Piri Piri Chicken with Quinoa Tabouli



When Aidan and I went to Europe about three years ago, Portugal was one of the countries that got scrapped from the list in favour of other places to go. As much as I wanted to travel to Italy and France and Spain, I still regret not making it over to Portugal. The architecture, history and culture looks amazing, as does the food.

So this week I thought i’d bring you a little piece of Portugal. Piri Piri chicken.

Although reading up on the topic, the translation of the original “piri piri” means pepper pepper in Swahili. Its a type of chilli pepper cultivated originally in South America, but has also been growing wildly in African countries such as Mozambique and Zimbabwe for hundreds of years!

This recipe is packed with protein both from the quinoa (pronounced keenwah for those not in the know!) as well as the chicken itself. ¬†Quinoa is known as a complete protein source as it contains all the essential amino acids used in the body for cell regeneration and maintaining our systems. Translation: its awesome! Being a seed not a grain, it’s also gluten free so our Coeliac and gluten intolerant friends can also enjoy this recipe!

First timers might find cooking quinoa a bit tricky. You MUST thoroughly rinse the seed before putting it into the saucepan to get rid of the bitter taste left behind by the natural pesticide Quinoa produces on its skin. Add to boiling water and cook for around 15 minutes (just like cooking white rice really). You’ll know when the seeds are cooked because they become kind of transparent in the middle. Some people like to cook Quinoa using absorption method, either way is okay.

This recipe is fairly quick and easy with minimal prep, however if you really want your Piri Piri to back a punch I suggest basting your chicken and leaving it to rest in the fridge overnight like I did. But watch out because this recipe really does have a kick to it! If you’re not a chilli connoisseur try halving the amount of chilli in the paste.


Piri Piri Chicken with Quinoa Tabouli


  • Piri Piri Chicken:
  • 1-2 teaspoons of chilli powder depending on your preference
  • 2 teaspoons fo paprika powder
  • 2 teaspoons fo cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon of grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of rock salt
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • the juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 chicken thighs
  • Tabouli:
  • 1/4 cup of cooked quinoa
  • 1 tomato diced
  • 1/2 lebanese cucumber diced
  • 2 tablespoons of beetroot diced
  • handful of flat leaf parsley finely chopped
  • the juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • pinch of salt to season


  1. Add all the piri piri herbs and spices in a bowl along with the olive oil, lemon and salt and mix Thoroughly to form a paste
  2. Brush the paste of the chicken in a thick layer
  3. Leave to stand in the fridge for 2-3 hours or overnight if possible
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celcius
  5. Sear the chicken for around 3 minutes on each side in a skillet or frying pan, then place the chicken into the oven for 15 minutes or until cooked through
  6. Combine all the Tabouli ingredients into a bowl and drizzle with the lemon, oil and season with the salt
  7. Serve and Enjoy!
  8. (serves 4)
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