Have you ever been to Nando‘s? It’s a popular Portuguese-inspired South African flame-grilled chicken chain that has spread across the globe. I first heard of it visiting Oxford a few years ago – pretty much anything chicken-related will pique my interest – but didn’t get a chance to try its famous peri-peri chicken until a month ago during a visit to Washington, D.C., which is home to a few of these restaurants. (It’s branded Nando’s Peri Peri here in the States.) I loved the tangy and sweet flavor of the grilled mango-lime chicken, topped with the garlicky peri-peri sauce. What truly won me over, though, were the macho peas. I’m not much of a peas person, but just a little bit of mint and chili transformed these buttery, bland balls into a popping side dish.
Although I can’t exactly replicate the recipe of the Nando’s mango-lime chicken, my homemade marinade is pretty top-notch. After experimenting with some bright flavors, I finally came up with the perfect sauce that will dress up any chicken meant for the grill. This is the perfect summer dinner.
- 2-4 chicken breasts
- Half a mango (reserve the other half to serve with the chicken)
- Juice of 1 lime
- 3-5 cloves garlic
- 2 TSP fish sauce
- Handful of parsley leaves
- Handful of cilantro leaves
- 2 TSP chili flakes
- 1 TSP cumin
- 1 TSP onion powder
- 1 TB oil
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- Sprinkle of brown sugar (optional)
The night or morning before cooking, slice your chicken breasts into thin pieces and tenderize them to ensure they’re not too thick before grilling. Set aside in a bowl. Throw the remaining ingredients into a food processor and combine. Pour the yellowish green marinade over the chicken and cover for a minimum of 8 hours.
Heat your grill and cook the chicken on each side for roughly 3-5 minutes, depending on thickness. The outsides should brown or even slightly blackened, but beware of overcooking and drying out the meat.
Serve with a side of macho peas, sliced mango, a wedge of lime, and if you’re adventurous, some Mexican-style corn on the cob!