How to make your own Nando’s fakeaway

PREP TIME: 20 mins
COOKING TIME: 1 hr 20 mins
IDEAL FOR: Crowds, family, fakeaway, BBQ

I defy you to not like Nandos!

I know it’s just a chicken take-away.

But it’s the only take-away food that doesn’t make you feel guilty or a bit ‘dirty’ once you’ve had it.

Spicy chicken, grilled over flames.

ohh, yes, I do enjoy the odd Nando’s.

But now, I’ve discovered the homemade version!

Peri peri, piri piri, pili pili?

We better get our facts right first.

They are all correct.

Peri peri can also be spelt/pronounced piri piri and pili pili.

(But so there is no confusion, I’m sticking with peri peri).

It’s both the name of a type of chilli and also the name of a sauce made with that chilli.

The word peri peri comes from the Swahilli word “pilipili” meaning “pepper”.

Did Nando’s invent peri peri sauce?

Ah, no.

But God Bless ‘em for making it well known!

It was originally produced in Mozambique by Portuguese explorers.

However, the exact origins of this recipe seem to still be debated between Portuguese-Angolans and Portuguese-Mozambicans.

One story goes, that centuries ago, Portuguese explorers set sail east to Africa.

And it was there that they were introduced to the African Bird’s Eye Chilli i.e. peri peri, piri piri

Which they used it to create peri peri sauce.

But some credit goes to the America’s where all chillies descend from.

They were first spread across southern Africa due to trade from European colonisation of the Americas and the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

Where it grew in the African wilderness for centuries and now is grown commercially.

What’s in peri peri sauce?

Usually crushed chillies, citrus peel, onion, pepper, garlic, salt, lemon juice, bay leaves, paprika, pimiento, basil, oregano, and tarragon.

But there are loads of varying versions.

In this recipe, I’m focusing on Nando’s-style-peri-peri-sauce.

Ready to go into the oven (or on a BBQ)

If you can’t source African Bird’s Eye chillies

I couldn’t get them so here’s a few ideas on what to sub in.

(btw, I used dried Thai pepper instead of African Birds Eye and dried Jalapeno instead of Serrano).

It also depends on what heat level you like – I quite enjoy a good kick.

To make comparison when choosing, the African Birds Eye Chili is 50,000 – 100,000 Scoville units.

So, some alternatives to look into:

  • THAI PEPPER: 50,000 – 100,000 Scoville Units.
  • THAI SUPER CHILE: 75,000 – 100,000 Scoville Units.
  • CHILE DE ÁRBOL: 30,000 – 60,000 Scoville Units.
  • CAYENNE CHILE PEPPER: 30,000 – 50,000 Scoville Unit
  • SERRANO PEPPER: 10,000 – 25,000 Scoville Units.
  • JALAPEÑO PEPPER: 2,500 – 10,000 Scoville Units.

How to Spatchcock a chicken

This is way easier than you think.

Here’s my step-by-step guide to spatchcock a chicken.

But you can also ask you butcher to do it if you just want to crack on with this recipe.

Want to share any other versions of a peri peri chicken sauce? Drop me a line or leave a comment.

Homemade Peri Peri Chicken aka a Nandos Fakeaway

Course Main Course
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes


Peri peri sauce

  • 2 red peppers sliced into large pieces
  • 2 red onions peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 dried Jalapeno, deseeded and sliced in half (or red serrano chillies)
  • 10 dried Thai peppers (or African birds eye chillies)
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1 lemon – zest and juice
  • 1/4 dried rosemary
  • 4 tbsp red wine vinegar

Spatchcock chicken

  • 1 whole chicken, spatchcocked (ask your butcher or see link below in 'Notes', for my simple guide)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper


Peri Peri sauce

  • Preheat your oven to 180C/350F.
  • Roughly, cut the peppers and red onion up and then place on a baking tray.
    Drizzle approx 2 tbsp of the vegetable oil over them and sprinkle on the paprika, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and 1 tsp of the salt and mix altogether.
    Cook in the oven for 20 minutes.
  • Next, add the garlic and jalapeno chillies and toss together again, then place in the oven for another 10 minutes.
    Take out of the oven and into a blender (pour in all the juices from the tray as well).
    Now, add the dried thai chillies, white pepper, lemon zest and juice and the dried rosemary. Blend until smooth.
    Add the remaining vegetable oil and the red wine vinegar and blend again.
  • On a baking tray, place your spatchcock chicken and pour over 1/3 of the sauce, then sprinkle with ½ tsp salt and black pepper.
    Put in the oven (at 180C/350F) for 45 minutes.
    Baste the chicken and spoon over 2 more tablespoons of the sauce after 45mins and then put back in the oven for a further 10-15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Remove and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
    Serve with the leftover sauce.

Recipe inspired by Kitchen Sanctuary

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