Jay Croft
3 min readJul 10, 2023

Healthy Recipe, Mango-Lime Piri Piri Drumsticks

Piri piri is a tangy-sweet hot pepper sauce with African and Portuguese roots often sold in bottles, and for which there are as many recipes as there are barbecue sauce. Lerato Umah-Shaylor, a Nigerian food writer based in the UK, created her own version that’s as nutrient-rich as it is flavorful for her new cookbook, “Africana,” (Amistad, $37.50). This slight adaptation features drumsticks for a summery, easy-to-serve presentation, but thighs or other chicken pieces would work just as well. It’s first baked on sheet pan, then charred under the broiler, imparting a smoky barbecue taste without the need of a grill. Serves 4–6. — Susan Puckett

Chicken and marinade:

Juice of 2 limes

2 to 3 pounds chicken drumsticks (or thighs, or a combination)

2 teaspoons fine sea salt

2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely grated

Mango-Lime Piri Piri Sauce:

3 medium mangoes, peeled, stoned, and roughly chopped (about 3 cups)

½ medium yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped

½ red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped

1 scotch bonnet, habanero, or bird’s eye chile, stemmed and seeded (or 2, if you prefer more heat)

2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

3 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped

1/3 cup vegetable oil (or more, as needed)

Juice of 2 limes and zest of 1 lime

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Sea salt to taste

For serving:

Chopped fresh cilantro and lime wedges

1. Marinate the chicken: At least 2 ½ hours before serving, in a large bowl, combine the lime juice, salt, and garlic. Add the chicken and massage into every nook to coat well. Adjust one oven rack in the center of the oven and another rack about 5 inches under the broiler.

2. Make the Mango-Lime Piri Piri: In the container of a blender or a food processor, combine the mangoes, onion, bell pepper, chile, ginger, garlic, oil, lime juice and zest, paprika, and allspice. Puree to make a smooth sauce, adding a little more oil if too thick. Sprinkle in the thyme and oregano and stir to combine.

3. Spoon enough of the sauce into the bowl to coat the chicken heavily, reserving the remainder for a side sauce. Cover and refrigerate the chicken or 2 hours or overnight.

4. In a small saucepan, combine the remaining sauce with the vinegar and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt. (Sauce may be stored in a sterilized jar in the refrigerator for up to a month.)

5. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving to bring to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

6. Place the chicken on a sheet pan and roast for 15 minutes, brush with some of the piri piri sauce, and continue roasting for 15 minutes longer.

7. Remove from the oven, preheat the broiler to high, and broil for about 10 minutes, turning the drumsticks halfway through, so they are nicely charred all over.

8. Brush with a few more tablespoons of the sauce, scatter cilantro over the top, and serve with remaining sauce and lime wedges.

Susan Puckett is a cookbook author and former food editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow her at susanpuckett.com.

Jay Croft

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