Portuguese summer dishes

watching sunset across a beach and bay in Portugal

With the sun shining and the beach beckoning we thought it a great time to share two recipes that are easy to make when back home and will, no doubt, bring back holiday memories.

Chicken piri piri

It is thought that during the Age of Discovery (15th-17th centuries) the Portuguese discovered piri piri. Due to Portugal’s ties with Mozambique and Angola most believe that the hot peppers (bird’s eye chillis – capsicum annuum) came from Africa however, it is more likely that the Portuguese brought them back from South America (Brazil).

But Mozambique or Angola may well have played a part in the dish as the idea of marinating the chicken, in a sauce made with piri piri, is believed to have originated from either of those two Portuguese ex-colonies.

All that aside, it is an easy meal to prepare and cook so don’t hold back. Dive in and remember, it is best eaten with your hands!

1 chicken, about 1,5kg
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tbls olive oil
salt to taste
1 tbls paprika paste “massa de pimentão”
1 tbls piri-piri – this can be altered, depending on your taste
1/2 lemon

50ml olive oil
1/2 lemon
1 tsp piri-piri
salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 bayleaf

Preheat the oven to 200ºC (180ºC fan)

Using a sharp knife or scissors, cut the chicken in half along the breast and flatten it by applying pressure with the palm of your hands.

Make the marinade using the crushed garlic cloves, olive oil, salt, paprika paste, chilli and lemon juice and spread all over the chicken.

Meanwhile prepare the sauce by mixing the crushed garlic with the olive oil and the lemon juice, the chilli sauce, the bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper.

Place the chicken on a washed rack in the oven and have a tray with water underneath, into which the fat will fall during roasting. Baste the chicken with the sauce and turn it over so that it bakes evenly on both sides.

Serve with potatoes (cooked any way, they will still complement the meat) and a salad.

Recipe courtesy of Joana Roque

Arroz doce

No introduction is necessary for rice pudding – truly a comfort dish but the Portuguese version is served cold and is a wonderful summer dessert.

2 1/4 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
1 lemon, zest removed in long strips – best done with a peeler to avoid as much of the pith as possible
1 cup short-grain (Arborio) rice
2 cups hot milk – this can be partly substituted with cream for a richer taste

Ground cinnamon
Very thin lemon slices

Bring the water, salt and lemon peel to the boil in a saucepan. Reduce the heat and simmer, with the lid on, for about 15 minutes.

Remove the lemon peel from the liquid and discard.

Add the rice and boil, then simmer so that the rice absorbs all of the liquid (approx. 10 minutes).

Slowly add the hot milk, a little at a time. After each addition allow the liquid to absorb before adding the next batch of milk. Stir frequently and keep the heat very low, so that the rice does not burn at the bottom of the pan. This should take about 25 to 30 minutes.

Pour the rice into a serving dish. Sprinkle the top with the cinnamon, usually done in a lattice pattern, and add the lemon slices.

Chill and serve.

Recipe courtesy of

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