In my opinion, the only cheeky thing about Nando’s is the price. After all, it’s just chicken and rice/chips/mash/salad/garlic bread (delete as appropriate).
After seeing Nando’s sauces appearing in supermarkets, I thought I’d give Nando’s a run for their money and see if it’s possible to make the real deal at home. This is a more time-consuming recipe, and slightly more expensive, so could be used for a friend’s birthday as an alternative to spending £10/£15 in the restaurant.
My recipe originates from what I would normally choose to order at Nando’s, however of course you can adapt it to your own tastes. In the future I may try out different Nando’s sauces along with different pieces of chicken, sides and so on. If you really want to rock the boat you can even try it without chicken (gasp!), and swap it for pork, beef or vegetables. The bottle of sauce claims that it tastes good with pretty much everything.
Ingredients to serve four:
- 4 boneless chicken breast portions (£5, Tesco)
- Nando’s Chicken Lemon and Herb Marinade – be careful that it is the marinade and not the sauce as they look quite similar (Asda is the cheapest at £1.47, but also available at Tesco for £1.99)
- Packet of green beans – they don’t serve these at Nando’s but it makes the meal a bit healthier and I like them (£1, Tesco)
- Corn on the cob twin pack, cut in half to make four portions (£0.69, Tesco)
- 2 packets of microwave brown rice – normally I don’t buy microwave rice but this makes the meal a whole lot less stressful. Sainsbury’s microwave brown rice (£0.50 per packet) is really nice as you can stir-fry it instead, and it only takes 3-4 minutes. This makes it really easy to add the vegetables and herbs as it’s not submerged in water. Tesco’s microwave brown rice is £0.79 per packet, although it doesn’t suggest an option for stir-frying. Either way definitely go for brown or wholemeal rice as its healthier and more flavourful than white
- One loose red pepper (£0.60, Tesco)
- One loose onion (£0.16, Tesco)
- Start by marinating the chicken in the sauce, preferably the night or morning before the meal. Put the four pieces of chicken in a glass dish and pour about half of the jar of sauce over the chicken, making sure it is all fairly covered. After handling chicken remember to wash hands thoroughly – touching raw chicken can easily lead to food poisoning. Cover the dish with cling film and place in the fridge.
- When you are around 20 minutes from wanting to eat, you can start by preheating the oven to Gas Mark 6 and prepping the vegetables. Wash the pepper, remove its seedy core and chop it into small, rough squares. Take half of the onion and slice it into circles, which can then also be chopped into small, rough squares. I find that if you work fairly quickly with onions they don’t have much luck at making you cry, so there’s no need to be very neat with this process. Put the peppers and onions to one side.
- Take the ends off the green beans and wash them thoroughly, then put them aside. Prepare the saucepan by putting a small amount of water in it. When you put the steamer in the saucepan you should not be able to see any water, but make sure there is not too little otherwise you will ruin the pan (I talk from experience!)
- At this point heat up the frying pan on a low/medium heat along with a dash of olive oil for a couple of minutes. The chicken will take about 15 minutes to cook, or a bit less, if it is quite thin. When the pan is hot – carefully place your hand over it to feel the heat rising – you can add the chicken. Use tongs to gently place it into the pan (it may start spitting so be careful). Time 15 minutes, and then you can use it as a benchmark for everything else you are cooking.
- Keep an eye on the chicken (do not turn it yet otherwise it will not go nice and brown), and if there is a lot of spitting or smoke, reduce the heat. Wrap the four pieces of corn on the cob individually with foil and place them on a tray. When the timer says 10 minutes, place them in the oven.
- Next, steam the green beans, using a medium heat. They will take 10 minutes too so get them going as soon as the corn has gone into the oven.
- When there are 8 minutes left, turn the pieces of chicken over carefully, with tongs. They should be quite brown and chargrilled-looking on one side.
- At the 7 minute mark start heating the peppers, along with a small amount of olive oil, in another saucepan or wok. Make sure the pan is not too small otherwise you will not be able to fit the rice in too. After 2 minutes add the onion, and after a further minute add all the rice and mix together. Heat this through gently, adding a dash of the Nando’s sauce to give it some more flavour, and stir continuously. At this point you can add any other spices you may have, such as paprika.
- When the timer goes off it should all be done! Check that the chicken is golden brown on both sides, and then serve and enjoy.
Total cooking time: roughly 20 minutes
Preparation time: roughly 5 minutes
Although homemade Nando’s may not be the simplest meal to make, at around £2.76 per portion, you can afford to splash out on a bottle of Coke and some frozen yoghurt to give yourself the real Nando’s experience. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out, and it definitely tastes good!