If you love the heat, this peri peri seasoning is for you! You’ll be ready to whip up your own perfect peri peri chicken and Nando’s fakeaways with this customisable seasoning mix .
Peri peri seasoning
Peri peri, the fabulous hot spicing that is a fusion of East African and Portuguese cooking, has become a worldwide phenomenon. If you are a fan of peri peri (or piri piri) chicken, then it makes sense to have a batch of your own special seasoning to hand, ready to speed up all those amazing spicy recipes.
Whether you are devoted to your local chicken takeaway or a fan of the South African restaurant chain Nando’s, we’ve all come to love peri peri in recent years. Those hot, hot peri peri chillies (a form of bird’s eye chilli) are key to this sunshine taste, but there’s so much more to it than that.
If you love this kind of cooking in the restaurant, you want to learn to make it at home and the key to success is making up a good batch of your favourite spice blend. Adjust it to suit your own taste and your peri peri will always be perfect. You could even call it your ‘even better than Nando’s seasoning’!
It may look like a lot of ingredients, but remember that by mixing them up to make a storecupboard pot of seasoning, you avoid having to get them all out every time. This will save you time in the long run and there really isn’t much to do.
The key is to get it just the way you want it, so you can leave something out or adjust the proportions, or make substitutions if you want to.
Why make homemade peri peri seasoning?
- It is easy – just mix the spices well and store in a jar.
- Timesaving – no more rifling through the spice drawer every time you cook.
- Adjust to your taste – customise and have it your way every time!
- So much cheaper than buying a ready made blend.
Peri peri seasoning ingredients
- Paprika – powdered roasted peppers, warm and slightly sweet
- Dried oregano – You can be a bit flexible with the dried herbs. Thyme or marjoram or chervil or coriander would work instead of the oregano or parsley, but if you use dried coriander leaf, leave out the ground coriander seed.
- Salt – I used sea salt but crushed it. You could use fine salt. Either way, you don’t want large crystals.
- Ground black pepper – this brings extra heat, so adjust the quantity to taste
- Dried parsley
- Onion powder – If you only have garlic powder you can leave this out, and vice versa.
- Ground coriander
- Ground cardamom – I like to include it but it is not absolutely essential
- Sugar – important to bring out the flavours
- Hot chilli powder – The heart of peri peri, in an ideal world this would be dried ground peri peri chillies but this can be hard to find. Another hot chilli powder such as cayenne is fine.
- garlic powder
Helen’s Pro Tip
Unless you have a really good blender, it’s best to buy ready ground spices for an even texture. If you are using sea or rock salt, crush it to a fine consistency so it mixes in with the other ingredients.
How to make piri piri seasoning – step by step
Before you start, read my step-by-step instructions, with photos, hints and tips so you can make this recipe perfectly every time.
Scroll down for the recipe card with quantities and more tips at the bottom of the page.
Step One – Check the size of your storage jar before you start to see it will hold all the seasoning.
The easiest way to do this is to weigh the jar, fill with water and weigh again. 5 g of water is 5 ml / 1 tsp, and this recipe makes 26 tsp. Make sure the jar is dry before filling it with the spice blend!
Then, when you are ready, gather all your ingredients, check you have everything and put it all in a bowl.
Step Two – Give everything a good mix with a spoon or whisk.
Helen’s Pro Tip
It’s far better to mix in a bowl rather than putting everything in a jar and shaking. This can take ages and if the jar is nearly full, your spices may not be well combined.
Step Three – Transfer your Nando’s seasoning to a clean, dry jar. I usually use a jam funnel for this. Seal tightly and store in a cool, dark place.
Use this Nando’s style seasoning mix in all your favourite fakeaway peri peri dishes like this Nandos chicken, or add to some homemade Nandos rice to give it a kick. Try it in marinades for chicken or fish, add to dips and sauces or use it to season fries.
Store your peri peri seasoning in a cool dark cupboard.
Your ‘best before’ date will be the shortest dated of out of all the spices you used! Although best before is a guide, as the flavour fades, just use a little more.
Buying and storing spices
Generally speaking, the fresher your spices, the better.
I find that large bags of spice go stale before you can use them, but the jars from the supermarket are rarely good value for money if you get though them before their best before. Modest sized bags, of the sort that you find in the ‘world foods’ aisle of the supermarket or the local corner shop tend to be more economical.
Once I have opened a bag, I use a clip to seal it rather than rely on the bag’s own seal. I store my spices in airtight plastic boxes in a cool, dark cupboard. I generally keep one box for savoury spices, one for herbs, and one for sweet spices.
The answer is ‘it depends’. If you never use spices for anything else, it may be more economical to buy a ready made mix. If you regularly cook curry or chilli dishes, however, it works out cheaper to mix and customise your own.
Again, it depends – this time on what’s in the shop bought version. Some of them are very good but some odd ingredients and can be about half sugar! With a homemade mix, you know exactly what you are are getting, can avoid any allergens and can adapt it to suit your taste.
It depends how much chilli you add and how hot the chilli is (they vary wildly). Remember you can always add more for a hotter seasoning but can’t take it out.
It brings out the other flavours and does help the mix. Don’t worry, we only use a very little sugar and when you think about it portioned out across many meals, you really are adding very few calories.
More peri peri recipes
- Easy peri peri sauce – Use it on everything!
- Easy peri peri chicken – Your favourite, made at home
- Nando’s style spicy rice – glorious golden Portuguese rice
- Peri peri fries – so easy in the oven, using your Nando’s seasoning mix
Peri Peri Seasoning Recipe
- 2 tbsp paprika (ground, mix of regular and smoked)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 tsp oregano (dried)
- 2 tsp parsley (dried)
- 2 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste, or ground peri peri)
- 2 tsp black pepper (ground)
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp coriander seed (ground)
- 1 tsp cardamom (ground, optional)
- 1 tsp onion powder
- Gather your ingredients and put everything in a clean, dry bowl. Mix together thoroughly.2 tbsp paprika, 1 tbsp sugar, 2 tsp oregano, 2 tsp parsley, 2 tsp cayenne pepper, 2 tsp black pepper, 2 tsp garlic powder, 2 tsp coriander seed, 1 tsp cardamom, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tbsp salt
- Transfer your peri peri seasoning mix to a clean dry jar with a lid that fits tightly. If you have a jam funnel, this will help to avoid any spillage.
- Seal and store in a cool, dark place, ready to use in all your peri peri marinades, dips and chips.