Piri piri, agua fresca and other fun words I ate today

Piri piri.  Just say it, “piri piri.”  It sounds adorable.  It tastes delicious.  It’s easy to make.  It’s a win for everybody.  Well everybody who likes to eat foods with fun names.

I was on my own for dinner again tonight and after a lot of deliberation (seriously, I dwell at length on the existential question of “What to eat for dinner?” just about everyday), I decided to try making my own piri piri sauce and using it with some grilled chicken.  I figured I could have a nice couple of sides by cooking some broccolini we just got from the farm share this week and by cooking up some quick whole wheat couscous AND I could make enough to have a hearty lunch for tomorrow.  Epic win.

I put together the piri piri sauce (recipe below) and marinated two boneless skinless chicken breasts in it for an hour, before grilling them to delicious grate-marked perfection for about a half hour over medium high heat. (I kept a quarter cup or so of the sauce on the side to drizzle over the chicken when done.)

While the chicken was cooking, I washed and rinsed the broccolini, sprinkled it with a tablespoon or so of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper, wrapped it in a secure tinfoil shell and placed it on the grill as well, on the shelf above the main grates so it wouldn’t burn.  Finally, just after I pulled off the chicken and let it rest, I cooked up some whole wheat couscous and seasoned it simply with salt, pepper and olive oil.  It would be a nice mellow compliment to the piri piri sauce.  I added a cute little garnish of thinly sliced green onions, which I had placed in a cold water bath for about 10 minutes; this makes them soft and curly.

Now I know you’re thinking: what the hell is a piri piri?

According to Wikipedia, a piri piri is an African birdseye chili pepper that is small and extremely spicy and is often used in preparing sauces and marinades for chicken and fish.  Now, piri piri peppers are not easy to come by at your average grocery store so I replaced them with serrano peppers, as instructed in my recipe from Food Network’s Ask Aida.  Having never tried it before, I found the sauce to be quite flavorful, not too spicy, sort of like a low-temperature hot sauce.  I would have liked more spice and should’ve kept more seeds in the sauce than the recipe specified.  Overall, I greatly enjoyed it, finding it to be a good compliment to an overall very healthy meal and am looking forward to experimenting with it again.

Piri Piri Sauce
3 medium serrano chiles
4 medium cloves garlic
1 tablespoon paprika
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil

Heat oven to 500 degrees F and arrange rack in upper third.
Place chiles on a baking sheet and roast until blackened and soft, about 10 to 15 minutes. Trim chiles and remove seeds.
Combine chiles, garlic, paprika, lime juice, and vinegar in a blender and blend until smooth and combined, about 1 minute. Add olive oil and blend until thoroughly incorporated and marinade thickens slightly.

So now I had a delicious dinner but what to wash it down with?  Well I’m feeling light and healthy…how about I try something new, light, and fruity?

Agua Fresca!

I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for a while.  It’s not a smoothie, really…it’s healthy, flavored water–in this case, flavored with crushed strawberries and lime.  It was indeed light, refreshing, not super sweet (maybe could have been sweeter, I should have added more lime, too, maybe).  I cut the recipe down from 8 servings to just 2 and enjoyed a nice tall picturesque glass of it.

Strawberry Agua Fresca
8 cups

4 cups water
1/3 cup sugar
6 cups hulled strawberries
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)

Combine water and sugar, stirring until sugar dissolves. Place strawberries in a blender, and process until smooth. Combine the sugar mixture, strawberry puree, and juice; stir well.

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2 thoughts on “Piri piri, agua fresca and other fun words I ate today

  1. Jen of a2eatwrite

    The agua fresca seems a perfect pairing with the spice of the piripiri. I must say, though, you’re a lot more ambitious than me when I have a blessed evening alone!

  2. Lauren

    I consider it time to experiment without feeling like I should rush to get dinner ready or worrying about how many dishes I’m going to have to clean up after!

    The agua fresca was great. In fact, I feel a bit under the weather today and I’m completely craving one as a pick-me-up but I’m out of strawberries :-(

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