Peri-Peri Chicken with Cilantro Lime Rice

On the menu tonight – Peri Peri Chicken!

What is Peri-Peri? It’s a spicy little pepper, also known as African Bird’s Eye Chili. I heard about it on a cooking show and they mentioned how difficult it was to find this pepper. Challenge accepted! It took very little time to find a source on the internet, and within a few days I had a package from Thailand with my new found peppers!

I said it was a spicy pepper. Peppers’ heat is measured in Scoville units. A JalapeƱo pepper measures 2500-8000 Scoville units. The Peri-Peri measures 50,000 – 175,000 Scoville units, so they definitely put out some heat. The peppers are also pretty small, it looks like you would need a lot of them. Be careful.

The really funny/curious thing I found when researching recipes for Peri-Peri Chicken is I didn’t find one that actually used the Peri-Peri pepper. I know they aren’t a pepper that you’ll likely find in your local market, but at least have them in the recipe and put out an alternative. Rant over.

When you make this dish, it is best if you make the marinade, coat the chicken, and let it sit in the fridge for a day.

Take the chicken out of the fridge about an hour before cooking to allow it to come to room temperature. You can use that time to start your rice. My Cilantro Lime Rice is perfect with the Peri-Peri chicken.

The next time you plan to grill, try something different. Try making this dish and let me know what you think.

Peri-Peri Chicken

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By Patrick Dulmage Serves: 4-6

Peri-Peri Chicken


  • 4-10 Peri-Peri Peppers (Arbol chilis if you can't find Peri-Peri)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Kosher salt
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp five-spice powder
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 bay leaves, crushed
  • 6 lbs bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, finely chopped



In a food processor, add the chilis, oil, salt, garlic, tomato paste, shallot, sugar, paprika, five spice powder, lemon zest, lemon juice, pepper, cayenne, and bay leaves. Process until smooth


Taste it to check the heat level. You want it hotter, add more peppers and/or cayenne pepper


Pierce the chicken pieces all over with a knife or skewer to let the mixture get deep into each piece.


Put the chicken, peanuts, and sauce in a freezer bag. Mix it up until the chicken is fully coated


Put in the fridge at least 6 hours, better over night


When it is time to cook, pull the chicken from the fridge early enough to let it come to room temperature (about 20 - 30 minutes)


Pre-heat the grill to high


Put a pie tin with about 2-3 cups of water on one side of the grill and the chicken on the other.


Maintain a grill temp of about 325-350 degrees


Grill until you get a nice char on each side, about 5 minutes on each side


Once it looks good, move to a cooler part of the grill or lower the heat to finish cooking


We are looking for an internal temp of about 160 degrees (temperature will rise about 5 more degrees as you let it rest)


If the juice runs clear, it's fully cooked. If you see some pink in the juice, it needs more time


Serve with some lemon wedges to squeeze over each piece

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