Peri-Peri Chicken & Charred Chilli-Lime Corn

The Portuguese/southern African sauce peri peri, or piri piri, is a rich, smoky and slightly sweet sauce that marries so well with chicken. Roasting the peppers and chillies beforehand pumps up the flavour but you can skip this bit to save time and if you like things hot, feel free to add more chillies. If it’s not BBQ weather, roast the chicken in a 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6 oven for 40–45 minutes until the skin is crispy and the juices run clear. Char the corn in a chargrill pan.

Found in this book

Ainsley's Good Mood Food

Ebury Books


Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6.

Place the red onion and peppers on a baking tray and drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with the paprika and roast for 20–25 minutes, then add the chillies and garlic and toss. Roast for another 10 minutes then remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Rip the stems from the chillies and place the contents of the roasting tray with the remaining marinade ingredients (except the oil) in a food processor or blender, along with ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Blend well. Continue to blend while drizzling in the oil until you have a smooth marinade.

Slash the chicken at intervals with a sharp knife and place in a shallow dish. Pour over the marinade and rub into the meat. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

Meanwhile, boil the corn cobs in a large pan of salted water for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Preheat a barbecue and remove the chicken from the fridge to come up to room temperature.

Remove the chicken from the marinade, shaking off any excess, and place over direct heat for 3–4 minutes on each side to sear. Move to a cooler part of the barbecue and cook, turning and basting with any marinade, for a further 35–45 minutes, or until the juices run clear when the thickest part is pierced with a metal skewer. Remove from the heat and allow to rest for a few minutes.

In a bowl, mash together the butter, chilli, cayenne, lime zest and a good squeeze of juice. Season with salt. Rub the corn cobs with some of the butter (reserving some for serving) and place directly on the grill, turning, for 6–8 minutes or until charred on all sides.

Serve the chicken with the corn on the side with a knob of chilli- lime butter melting over the top.

If you want to make a peri peri dip for serving, reserve some marinade and whisk in enough mayonnaise or extra-virgin olive oil until you have a creamy dipping sauce. Check for seasoning and lemon.



  • For the Peri-Peri Chicken
  • 1–1.5kg bone-in, skin-on chicken leg quarters (about 6–8 pieces)
  • 4–6 corn cobs
  • 80g butter, softened
  • 1 small red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
  • pinch of cayenne
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the Marinade
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 2 large red peppers, de-seeded and quartered
  • 2–3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • ½ tsp paprika (unsmoked)
  • 3–6 African bird’s-eye (piri piri) chillies, according to taste
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 8–10 basil leaves, torn
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
  • zest and juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tbsp runny honey
  • a splash of whisky or bourbon (optional)