RECIPE | Nando's-inspired peri-peri chicken flattie

This homemade chilli sauce packs a mouth-tingling punch

23 August 2020 - 00:00
Nando’s Palesa Tshabalala on a PERi-Farm in Mozambique.
Nando’s Palesa Tshabalala on a PERi-Farm in Mozambique.
Image: Supplied

Nando's embarked on a project to grow its own peri-peri chilli - a project aimed at empowering small farmers in Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe and SA through regional farming organisations.

To date the PERi-Farmers initiative has involved more than 1,400 farmers in producing the unique African chilli. Nando's aim is to use the original peri-peri chilli in all its production of sauces, bastings and marinades, and in doing so, help improve the lives of the farmers.

The gorgeous, red, shiny jewels of heat may be small but when it comes to flavour they pack a mouth-tingling punch that, according to the Scoville rating, is very hot - just how South Africans like it.

Nando's isn't parting with its secret peri-peri chicken recipe, but this one by Dudley Reid may just be close to the real deal:


Serves: 6

Peri-peri sauce:

2 onions, roughly chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

250ml (1 cup) vegetable oil

Handful of Peri-peri chillies (or to taste)

125ml (½ cup) vinegar, plus more if needed

125ml (½ cup) lemon juice, plus more if needed

1 bunch fresh parsley

1 bunch fresh coriander

30ml (2 tbsp) salt

30ml (2 tbsp) paprika

30ml (2 tbsp) dried oreganum

60ml (¼ cup) Portuguese chicken spice

15ml (1 tbsp) brown sugar

15ml (1 tbsp) butter

15ml (1 tbsp) whisky

Peri-peri chicken flattie.
Peri-peri chicken flattie.
Image: Craig Scott/Sunday times


1 large chicken flattie (spatchcocked)

15ml (1 tbsp) coarse salt

Juice of 1 lemon

30ml (2 tbsp) dried oreganum

1 bay leaf


  1. To make the sauce, place the onions, garlic and half the oil in a food processor and blend. Start adding chillies according to taste. Add vinegar, lemon juice and oil as you go, but save some to add later. Once you're happy with the chilli level, add the parsley and coriander and blend. Add more lemon juice and vinegar if necessary to thin the sauce, then add salt, paprika, oreganum and chicken spice. Blend in the sugar, butter and whisky, transfer to a glass bottle and store in the fridge. It will last a few weeks and is enough for 12 chickens.
  2. Slash the chicken skin, rub with salt and drizzle with lemon juice. Sprinkle with oreganum and place in a roasting dish with the bay leaf and squeezed lemon halves. Leave to marinate for 1 hour.
  3. Pour over about 125ml (½ cup) peri-peri sauce and roast breast side up at 180°C - or braai breast side up - for about 45 minutes until chicken is cooked through and skin is crispy.