Upon reading some recent posts on Nandi’s (a South African chain) peri peri chicken I wanted to publish my family’s recipe. It is easy and delicious every time. I am also going to include the grilled sandwiches that are a common accompaniment to these grilled birds. There are multiple online South African food stores where one can order peri peri powder (within the U.S.).

  • Yields: 2-4 servings
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 2 hours
  • Active: 30 minutes

Ingredients (12)

  • Game hens (cut in half) or chicken legs and thighs
  • Olive oil
  • Limes (1-2 per bird)
  • Peri peri powder
  • Firm thick sliced bread (I like brioche loaves)
  • Tomato
  • Onion
  • Cheese (something with a bite like an aged cheddar)
  • Basil
  • Unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Garlic (2 cloves per 1/2 hen, mashed or finely chopped.)


  1. In a heavy duty ziploc bag put the hens, enough olive oil to coat, the juice of the limes (I prefer it very limey and so I usually squeeze two limes per hen in to the bag), all the garlic, a bit of kosher salt and the peri peri powder. I like it very spicey and have used up to a 1/4 a jar on a couple birds, but use at least a good coating once all the ingredients are mixed up.
  2. Close bag and squeeze chicken parts to make sure everything is coated evenly. Place in fridge to marinate for a couple hours.
  3. Cut thick slices of bread. Butter on both sides. Make sandwiches using thick slices of tomato, raw onion and cheese. I also put a leaf or two of basil and a little kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. (Depending on my mood, there are a lot of variations on this base. I have put ham, carmelized onions, fennel, etc, but the base is tomato/cheese/onion.)
  4. To expedite the sandwiches and insure that the cheese melts thoroughly by the time the outside of the bread is grilled one can wrap then in aluminum foil and put them in the oven for a few minutes to heat them up to a point where the cheese is starting to melt.
  5. Take chickens and sandwiches outside to the grill and cook. Remove the aluminum foil from the sandwiches if they were warmed in the oven first.
  6. Eat. A standard complementary beverage would be a cold South African beer or two.