Grilled Squid Piri-piri


Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Eagle Cookbook

By David Eyre

Published 2009

  • About

Piri-piri is a fierce Portuguese marinade and basting sauce, made originally from the small hot chillies of the same name, grown in Portugal’s former African colonies. Grilled chicken is the more usual vehicle for piri-piri, but squid is the thing; though I would also recommend fresh tiger prawns and, if the occasion should arise, roast suckling pig. The squid should really be barbecued rather than grilled conventionally.


  • 2 red peppers
  • 2 kg/ lb fresh, not frozen, squid – this will provide just over 1kg/2¼lb cleaned squid
  • 6 fresh red chillies (or more), seeded
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 200 ml/7 fl oz olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons wine vinegar


Grill the red peppers all over until the skin has blackened, then leave until cool enough to handle. Peel and seed them, then set aside.

Clean the squid. They are easier to clean than they look. Pull the head and tentacles away from the body, bringing the innards with them. Remove the plastic-like quill from inside the body, then wash the body – cut it open along its length to facilitate cleaning if necessary. Cut the tentacles off the head in one piece, just in front of the eyes, and trim the longer tentacles. Discard the head. Remove the ‘beak’ from the centre of the tentacles and discard it.

To make the marinade, purée the red peppers, chillies, garlic, bay and coriander in a blender or food processor. Stir in enough of the oil to make a loose paste. Marinate the squid in half of this paste for at least 4 hours. Mix the remaining paste with the salt, remaining oil and the vinegar to make the basting sauce, then taste to check that it is hot enough.

Grill the squid on a steady fire, basting it every minute or two (use a new paintbrush with natural bristles). Serve with a tomato salad and rice.