Tender basmati rice, full of rich spices like cumin and turmeric, and paired with red pepper, onion, and green peas, Nando's spicy rice is a truly flavorful side dish.
Often seen paired at the restaurant with their PERi PERi chicken or as a base for one of their bowls, PERi PERi rice is a staple at the restaurant and can be a staple in your home too! The great thing about this exotic (and only mildly spicy) rice recipe, is that it is made from staple ingredients that most people have on hand in their kitchen.
The first time I went to Nando's, it was at Oakbrook Mall, outside of Chicago. My husband and I had heard of the restaurant, but hadn't seen one locally. We thought they were only in the UK (turns out they were in South Africa before they ever hit the UK)! We are huge fans of hot sauce, and equally huge fans of trying foods from different cultures, so we were very excited to try this new spot. It was love at first bite! This portuguese cuisine was a hit with us, and we have gone back many times.
Because I am always a fan of recreating my restaurant favorites at home, I knew I had to make a copycat peri peri rice recipe. This portuguese rice is easy to make, and so you can enjoy Nando's style rice right from your own kitchen!
For more copycat recipes, try Chicken Friand (la Mad copycat), Cheesecake Factory Parmesan Crusted Chicken Romano, and Red Robin Ensenada Chicken Platter.
- olive oil
- red bell pepper
- chicken stock
- frozen peas
How to Make PERi PERi Rice
In a deep skillet, heat oil and saute diced onions, bell pepper, and minced garlic.
Once the onions are translucent (about 5 minutes), add in spices and salt. Cook for 1 more minute, stirring frequently.
Add in dry rice, and stir to coat.
Pour 2 cups of stock over top, stir, and cover. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.
Add in peas, stir. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.
What is PERi PERi
PERi PERi is a type of chili, which is also known as African Bird's Eye Chili. It originated in Mozambique. PERi PERi sauce features the namesake chili with other ingredients like lemon juice, garlic, onion, salt, vinegar, and oil.
When not associated with the Nandos restaurant, you can also see this chilli spelled piri piri. Nandos is not the only place that has this style of sauce. There are other restaurants that serve it as well! You can even find a variety of Peri Peri sauce at Trader Joe's. Word of warning-- it's spicy!
Variations and Substitutions
There are a few ways to mix up this Nandos spicy rice recipe to make it spicier or vegan.
Add peri peri sauce: Nandos has a bunch of different hot sauce varieties at varying levels of heat. I have found them at different grocery stores, including Target and Fresh Thyme. If you are lucky (and live in certain regions of the US and Canada), your Costco may even stock Nandos Medium hot sauce!
Substitute vegetable stock for chicken stock. If you would like to make this a vegan PERi PERi rice, the only substitution needed is vegetable stock for the chicken stock. Water will do in a pinch, but you may find the rice lacks a bit of flavor if you forgo broth entirely.
Make Nando's Rice in the Instant Pot. Use the same instructions from this Instant Pot Rice Pilaf with Veggies, just add the peri peri rice flavors!
How to serve Nandos rice
- With grilled meat: Nandos is known for their PERi PERi chicken which is marinated, grilled, and then coated in one of their various hot sauces. Serve this delicious rice with grilled meat or rotisserie chicken.
- In a bowl: Another dish Nandos serves is their PERi PERi bowls. Replicate it by taking a bed of nandos style spicy rice and topping with chicken, arugula, hummus, roasted red peppers, and corn.
- With tacos: Unconventional in the sense that this isn't a portuguese dish, but this rice pairs great with tacos as well. It has a lot of similarities spice-wise to mexican rice or spanish rice. If you are looking for a low carb spanish rice recipe, try this cauliflower rice!
- With stew. Like this Instant Pot African Beef Stew.
This spicy rice recipe is great to make a big pot of (you can even double the recipe) and then have it for different meals. It stay good in the fridge for a 3-4 days.
Any extra leftovers can be frozen in an airtight container for several months. To reheat: Simply transfer frozen rice to a large skillet and cook over medium heat until heated through. If you find the rice is a little dry after reheating, add in chicken broth a tablespoon at a time until the texture is to your liking.
Nando's Spicy Rice (PERi PERi Rice Recipe)
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 tsp. garlic minced
- 1 half red bell pepper diced
- ½ tsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- ½ tsp. cumin
- ¼ tsp. cayenne
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 cup rice
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup frozen peas
- In a deep skillet, heat oil and saute diced onions, bell pepper, and minced garlic.
- Once the onions are translucent (about 5 minutes), add in spices and salt. Cook for 1 more minute, stirring frequently.
- Add in dry rice, and stir to coat.
- Pour 2 cups of stock over top, stir, and cover. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.
- Add in peas, stir. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.