Home-ground West African pepper, scotch bonnet chillies and peanut butter are key to this crisp-and-fiery chicken thigh recipe, straight from the street vendors of Sierra Leone
- Serves: 8 persons
- 10chicken thighs
- 2large onions
- 5garlic cloves
- 25g ginger
- 50ml lemon juice
- 1tbsp curry powder
- 1tsp West African pepper blend
- 2lemongrass stalks
- 1tsp sweet paprika
- 1tsp ground coriander
- 200g unsalted peanut butter (use one without palm oil)
- 30g tomato purée
- 1medium tomato, chopped
- 300ml chicken or vegetable stock
- 2-3 scotch bonnet chillies, seeds left in, to taste
- 10 ½tsp grains of paradise
- 2tbsp black peppercorns
- 2tbsp white peppercorns
- 1tbsp cubeb pepper
- 3tbsp allspice berries
Step 1To make the pepper blend, toast all the spices in a dry pan over a medium heat until fragrant. Allow to cool then grind in a spice grinder or with a pestle and mortar. Store in an airtight jar – it will stay fresh for up to three months.
Step 2For the pepe marinade, put all the ingredients plus 2 tsp of salt in the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth and well combined. Cook in a pan over a medium heat for 10-15 mins, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the marinade has thickened. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Let the marinade cool.
Step 3Put the chicken thighs in a large glass or ceramic bowl, pour over half the marinade (you can freeze the rest or keep it for up to a week covered in the fridge) and massage it into the chicken. Cover and marinate in the fridge for 2-3 hrs or overnight.
Step 4Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Arrange the chicken pieces in a single layer in a baking tin. Roast for 35-40 mins, basting occasionally, until cooked through (they are ready when the juices run clear when pierced in the thickest part of the thigh with a skewer). Alternatively you can cook the thighs on a barbecue – baste them regularly and turn them frequently until cooked through.