Recipe: Portuguese Grilled Piri Piri Chicken

Piri piri chicken

Grilled piri piri chicken! As avid sports fans, my family is glued to the TV during any big soccer (football) event.  I cheered my heart out for Portugal during The Euro Cup only to watch them lose in the semi-finals to the powerhouse Spanish team in a shoot out.  In honour of the fallen Portugese I was inspired to cook something as firey as the passion football fans have for their countries’ teams. What is more Portuguese than spicy Grilled Piri Piri Chicken?  Now that the July long weekend is here, it’s also a great excuse to BBQ!

African Birds Eye Chili, (a.k.a. piri piri, peri peri or pili pili) is a native African chili pepper. Pili Pili literally means “pepper pepper” in Swahili. Settlers in Portuguese colonies in Mozambique and Angola brought the pepper home and Piri Piri sauce became a staple in Portuguese cuisine. Use this hot and spicy marinade made of basic pantry spices on chicken with the bone in for added flavour. Make a big batch of piri piri chicken wings for a BBQ party or a couple of chicken breasts for dinner for two. I should also give credit where credit is due, this recipe is my husband’s, the in-house “grill master“.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1-1/2 tbsp crushed chili flakes
  • 1-1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 inch of fresh ginger (peeled)
  • pinch of salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 chicken breasts bone-in, skin on


Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a blender or food processor until mixture is smooth. Wash the chicken breasts and season with salt & pepper. Pour the marinade over the chicken and let marinate in the fridge for 8 to 24 hours. The longer the better. Cook the chicken breasts on a greased grill on medium heat for about 12 minutes on each side until the center is no longer pink. Serve with grilled veggies and fries or potatoes.

Piri piri chicken

Note: Double the quantities of this recipe for enough marinade for a whole chicken. Adjust the spice level to your taste by using less chili flakes and cayenne pepper (or more if you like it caliente).

Now that Portugal is out of the Euro Cup, I must fall onto the Spanish bandwagon along with my husband. If they win the championship I just may have to make a Spanish inspired meal… paella or tapas? To be continued…

Bon Appetit!!

Maryam (Lindsay Contractor) is a wife and mother of one beautiful baby girl. She is currently on maternity leave and an Independent Epicure Consultant selling gourmet spice blends and cookware. She attended university in Washington state where she played varsity NCAA Division 1 volleyball on a scholarship. Maryam moved to Toronto from Vancouver BC in 2009 for a promotion at work and met her husband and reverted to Islam. Her favorite things are Kalamalka Lake in her hometown, Vernon, BC and eating great food with her family. Her favorite cuisine is Moroccan and Greek. You can read more articles and recipes from Maryam and Shop Epicure on her website

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By: June 29, 2012


  • Halal Foodie on June 29, 2012

    Great first post Maryam! So happy you’re apart of the Halal Foodie team 😉

  • I am definitely going to try this recipe Lindsay!! Great job with the recipe, pictures and blog entry! I may be biased (it’s a mom thing) but you are the best!
    Sheri (mom)

  • Awesome recipe Maryam! Will definitely try this.

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