Chicken Piri Piri Recipe with Coconut Milk, Spanish Peppers, and More

Chicken Piri Piri

Chicken Piri Piri Recipe with Coconut Milk, Spanish Peppers, and More
Region / culture: Mozambique, Thailand | Preparation time: 12 hours | Servings: 4-6


Chicken Piri Piri
Chicken Piri Piri

Chicken Piri Piri is a flavorful and spicy dish that originates from Portugal. This dish is known for its bold flavors and fiery kick, making it a favorite among those who enjoy a bit of heat in their meals.


The origins of Chicken Piri Piri can be traced back to the Portuguese colonies in Africa, where the use of piri piri peppers was popular in cooking. The name "piri piri" comes from the Swahili word for "pepper pepper," referring to the spicy peppers used in the marinade for this dish.



How to prepare

  1. In a large bowl, mix together garlic, bay leaves, pepper powder, and peppers until it forms a thick paste. Slowly add the coconut milk while continuing to mix.
  2. Ensure everything is well combined.
  3. Cut the chicken into pieces and place them in the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for approximately 12 hours, turning the pieces regularly to ensure they are fully coated with the marinade.
  4. Add lemon juice, butter, and olive oil to a medium-high heat pan.
  5. Use the marinade to sprinkle over the chicken.
  6. Serve the dish warm.


  • Substitute chicken with tofu or shrimp for a vegetarian or seafood version.
  • Add more or less Spanish peppers to adjust the spice level.
  • Use different herbs and spices in the marinade for a unique flavor profile.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Make sure to marinate the chicken for at least 12 hours to allow the flavors to fully develop.

- Adjust the amount of Spanish peppers to suit your spice preference.

- Use fresh lemon juice for a bright and tangy flavor.

- Baste the chicken with the marinade while cooking to keep it moist and flavorful.

Serving Suggestions

Serve Chicken Piri Piri with a side of rice, salad, or grilled vegetables for a complete meal.

Cooking Techniques

Grilling or roasting the chicken will give it a nice charred flavor and crispy skin.

Ingredient Substitutions

Use lime juice instead of lemon juice for a slightly different citrus flavor.

- Substitute coconut milk with heavy cream for a richer sauce.

Make Ahead Tips

Marinate the chicken the night before to save time on the day of cooking.

Presentation Ideas

Garnish the Chicken Piri Piri with fresh herbs, such as cilantro or parsley, for a pop of color.

Pairing Recommendations

Pair Chicken Piri Piri with a light and refreshing white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave until heated through.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Each serving of Chicken Piri Piri contains approximately 350 calories.


Each serving of Chicken Piri Piri contains approximately 5 grams of carbohydrates.


Each serving of Chicken Piri Piri contains approximately 20 grams of fats.


Each serving of Chicken Piri Piri contains approximately 30 grams of proteins.

Vitamins and minerals

Chicken Piri Piri is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, and niacin.


This recipe contains dairy (butter) and tree nuts (coconut milk).


Chicken Piri Piri is a protein-rich dish that is moderate in carbohydrates and fats. It is a good source of vitamins and minerals, making it a nutritious meal option.


Chicken Piri Piri is a delicious and spicy dish that is perfect for those who enjoy bold flavors. With a flavorful marinade and juicy chicken, this dish is sure to be a hit at your next meal.

How did I get this recipe?

The memory of discovering this recipe for the first time is a happy memory that I hold dear to my heart. It all started on a warm summer evening when I was visiting my friend Maria in Portugal. Maria was a wonderful cook, and she had invited me over for dinner that night.

As soon as I walked into her kitchen, I was greeted by the delicious aroma of spices and herbs. Maria was busy at the stove, stirring a pot of rich, red sauce that filled the room with its tantalizing scent. Curious, I asked her what she was making, and she smiled and told me that she was preparing Chicken Piri Piri.

I had never heard of Chicken Piri Piri before, but as Maria explained the recipe to me, I knew I had to try it. She told me that it was a traditional Portuguese dish, known for its fiery heat and bold flavors. The key ingredient in the dish was the piri piri pepper, a small, red chili pepper that was native to Africa but had become popular in Portuguese cuisine.

Maria showed me how to prepare the marinade for the chicken, using a blend of piri piri peppers, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil. She explained that the longer the chicken marinated, the more flavorful it would be. As we waited for the chicken to soak up all the delicious flavors, Maria and I sipped on glasses of vinho verde and chatted about life, love, and food.

When the chicken was finally ready, Maria cooked it on a sizzling grill until it was perfectly charred and juicy. The smell of the cooking chicken filled the air, making my mouth water in anticipation. Finally, the moment of truth arrived, and Maria plated the chicken and served it alongside a fresh salad and crusty bread.

I took my first bite of the Chicken Piri Piri, and I was instantly transported to a world of bold spices and mouth-watering flavors. The heat from the piri piri peppers was intense but balanced by the tangy lemon juice and the richness of the olive oil. The chicken was tender and juicy, with a smoky char that added depth to the dish.

As I savored each bite, I knew that I had discovered a new favorite recipe. I begged Maria to share her secret with me, and she graciously agreed. She wrote down the recipe for me on a piece of paper, and I tucked it into my purse, knowing that I would treasure it forever.

When I returned home from Portugal, I couldn't wait to recreate the Chicken Piri Piri in my own kitchen. I gathered all the ingredients and followed Maria's instructions to the letter. As the chicken marinated, the familiar scent of piri piri peppers filled my kitchen, bringing back memories of my time in Portugal.

When the chicken was cooked to perfection, I plated it just like Maria had done, with a fresh salad and crusty bread on the side. I eagerly took my first bite, and as the flavors exploded on my palate, I knew that I had done justice to Maria's recipe.

From that day on, Chicken Piri Piri became a staple in my kitchen. I would cook it for family and friends, sharing the recipe with anyone who asked. Each time I made it, I would think of Maria and the warm summer evening when I first discovered this delicious dish.

Over the years, I have added my own touches to the recipe, experimenting with different spices and ingredients to make it my own. But no matter how many variations I try, the memory of that first taste of Chicken Piri Piri will always hold a special place in my heart.

And so, as I stand in my kitchen now, preparing a batch of Chicken Piri Piri for dinner tonight, I can't help but smile as I remember the warm summer evening in Portugal that changed my life forever. The memory of discovering this recipe for the first time is a happy memory, one that I will cherish for years to come.


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