For most people, the first name that comes to mind when thinking about Portugese cuisine is Nandos. Their signature peri-peri chicken with the famous flavor scale is a mass favorite. And, in a brave initiative by the brand, they have made all the sauces and marinades that they use in the restaurant kitchens, available for mass consumption on the supermarket shelves.
It speaks volumes about their confidence in their product, that they give you everything you need to re-create the Nandos magic at home, yet remain confident that you will return to the restaurant next time the peri-craving hits you.
But that doesn’t mean we haven’t all tried at least once, to create that ‘copycat Nandos style peri-peri chicken’ with our store bought peri sauce. Depending on how brave our taste buds are, we always have that one bottle of mild to extra hot peri-peri sauce in our kitchen. And even if we don’t attempt to cook Nando’s style chicken, the sauces are still the perfect way to add a dash of spice to most of our dishes. From omelettes, to pastas and sandwiches, there’s nothing that wouldn’t benefit from a little peri magic.
Now, we’re not telling you to stop buying your peri-peri fix. That just wouldn’t be nice of us (and you wouldn’t listen anyway). But what we do want to make you aware of, is that Nandos’ impressive line-up of sauces apart from the peri-peri, are worth exploring too.
After an exhaustive test of pretty much their entire line-up (almost all meals for a couple months were peri-infused), we have compiled the majority opinion on what were found to be the most popular flavors after a lot of heated 😉 debate.
Completely different from it’s Western counterpart, this one isn’t thick, shiny and heavy on corn syrup. Instead, it has a mild level of spice, along with the smokey overtones that make a good BBQ sauce. It has a subtle sweetness, which beautifully complements the signature peri-peri spices. While we tried it with many dishes, these were some of the top picks, and a good starting point if you purchase this sauce. Portuguese BBQ marinated wings, tossed in a little more of the sauce after. BBQ chicken mince filling for tacos. Portuguese BBQ and Ranch mixed together as a salad dressing, we tried it on Southwestern Cobb Salad, Grilled Chicken Salad & Bean Salad with successful results.
About as spicy as a Medium Peri-Peri (tolerable enough for most palates), this sauce was unanimously preferred over the regular peri-peri sauces. Along with the peri spice kick, expect a delicious mix of several dried herbs, adding complexity to the otherwise monotonous peri taste. If you are a regular consumer of peri-peri sauces, you might be familiar with the boredom that eventually sets in, with the same old flavor. Wild Herb is an excellent alternative, if you’re reluctant to move away from the familiar taste, yet would like a refreshing new flavor. We loved adding a dash of this sauce to our omelettes, salad dressings, chicken marination and pasta sauces.
Extra Extra Hot Peri-Peri
The only reason this sauce made it to the top three was purely because of the spice cred you get if you can handle it. It caused the most excitement (impromptu dares to down shots of the stuff totally didn’t happen) and piqued everyone’s curiosity. How hot can hot get? What crazy level of spice does that formidable looking bottle hold? Well, this one we won’t tell you. If you think you’ve got what it takes, try it. And let us know if your taste buds survived the ordeal and lived to tell the tale.
Also, we’d like to let you in on a little secret. Lurking in the grocery universe somewhere are precious little bottles of Nandos’ peri-peri spice powders. They are incredible, and we suspect they are a feature in the peri rice and seasoned fries that you get at the restaurant. But they are extremely rare. Some reported locations they have been sighted in the past are Spinneys and Choithrams, but unfortunately, that is all we know about their whereabouts. If you find them, please let us know (but if we find them we’re buying out the entire stock sorry).
What’s your favorite Nandos sauce? Have you tried any of the ones above? Do you agree with our list, or do your peri-loyalties lie elsewhere? Share your thoughts in the comments! 🙂