Peri-Peri, Nando’s Restaurant
First a word about Nando’s: Nando’s – the international chain of a casual dining restaurant group, originated in SouthAfrica with a Portuguese/Mozambican theme. It was the brainchild of Robert Brozin and Fernando Duarte, two South African entrepreneurs, and was set it up in 1987. The chain has restaurants in 5 continents and is famous for its legendary ‘butterfly cut’ flame grilled, Peri- Peri chicken. In India alone it has 7 restaurants of which 2 are in Bangalore.
The first time I heard the word ‘Peri-Peri’ I thought it sounded funny. I never imagined it would be something HOT. There is lot of history to the word. In the 15th century, Portuguese explorers discovered southern Africa’s best kept secret, the African Bird’s Eye Chilli. The Nando’s use this Bird Eye chilli. Its taste is unique to southern Africa because of the particular climate and soil composition and specific rainfall patterns of the region. A spice so nice, they named it twice, they added this fiery little number to a handful of herbs, spices, a squeeze of sun-ripened lemons and a dash of garlic to create the first ever PERi-PERi sauce. Now, that combination of herbs and spices is a secret!
Nando’s peri-peri sauces come in different ranges of hotness. Over a chat there with Shambhavi Misra, the PR manager there I came to know that there is a way to measure the heat of a chilli. In 1912, a chemist called Wibur Scoville developed a method to measure heat of chilli. One gram of specific chilli pepper is diluted in water till the point where the burning sensation can no longer be felt. The amount of water required to reach this dilution is calculated and defined in Scoville heat units.
I also learned that the substance responsible for heat in chillies is Capsaicin and pure Capsaicin has Scoville unit rating of over 15,000,000. Peri-Peri is not just about taste, it has amazing food value. It has high levels of Vitamin C, an excellent purifying agent and good source of vitamin A, thymine, riboflavin and minerals like calcium, potassium, phosphorous and iron. Capsaicin lowers cholesterol and blood pressure. No harm getting the food a bit more spicy!
Nando’s have their own Peri-ometer! It helps consumers identify with various heat levels of their sauces, marinades and chicken. The little flags inserted on the food are indicator of spice levels. Blue flag indicates ‘mild peri-peri’, while the red one indicates ‘hot peri-peri’. There is ‘extra hot peri-peri’ and ‘lemon and herb peri-peri’.
The Meal: The Butterfly Chicken Breast is their unique A-grade, trimmed off excess fat, 24 hours marinated, flame grilled chicken served in customer’s choice of PERi-PERi flavors. The Portion of chicken is butterflied and off the bone. This distinctive flame grilled double breasted delight is served with Crispy Wedges, Fresh side salad and a Refreshing Designer Drink. It’s the best of everything on the table at Rs 499.
Caution: Taste according to your tolerance to the various spicy levels. In case of excessive heat and burning sensation try drinking milk or eating ice cream or yoghurt. Capsaicin is not water soluble but oil soluble, it will dissolve in fat globules of dairy products and be washed away when swallowed.