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My best-selling dish – Spicy malagueta chicken and red pepper skewer by David Ponte

My best-selling dish – Spicy malagueta chicken and red pepper skewer by David Ponte

WHAT IS IT? Main course
PRICE £4.95 for half a skewer, £9.65 for a whole skewer
GP 70%
PERCENTAGE OF ORDERS 24% of sales from core menu

Our best-selling dish, aptly named “the people’s choice” on the menu, is our spicy malagueta chicken skewer, which is available all year round.

When we first started Cabana, we always knew we wanted to have a dish using the malagueta chilli, a fiery Brazilian chilli similar to the Portuguese piri-piri. The heat of the chilli works perfectly in a marinade for grilled chicken, so this was our starting point for our chicken skewer.

We went through months of tasting to find just the right balance of sticky sweetness and malagueta spice for that perfect barbecue taste, and we believe we’ve ended up with something that, for us, sums up the best of Brazilian barbecue.

The red peppers are a recent addition and add just the right amount of sweetness and crunch to complement the chicken.

David Ponte, co-founder, Cabana


(Serves six)
1kg (roughly 12) chicken thighs – we use boneless chicken thighs but the marinade works equally well with breast, joints or a half-chicken
3 large red peppers, cut into large chunks
6 metal or wood skewers

For the malagueta marinade
6 red chillies, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic
4tbs tomato purée
1tsp dried oregano
2tsp red chilli flakes
4tbs red wine vinegar
2tsp sweet paprika
3tsp salt
50ml groundnut oil

For the honey baste
2tbs honey
1tbs cider vinegar
1tsp Dijon mustard


Split the chillies and place in a pan with the oil and garlic. Roast in a 180°C oven for 10 minutes. Remove and blend with all the other ingredients.

For the honey baste, combine all ingredients and mix well.

Trim excess fat from the chicken and cover well with the marinade. Place on a metal or wood skewer, interspersed with the peppers, sprinkle with sea salt and grill until the chicken is cooked.

Baste with the honey mustard glaze and cook until caramelised.

With this dish I would go for a wine in a classic Germanic Riesling style – something with high acidity and residual sugar. So maybe a Mosel Riesling from a producer like JJ Prum or Thanisch, or a New Zealand style, such as Felton Road’s excellent Riesling.
Ronan Sayburn is head of wines at the Dorchester Collection UK


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