If lockdown’s had you missing your cheeky Nando’s, we’ve got something that will satiate any peri-peri cravings.
Mindful Chef, the food delivery company that brings healthy, easy-to-follow, crowd-pleasing meals straight to your door has teamed up with the iconic flame-grilled chicken restaurant to create two limited edition, authentic dishes. And guess what, it legit tastes like the real deal.
The partnership came about after the restaurant’s Bring the Heat Home series – in which a number of famous faces took to the grills to cook-up some of their Nando’s favourites for an Instagram Live cook-along, from singer Joy Crookes to actor, rapper and comedian Michael Dapaah
The box arrived last week and after more than a decade of familiarising myself with the Portuguese-inspired restaurant, I was pretty excited.
First up, the Nando’s Butterfly Chicken, Chips and Fino Slaw. Coming in at 555 calories per person (a lot less than actually dining at Nando’s thanks to the lack of refillable soft drinks and soft serve ice cream), Mindful Chef have stayed close to the roots in bringing customers healthy, balanced dishes. And balanced it definitely was.
Some might turn their noses up at Nando’s – it’s a fast food chain after all – but this plate was bursting with colour, helped me get well on my way to a five-a-day target thanks to the summer slaw (red cabbage, radish, carrots, spring onions, coriander, parsley and a dollop of coconut yoghurt) and the chips, albeit not the healthiest part of the menu, were simple blanched and then oven roasted. You could even swap the potato for sweet potato to make it a little healthier.
Difficulty-wise, it was a doddle. The instructions say 45 minutes and I definitely took no more than 50 – coming from someone who can make a Jamie Oliver 15-Minute Meal take an hour is quite an achievement.
Difficulty-wise, it was a doddle. The instructions say 45 minutes and I definitely took no more than 50 – coming from someone who can make a Jamie Oliver 15-Minute Meal take an hour is quite an achievement. The slaw was so good I actually re-bought the ingredients and made it at the weekend for a BBQ with friends.
The second Nando’s delight in the box was the famous ¼ Chicken Legs, Macho Peas and Sweet Mash with Corn on the Cob. Again, super easy and the chicken really did taste like Nando’s. Everyone who’s well acquainted with Nando’s is a fan of their Macho Peas so it was nice to recreate at home – healthy, easy and definitely something to revisit.
The only downside is that Nando’s haven’t lent Mindful Chef their secret PERi-PERi sauce recipe – you actually just get mini bottles of the medium heat sauce in the boxes, which is essentially just pouring rather than cooking. It does, however, mean you get that authentic Nando’s taste and you can rebuy them in the supermarket if you fancy making the dishes again.
Heat-wise, both dishes were a solid Medium on the Nando’s flame scale (or Boris’ Five Alert Plan, which he appeared to borrow from the brand’s famous chilli icon indicator earlier in lockdown), so if you’re more of a Lemon and Herb kind of person, forget about it. If your tastebuds hanker for Hot or Extra Hot, consider adding some fresh chilli or chilli flakes to your marinade.
If you want to try the iconic dishes for yourself, you better be quick as this week is the last time (for now) that they will be available in the Mindful Chef boxes. And with the heatwave coming, there’s never been a better time to cook them up as both chicken recipes would be perfect for flame grilling, proper Nando’-style on the BBQ.
It was way back in 2015 when I first tried Mindful Chef when it was still a relatively unknown brand and to this day I still have some of those first recipes up my sleeve that I bang out for midweek meals and entertaining. I’ll be adding the two new Nando’s recipes to that repertoire too.