When starting this quest I hadn’t quite counted on learning as much as I have about different cooking methods and about the different reaches of various colonial powers across the globe. With the various cuisines of Africa, it is quite mind boggling as to which European country’s influence is still felt.
With Mozambique, I was surprised to learn how they were previously under the foot of Portugal until their independence in 1975. Previously, I had thought that Portugal’s influence was mostly in the area surrounding Angola – but no Mozambique, Tanzania and Madagascar have all had parts of their land within the Portuguese Empire. Considering Portuguese interests in India and Macau – it makes sense that they might have West African territories for sea-trading purposes, but the scope of some of these empires is just… beyond me.
This is a bit of a round-about way of me explaining that, for this country, I made something that very much influenced by Portugal. However, the name ‘piri piri’ actually comes from Mozambique and is in reference to the type of chilli that was originally used. So I feel pretty good about making this to cross off this country.
So this marked my first attempt at making Piri Piri (with the recipe from African Bites), as well the first time that I ever spatchcocked a chicken. The writer of the recipe mentioned it as a possibility for the sake of presentation, I just liked the idea of buying some proper kitchen scissors to try out a new technique.
Honestly, I don’t know why I haven’t done this before, there is something rather satisfying about going through the cutting process in order to achieve a nice flattened chicken. My only worry was cooking it as, since I live in a flat, my options were to cook this in the oven or to find a way to fit it in my George Foreman grill… so of course I went for the latter. I ended up cooking the chicken for 25 minutes on the high setting and alternating between turning it and flipping it in order to make sure everything was safely cooked. The end product was a cooked through and incredibly juicy.
Living in the UK makes it impossible to not compare this to Nandos (or Oporto from when I was in Australia). Fact is, this tasted different because of the use of coconut milk (which I’m guessing is a Mozambique thing… or might just be something that was omitted for UK tastes) instead of vinegar.
Whilst I still need to practice my chicken grilling skills, there is no question about how great the sauce was for the chips and salad (especially when mixed with a smidge of mayonnaise). Once I get the spice level of this perfect (which, for me, would mean adding more chilli) I think this is something I would happily trot out when having company over. It would probably make for a great vegetable or fish marinade too.
Feels like it has been a while since I last made something Asian (which would have been the Bhutanese cheese curry) and so that will be my next destination. Looking at the map, it would appear that Central Asia and South-East Asia are the remaining areas that I have yet to touch properly – so I guess that’s where I’ll be looking to for inspiration.