The name Piri-Piri comes from the chilli that is used, which is more commonly known as the African Birds-Eye Chilli. Although Piri-Piri is Portuguese, it actually first came from Africa. It originates from Angola and Mozambique - which were colonies of Portugal. It is a hot sauce made from dried and soaked piri-piri chillies. I have memories of the first time I had Piri-Piri Chicken. It was in Portugal when I had just turned 18, off the beaten track in a tiny little village, in a little restaurant over-looking the hills. It was a beautiful setting. When I was making this I wanted to recreate that hot, but fragrant taste that I can remember.
Doing some research on Piri-Piri Sauce, I was amazed at the sheer number of variations and recipes. The most basic, which was probably the original, was just oil, minced piri-piri chillies and salt. But I wanted to have a bit more flavour to mine, to remind me of when I was back in Portugal. So I set about creating my version of Piri-Piri Chicken. Let me just interrupt at this point and say pop yourselves a few beers in the fridge to drink while eating this. You'll love the reason why. In chillies there is a substance called Capsaicin. This is the substance in a chilli that creates the burning sensation. When people eat something that is too hot, many people turn to water to try and cool their mouth down. It's not worth it. It's ineffective. You see Capsaicin is not water-soluble, so it doesn't do anything. The good news is, it's alcohol-soluble. That's why a cold beer goes well with a curry.
You can make this as hot or as mild as you like, it's down to you how much heat you can handle. Personally I like hot food, and when I made this I used 6 birds eye chillies. When I make this again, I will increase this to 8 or 9 as for me it could be hotter. But I will say with 6 chillies you still get a good kick and a wonderful flavour. You can also use prawns instead of chicken, use the sauce brushed onto corn on the cob, or toss potato wedges in the marinade before cooking.