Following up on my earlier post this week on peri peri, here is a recipe for Mozambican peri peri chicken. It’s all about the marinade, and for most recipes of peri peri chicken I have come across it consists of a mix of lemon and chilli pepper. I use preserved Moroccan lemons for my marinade, as I think it adds a certain depth to the marinade that you do not quite achieve with fresh lemon. However, if you don’t have preserved lemons (salted), then use fresh lemon instead. Either way, it makes for a very tasty simple meal.
- 800 g chicken pieces, preferably thighs and drum sticks with skin on
- 3 whole fresh peri peri peppers (African Bird’s Eye chilli, or Thai chilli)
- 3 large cloves of garlic
- 1/2 fresh lemon, juiced
- 2 quarters of Moroccan preserved lemons, including peel OR zest and juice of 1 fresh lemon plus some salt
- 1 heaped teaspoon of paprika
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
Heat oven to 200 C, or light the grill if you are grilling. Beware that the grill must not be too hot if you are grilling chicken, is it will burn on the outside but remain uncooked on the inside. Chicken is best grilled for a fairly long time over medium heat.
Combine chilli peppers, garlic, lemon juice, preserved lemons (or alternative), paprika and olive oil in a mixer and mix to a smooth paste. Preserved lemons are salty, so only add extra salt if you use fresh lemon instead.
Marinate the chicken pieces in the peri peri paste (this is easiest done in a sealable plastic bag, which allows you to make sure the pieces are coated all around). Set to rest in the fridge for at least one hour.
Bake the chicken for 40 minutes in the oven, switching to the grill function for the last 5 minutes or so if you think it’s needed for colour and crispiness. Alternatively, grill the chicken pieces for about 15 minutes on each on a medium hot braai.