The Republic of Angola is in Southern Africa on the west coast. The Portuguese explorer Diogo Cão found what was known as the Kingdom of Kongo in 1484. It was a Portuguese colony until independence in 1975 and in the same year civil war broke out until 2002. The war ravaged the country’s political and social institutions and littered the country with land mines. However since the end of the war Angola’s standard of living has overall greatly improved. Life expectancy, which was just 46 years in 2002, reached 51 in 2011.
Angola’s oil and diamonds are its primary sources of income, making up roughly 60% of the country’s economy. The Northern Angolan province of Cabinda is unusual in that it is separated from the rest of the country, sharing borders with the Congo Republic and the DRC. It is best known for it’s oil production and has the nickname “the Kuwait of Africa”. It accounts for more than half of Angola’s oil output.
Despite it’s turbulent history, Angola has many interesting historical highlights including the Parque Nacional da Kissama (home to elephants and water buffalo, thanks to a relief project known as Operation Noah’s Ark), Fortaleza de São Miguel (a fort constructed by the Portuguese in 1576 and is the capital, Luanda’s, oldest surviving building) and the beautiful beaches of Namibe.
The cuisine of Angola is significantly influenced by Portuguese food. Common dishes include Funge (cassava porridge), Caldeirada de peixe (fish stew), Moamba de galinha (chicken stew with palm oil). Some other recipes I came across were Catatos (caterpillar fried with garlic!), Camaro Grelhado (grilled prawns) and Cocada amarela (yellow coconut pudding). I opted to cook Frango piri piri (grilled chicken in hot marinade). Although piri piri is generally associated with Portugal, it’s origins were from Angola and Mozambique. We enjoyed the chicken very much, but found the piri piri sauce too garlicky.
Prep time: 15 mins + 1 hour marinating time
Cook time: 35-40 mins
1 medium chicken
6 garlic cloves, crushed
2 lemons, juiced
2 bay leaves, chopped
2 tsp sweet paprika
80 ml scotch whisky (or brandy – I used brandy as we’re not big whisky drinkers)
2 tbsp butter, softened
Piri piri sauce
6 small red chillies, finely chopped
pinch of salt
1 lemon, juiced
50 ml olive oil
1 tbsp garlic powder
Trim the chicken of excess fat. Use a sharp knife or kitchen scissors to cut the chicken through the breastbone. Open the chicken out, turn over and flatten it by pressing down on the backbone. Make a small cut under each wing to help the chicken flatten further. Make several slashes in the flesh with a sharp knife to allow the flavours of the marinade to get in and the fat to drain out. Prick the chicken all over with a fork.
Combine the garlic, lemon juice, bay leaf powder, paprika, whisky and butter, mixing well. Brush the chicken on both sides with the mixture and sprinkle with rock salt. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Mix the piri piri ingredients into a thickish sauce.
Cook the chicken on a hot charcoal barbecue, turning frequently and basting continuously with the leftover marinade, for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cut the chicken into pieces and serve with the piri piri sauce.