Peri-peri prawns with chilli butter

Posted on 25 March 2020

This is the classic if you’re on the coast, served with fresh crusty bread and an ice-cold beer or glass of vinho. Adding the butter gives it a richness and extra zing (you can use less chilli if you don’t like it too hot). Of course, the prawns can also be grilled over hot coals.

Image credit: Samantha Pinto

Serves 6


3 bird’s-eye chillies
2 cloves garlic, grated
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Zest and juice of 1 orange
Salt and pepper
2t smoked paprika
4T olive oil, plus extra for grilling
1t honey
36 king prawns, deveined
2 lemons, cut into wedges

For the chilli butter:
½ cup soft butter
2 red chillies, finely chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
2T chopped parsley


1. To make the peri-peri, crush chillies, garlic, citrus zest and juice, salt and pepper into a paste using a mortar and pestle.
2. Whisk the paste with paprika, olive oil and honey.
3. Place prawns in a large bowl, pour over the peri-peri sauce and carefully toss until they’re all coated.
4. Leave to marinate in the fridge for 20 minutes.
5. Mix the ingredients for the chilli butter and season. Gently simmer in a saucepan until golden-brown and caramelised.
6. Heat a griddle pan until smoking hot. Drizzle olive oil over the prawns and place them in rows on the pan.
7. Grill for 4 minutes a side, basting with leftover peri-peri sauce, until they’re slightly charred.


Prawns on a platter, drizzled with chilli butter, and lemon wedges on the side.


Strictly speaking, peri-peri is made with African bird’s-eye chillies (Capsicum frutescens), not Thai/Asian bird’s-eye (Capsicum annuum).

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