When people find out that I'm a chef, they always ask me what my favorite cuisine is. Truth be told, I'm not sure I have one. I thoroughly enjoy almost all cuisines and am always discovering new dishes so it's hard to choose just one. Part of the fun of being a chef is learning new recipes and exploring different flavors. Today's piri piri chicken skewers were a new one for me, but one that I've been wanting to try for some time. I've seen piri piri chicken before but never had the chance to try it. And so after doing some research, I came up with my version. Serve these piri piri chicken skewers with avocado dill yogurt sauce and pickled cucumbers for a fun and flavorful meal!
Piri Piri Chicken Skewers
Piri piri chicken
- 2 lb chicken breast or thigh cut into bite-size chunks
- 2 Thai chilies
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- juice of ½ lemon
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 red onion cut into bite-size chunks
- 1 red bell pepper cut into bite-size chunks
- 1 green bell pepper cut into bite-size chunks
Avocado dill yogurt sauce
- 1 avocado
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint
- salt and pepper
- 1 Persian cucumber thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons boiling water
- ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
- Prepare the chicken. Blend together Thai chilies with garlic, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil until smooth. Pour marinade over chicken, turning to coat. Let sit for 1 hour at room temperature or in the fridge overnight.
- Meanwhile, prepare avocado dill yogurt sauce. Cut avocado in half and remove pit. Scoop out flesh and place in blender. Puree avocado with yogurt, lemon juice, and garlic until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in fresh dill and mint. Season with salt and pepper and let sit for 30 minutes.
- Make pickled cucumbers. Combine vinegar, boiling water, sugar and salt in a medium bowl, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add cucumbers and let sit for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Skewer chicken with red onion and bell peppers, alternating between chicken and vegetable. Place skewers on baking sheet and roast in oven for 15-20 minutes or until chicken juices run clear.
- Remove chicken from oven and transfer skewers to a platter. Serve with avocado dill yogurt sauce and pickled cucumbers.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
From what I can gather, piri piri chicken is a traditional Portuguese dish, named after the piri piri chilies in the sauce. I was unable to successfully source piri piri chilies so I had to make some adjustments. However, after reading many different recipes, I've come to the conclusion that as long as you use some type of chili, it'll work.
To make these skewers, first, make the marinade. Blend together Thai chilies with garlic, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil until smooth. I only used 2 Thai chilies to keep the heat level mild but feel free to add more chilies for a spicy version.
Pour the piri piri sauce over the chicken and let it sit for at least one hour. You can use chicken thighs or breasts, just make sure it's skinless and boneless.
Meanwhile, make the avocado dill yogurt sauce. This sauce is a spin off of tzatziki, which has Greek yogurt, dill, lemon, and garlic. To make it extra creamy, I added avocado to the mix and a touch of fresh mint for the refreshing flavor.
Whole fat Greek yogurt works best for this sauce for its thick consistency; however, I have used non-fat Greek yogurt and it worked just fine. As long as it's Greek yogurt and not regular yogurt, it should do the job.
Next, make the pickled cucumbers. The cucumbers aren't necessary but I thought they paired wonderfully with the chicken.
Combine boiling water with vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small bowl, stirring until the sugar's dissolved. Pour the mixture over the sliced cucumbers and sit for at least 30 minutes. You can also prepare the pickled cucumbers up to 5 days in advance.
If you're going to grill the chicken skewers and are using wooden skewers, remember to soak them in water for 30 minutes before using them. This helps prevent the skewers from burning. I cooked my skewers in the oven so I skipped this step.
Assemble the piri piri chicken skewers, alternating between chicken, bell peppers, and red onion. Lay the skewers on a baking sheet and roast them in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the chicken is done.
Arrange the skewers on a serving platter and serve them with the avocado dill yogurt sauce and pickled cucumbers.
Talk about flavorful! I absolutely loved these piri piri chicken skewers. They reminded me of Mediterranean-style chicken kebabs with the sauce, another dish that I always enjoy. The crunchy refreshing pickled cucumber was a lovely contrast to the juicy chicken and the sauce is the perfect creamy, tart compliment. A definite recipe to hold on to!
For more chicken inspiration check out this paprika chicken with olive walnut vinaigrette!