worried about greasy fingers. I just think it is better enjoyed in private and certainly not on a first date!
Walk along any small street in Portugal and you will most likely come across a window through which you can view an open charcoal grill laden with spatchcocked chickens that have been marinated in Piri-Piri sauce before cooking. The windows will be splattered and greasy but don’t let put you off, how could you possibly keep such windows clean.
Many people will be buying them to take home, and at around €6.00 or €7.00, and providing enough to feed a family of four, if not more, it is an easy and economical meal.
I love to watch the speed with which the chickens are removed from the grill (and quickly replaced) and how expertly they are cut into portions with large scissors.
You will then be asked if you want Piri-Piri sauce, or it may simply be referred to as hot sauce, and once that is applied the hot juices from the chicken, saved in a pot, are ladled into the container and the lid swiftly closed.
I always buy my bread first because quite honestly, once that chicken is in my possession I can hardly get home fast enough!
The chicken should be succulent and juicy, not over cooked, and the sauce hot and peppery, you may require something to cool your mouth after eating.
If you see containers of hot cooked chicken in supermarkets don’t make the mistake of thinking you are getting anything even closely similar. I have made the mistake of buying such chicken and it is usually vastly overcooked and dry. By the following day it is so dry and hard it is virtually impossible to eat.
Much better to buy it fresh off one of these grills and, if you are keeping some for the following day, heat it in the oven, there will be plenty of liquid to keep it moist.
So, that’s my Foodie Friday post for this week. Simple and delicious.
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