Nikkei Cuisine: Peruvian piri piri chicken
Made famous to non-foodies by Nandos, piri-piri is a classic Portuguese marinade that makes use of hot chillies, garlic and vinegar. ‘For the Nikkei version, my piri-piri marinade blends Peruvian rocoto chillies with some Japanese flavours,’ explains Luiz Hara, creator of The London Foodie blog and author of Nikkei: Japanese Food The South American Way (Jacqui Small, £25). ‘Half the marinade, not used for marinating or basting the chickens, should be combined with coconut milk to make a delicious sauce for serving with the finished dish,’ he writes.
4 small poussins (or 8 small chicken thighs, skin on, bone in)
Maldon sea salt flakes
1 tbsp sugar
40ml coconut cream
1 tbsp coriander cress
4 lemon wedges
For the Nikkei piri-piri marinade:
6 tbsp ready-made aji rocoto paste
6 tbsp rice vinegar
6 tbsp soy sauce
8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
120g red onion, very finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp Maldon sea salt flakes
2 tsp caster (superfine) sugar
1. First, prepare the Nikkei piri-piri marinade by mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl
until well combined. Check for seasoning and add more aji rocoto paste or salt, if desired.
Half of this marinade will be used for the piri-piri and coconut cream sauce while the other
half will be used to marinate the chicken.
2. Coat the chicken, (or chicken thighs, if using) thoroughly in half of the Nikkei piri-piri
marinade, leaving them to marinate for at least 6 hours or overnight in the fridge. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas mark 6 and line a roasting tray with foil.
3. Remove the excess marinade from the chicken but reserve for basting during its
cooking. Place the pieces on the tray, skin side up, and coat them liberally with Maldon
sea salt flakes. Cook in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes basting the chicken or
chicken thighs every 5 minutes or so with the remaining marinade.
4. Check the done-ness of the chicken by piercing a knife in the thickest part of the thigh, the juices should run golden and clear. If you have a meat thermometer, the internal temperature
should be between 75oºC and 80oºC.
5. When ready, place the chicken chicken thighs under a very hot grill (broiler) for 5 minutes to crisp up the skin. Remove the tray from the grill and let the meat rest for a couple of minutes. Meanwhile, quickly bring the reserved half marinade to the boil with the sugar then add
the coconut cream and heat it through, mixing well.
6. Remove from the heat. Plate the chicken, or chicken thighs on serving plates, drizzle some of the piri-piri and coconut cream sauce over them and around the plate, finishing with a scattering of coriander cress. Serve with the lemon wedges.