Sunday, November 06, 2005

A perfect meal

Portuguesa Nova has been making my taste buds tingle for some time now. You'd think she lives to eat the way she goes on about food. Her recent posts about various spicy dishs have prompted me to divulge two of my secret recipes, vital components of one of the most perfect meals. Those of you who cook should feel very honoured to have these recipes to add to your collection.

Chicken Piri-piri
Chicken pieces (from two chickens)
Piri-piri paste made from:
15-20 Dried bay leaves (or more)
10 Crushed garlic cloves
piri-piri powder
1 tsp crushed dried piri-piri
1 tbsp Black peppercorns
400 ml Paprika
1 heaped tsp coarse salt
Olive oil

Grind the bay leaves to a coarse powder in a spice blender or with a mortar and pestle (more effort and less successful). Add salt and peppercorns and continue grinding until well blended. Add the paprika and combine well. Combine the crushed garlic with the dry ingredients, slowly adding the olive oil until all the ingredients are well blended into a thick paste.

(control the heat of the paste by the amount of piri-piri - this meal is delicious without blowing off your head)

Using a knife, spread the paste over the outside of the chicken pieces, between the flesh and under the skin where possible – the skin can be gently pulled away from the flesh in places. Do not be concerned if the paste does not spread entirely smoothly and appears uneven in places. Refrigerate. After and hour or two, the paste will have acquired a smoother consistency. Using a knife, spread the paste evenly over each chicken piece. The chicken is ready to grill at this stage but leaving it to stand for longer will intensify the flavours. If left to stand longer, spread the paste over the pieces again prior to grilling.

Keep any remaining paste for the next time you make this dish.

Place the chicken pieces on a wire grill. The grill should allow ample space for the juices to seep through and collect into a pan below. Grill for 15 minutes on one side (skin side first) then turn over each piece and grill for 15 minutes on the other side. As the grill may get hotter during the grilling process, you may want to grill the chicken for 10 minutes the second time round, turn over again, and grill for another 5 minutes. This method is preferable because the skin tends to soften slightly when turned over and this crisps it up again. The chicken will be well-crisped and slightly blackened in parts.

Pour the juices (including any thick pieces of paste that may have fallen into the pan) into a gravy boat. Stir the gravy so that the pieces of paste soften and combine with the rest of the juices. Serve the chicken with rice(*), salad and crusty Portuguese bread. The gravy is used to pour over the rice and chicken.

(*) plain rice will do but I prefer the following Portuguese way of making rice:

Portuguese Rice
5-6 garlic cloves, peeled and slivered
olive oil
2 cups rice (preferably Basmati)
freshly ground black pepper

Fry the garlic in olive oil with the black pepper at a gentle heat until soft and golden brown. Remove most of the garlic but mash or chop the rest and leave in the pot. Add the rice and stir-fry for a minute or two until it gets a ‘tweedy’ look. Add 3 cups of boiling water, salt and stir in. Bring to the boil then allow to simmer for 10-12 minutes or until the rice is cooked. Add more water if necessary. Drain any remaining water and fork it up until fluffy.

And now for desert:

Yoghurt Pudding
500ml yoghurt
250 ml cream
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
1 tbsp (level) gelatin
1 tsp vanilla essence

Sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Heat the cream and sugar in a pan until it simmers. Stir the water and gelatin into the heated cream and sugar. Let the mixture cool slightly then add the vanilla and yoghurt.

Refrigerate until set – this will take 5-6 hours.


Blogger ChittyChittyBangBang! said...

I am having a go at the chicken piri-piri.
I am prolly the world's worst cook, so if I get this right... you have my respect, for what it's worth.

2:47 pm  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

It's really very easy to make so respecting me for your making it properly doesn't say much.

I'll have to think of some other way of gaining your respect.

6:02 pm  
Blogger ChittyChittyBangBang! said...

Previous attempts at ccoking food have been disastrous. (think fire, possible food poisoning and completely inedible food). Anyone who can make me look good in a kitchen, deserves respect.

5:57 am  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

Depending on whose in the kitchen, wear an apron and nothing else...that may help! :-)

12:32 pm  
Blogger BUDDESS said...

This sounds amazing. Everyone in our house loves spicy food and I am going to try this out. I wish I could just be wearing an apron, but I don't think the rest of the household will approve. hahaha

9:40 am  
Blogger ChittyChittyBangBang! said...

To only reason to wear the apron an nothing else would be if you are planning to be the desert.

1:40 pm  
Blogger portuguesa nova said...


I still haven't found piri to try the first one, but this is the first I'd heard of grounding bay leaves...I tried it with some roast potatoes. SO GOOD!!!

1:39 pm  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

Piri-piri, sometimes spelt peri peri is chilli powder made from the piri piri chilli pepper. So, as a substitute, you could use another type of chilli powder.

In Mozambique and Angola, you will often be served a dish of chopped fresh piri piri to sprinkle on your food. It packs a whallop!

1:54 pm  

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