Portugese-style Piri Piri chicken with my own Musk melon dip

Peri Peri chicken with Musk Melon dip, roasted potatoes, caramelized onions and garlic bread
Peri Peri chicken with Musk Melon dip, roasted potatoes, caramelized onions and garlic bread

Piri Piri in Swahili means Pepper Pepper. It is an African bird’s eye chilli which is very hot. Piri-Piri chicken has its roots both in Africa as well as in Portugal. The amount of chili used in the dish can be increased or decreased to suit one’s own palate, depending on how hot you want it to be. This dish is made with bird’s eye chili. If it is not available you can substitute it with cayenne pepper, paprika and red chili flakes. If you chose to go exactly with this recipe, it has just the right amount of ingredients and is not very hot. The brown sugar balances the spice level very well besides caramelizing the chicken and veggies beautifully.

My daughter is fond of Piri-Piri chicken and no way was I going to order it from the local joint during her exams. So, I made this dish at home from scratch( I didn’t want to use the store bought Piri Piri sauce either). I served it with  toasted garlic bread, roasted potatoes , caramelized onions and a delicious Musk melon dip which I ….er..ahem..invented 😉  experimented (whichever sounds more modest lol )  The melon dip was an instant hit and it  went well with the chicken and the bread. Actually it deserved a separate post. 




Elements on the Plate:

  1. Piri-Piri chicken
  2. Roasted Potatoes
  3. Caramelized onions
  4. Musk melon dip
  5. Toasted garlic bread


Recipe for Piri-Piri Chicken Portugese style


What you need:

  • 1 whole chicken with skin( spatch-cocked)
  • Juice of 1 big lemon
  • Zest of 1 big lemon
  • 1 tbsp. Cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp. sweet paprika
  • 1 tbsp. red chili flakes
  • 2 tbsp. dried oregano
  • salt to taste
  • 4 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp. brown sugar( I used 2)
  • a pinch of red food coloring

Second set of ingredients:

  • Two potatoes cubed
  • 2 onions roughly sliced/chopped


As I have  mentioned in my previous posts, I love to brine and spatchcock my chicken before grilling. (you can skip brining if you want, but it makes a lot of difference to the end result). Brining makes it moist and tender where as spatch cocking it ensures even grilling.

  1. Mix the first set of the ingredients in a bowl and brush it on a well rinsed, brined and spatch-cocked chicken.
  2. Leave it in the fridge covered over night or at least 6 hours.
  3. Brush a grilling pan with oil and lay a bed of potatoes.
  4. Then layer it with onions.
  5. Now spread the marinated chicken over it like a butterfly.
  6. Grill in a pre-heated oven at 200º c for half an hour.
  7. Reduce heat to 180º C and grill further till done. The juices should run clear when the chicken is poked with a skewer. It should take 45 min to an hour depending on the size of the chicken and hours of marination.
  8. Broil it for 5-10 min for a charcoal effect.( I didn’t do it as it was getting late)

Note: If possible grill it outside on a charcoal grill. But it works beautifully in the oven too. The advantage of making this in the oven is that the vegetables get cooked along in the same pan. The brown sugar in the recipe drips on the onions and caramelizes them beautifully.


Recipe for Musk melon dip


What you need:

  • 1/2 cup mayo ( I always make mine)
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt 
  • 1/2 cup musk melon puree
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp. sugar

Mix them all and whip for a minute. Keep it in the fridge till you serve.

Musk melon dip
Musk melon dip


Recipe for toasted garlic bread


What you need:

Cut thick slices of the baguette. Mix the seasoning with oil and brush on top of each slice. Grill on a wire rack at 200 º C for 5-10 minutes.



Peri Peri chicken with Musk Melon dip, roasted potatoes, caramelized onions and garlic bread
Peri Peri chicken with Musk Melon dip, roasted potatoes, caramelized onions and garlic bread

Enjoy this tasty meal with friends and family . I am taking this platter to all my FF friends.Fiesta Friday is  hosted by Angie@The Novice Gardener and is being co-hosted by  Jhuls @The Not So Creative Cook and Mila @milkandbun.


70 thoughts on “Portugese-style Piri Piri chicken with my own Musk melon dip

  1. Great story, and isn’t it amazing how you’ve adopted the same idea from your mother (feeding your daughter during her exams)? I love piri piri and have several recipes that I’ve tried over the years, now I’ll add yours to the rest. It looks gorgeous!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Loretta ☺ This version of Piri Piri is a mild one and can be spiced up by adding more chili. But personally this suited my family’s taste. And yes my grandmother was a gem of a woman and her tales always had a hidden message.


    1. I agree Lety. Cooking for your loved ones gives immense satisfaction. And I think every dish has a story to tell and lovely memories to reminisce. Thank you for liking it dear ☺

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Nancy. The heat was just right for us too. Didn’t hurt the palate or the tummy 😊. I have seen recipes which called for 8 to 10 birds eye chilies per chicken but that would have been too hot to handle 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think this is the second piri piri chicken I have seen today and it kills me as I wanted to eat one since two weeks ago. 😐 So thank you for bringing today at the Fiesta. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Most welcome dear Jhuls. I think the piri piri wants you to eat it that’s why it keeps coming in front of you repeatedly, just what your mandi did to me 😊 Thank you for hosting the FF. Have a nice weekend .


    1. I know I had a similar craving when I saw it first and couldn’t rest till I made it . Even taking pictures seemed like a task 😊
      You can increase or decrease the heat to your liking.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for liking ☺It is slightly different from the Nandos recipe but whatsoever tastes delicious and can be enjoyed by the entire family starting from kids to adults. Do try it.


  3. I tried it and it was amazing…but I used kashmiri paprika and dark vinegar instead…thanks for the post…was looking out for a good piri piri chicken recipe and found it!… Waiting to try the musk melon dip!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The pleasure is mine Lina. I have had fun browsing through your blog. Will bookmark some recipes and try them over a weekend. All the best with your blogging. You will soon find the wordpress community a very warm place to be.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Have had peri peri /piri piri chicken wings at a Portuguese restaurant in New Bombay twice and they were lip smacking and finger licking good , but your pictures clearly tell me that I have yet to taste the real thing !!!! Simply yummylicious looking dish !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww…That’s a beautiful thing to say! ! Thank you so much for the kind words ☺ Please do keep visiting. I like your blog . Especially the titles of your posts are amazing.

      Liked by 1 person

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