Peri Peri Inspired Roast Chicken with Minted Peas and Rice

Another photobomb by my little fur-man, Finley. He was working that precious charm of his hard while trying to steal a bit of that spicy chicken! He did get a couple sauce-free nibbles, ’cause I just can’t resist spoiling them!

The first time I experienced the African chili chicken dish, Peri Peri, was at Nando’s in Baltimore. Amy discovered this little restaurant gem while out to lunch near one of the numerous hospitals she works at all about the country and was stoked that Nando’s was close enough to bring me back to. The chicken is char grilled then slathered with one of Nando’s signature sauces. You can choose from extra extra spicy to mild to lemon-herb. They’re all delicious, in my opinion, so you really can’t go wrong. There’s also varied sides dishes you can add on, but we always gotta have the Macho Peas. They are served warm, delicately spiced, and slightly smashed with fresh mint, a perfect pairing with the piquant chicken.

With memories of Peri Peri enticing me, I concocted an altered version of this tantalizing dish for our dinner a few nights ago utilizing as many ingredients already on hand in my fridge and pantry. Instead of the Peri Peri African Bird’s Eye chili, I used Thai Bird chilies and pureed together a signature sauce of my own with a bit of lemon, sun-dried tomato, and fresh salsa. It was bitterly cold out too so I opted to roast my chicken rather than grill it, but snuck in a bit of liquid smoke to add a hint of the char flavor I wanted without having to fire up any charcoals. My version of Nando’s Macho peas evolved into minted peas and rice because I had less than a cup of frozen peas on hand. That’s really the way I enjoy cooking though, pulling inspirations and techniques from here and there and then making it my own with as many locally available ingredients as I can. My version of Peri Peri turned out spicy, fall-off-the-bone scrumptious and subsequently has officially been added to the regular menu rotation.

Peri Peri Inspired Roast Chicken


2 good quality Chicken leg quarters

1 cup T’s Peri Peri Sauce, recipe follows

2 tsp Grapeseed oil

Salt and Pepper to taste


In a casserole dish, add the chicken quarters. Rub the chicken with a bit of oil, salt and pepper. Cover the chicken with the Peri Peri sauce and mirande in the fridge 30 minutes to a few hours before roasting.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the marinated chicken in the oven and roast until an internal temperature of 175 degrees is reached. Allow to rest about 5 minutes then serve with minted peas and rice.

T’s Peri Peri Sauce


2 Thai Bird Chilies (or African Bird’s Eye Chilies, if available)

4 Sun-dried Tomatoes, rough chopped

1/4 cup Salsa Fresca

1/4 cup Red Onion, chopped

Juice from 1/2 a Lemon

1 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar, or to taste

1 tsp Liquid Smoke, or to taste

1 tsp Smoked Paprika

1 tsp Garlic powder

Salt and Pepper to taste

1/4 cup Water, as needed only


Puree all ingredients in a food processor until smooth, adding a little water as needed to thin the paste to your desired consistency. I added less than a tablespoon, as I wanted my sauce a bit chunky and thicker more reminiscent of a bbq sauce than a hot sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Great with chicken or fish.

Minted Peas and Rice


1 cup Basmati, or long grain rice of choice

1/4 cup frozen Peas, thawed

1/4 cup fresh Parsley, chopped

1/4 cup fresh Mint, chopped

2 cups Water

2 tabs Butter

Salt and Pepper to taste


Rinse the rice in a colander until the water runs clear, set aside.

In a small Dutch Oven over high flame, melt the butter. Add the rice and toast it in the butter with a couple pinches each of the chopped parsley and mint until the rice just begins to turn golden, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the water, salt and pepper then bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce flame to low, cover the rice with the lid and cook until the rice is fluffy and fragrant, 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork, breaking up any toasted rice from the bottom of the Dutch Oven. Stir in the remaining herbs and peas. Serve immediately.




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