Poussins peri-peri

Poussins peri-peri

Chicken cooked the hot Goan/Portuguese way

Mr Todiwala's Bombay
Helen Cathcart

The peri-peri chicken of Goa is named after the piri-piri or bird’s eye chilli, brought to Goa by the Portuguese from South America. They also planted it in Mozambique and Angola and it now thrives in many parts of Africa. The Goans, however, changed the style of the original peri-peri chicken which was simply cooked in a paste of crumbled red chillies, lime juice and lots of garlic. To make a traditional Indian peri-peri paste is very time consuming, so here is a simplified recipe which would be to a Goan absolute taboo … but it works!

The same chilli is also the base for the famed Goan pork vindaloo, derived from another Portuguese dish of meat and wine (which evolved into vinegar and then the spices, including the fiery chillies, added).



Quantity Ingredient
2 oven-ready poussins
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 lime, juiced


Quantity Ingredient
1 1/2 tablespoons chilli powder
1 heaped tablespoo ginger and garlic paste, (or use 3 garlic cloves, crushed, and 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger)
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large tomatoes, cut in 1 cm thick slices
olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 red onions, sliced into rings
3 potatoes, thickly sliced

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
mixed salad
crusty bread


  1. Wipe the poussins inside and out with paper towels and make three or four slashes on the breasts on each side of the breast bone so they form ‘V’ shapes along it.
  2. Make a few slashes on the legs and thighs too.
  3. Mix the turmeric and lime juice together and rub it well into the poussins. Chill in the refrigerator for about an hour.
  4. Meanwhile, mix all the masala ingredients together to form a paste and taste for seasoning. If you find it too mild add more chilli powder.
  5. Rub the masala well into the poussins on all sides and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or, if possible, overnight.
  6. Before cooking the poussins, prepare the roasting dish. Grease a large ovenproof frying pan with a little olive oil and lay the thickly sliced tomato in a single layer.
  7. Drizzle with more olive oil on the top too, sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
  8. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the poussins in a roasting tin right-side up and, if not sitting straight, press down firmly on the legs. The birds will take on a plump look and sit perfectly. Place them in the oven and after 10 minutes reduce the temperature to 150°C.
  9. After 30 minutes remove the poussins from the oven. Carefully lift out the poussins onto a plate. Spread the onion and potatoes evenly in the roasting tin. Put the poussins back on top and return to the oven.
  10. After about 10 minutes place the frying pan with the tomatoes over a high heat and let the tomato slices brown on the bottom. Do not flip over but just lift to check that the slices are browning. Transfer the pan to the top shelf of the oven.
  11. Remove the poussins and turn them over breast-side down on the onion and potato and place back in the oven. Check to see if potatoes are almost tender. If so, after 2 minutes, switch off the oven and let it all rest in the oven for a good 10 minutes.
  12. Carefully lift out the poussins and cut in halves. Mix the onions and potatoes, check the seasoning and plate in a separate dish. Serve the chicken along with the potatoes and onions, the pan of tomatoes, a mixed salad and some crusty bread.
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