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This dish was actually invented in the 1940s in Macau, a former Portuguese colony. No one knows for sure why it was named African Chicken, since the chef who originally created it passed away about 30 years later, but it is a possible nod to Portugal's Moorish history. The marinade is very similar to that for Frango Grehaldo (Portuguese grilled chicken), but the idea of using coconut milk for the basting sauce probably came from Goa, another former Portuguese colony.
To prepare the chicken, remove the vertebrate by cutting along either side with kitchen shears. Break the breast bone if necessary so the chicken can lay flat. Mix all ingredients for the marinade together. Rub the chicken with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Let the chicken sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before ready to broil. Mix together the ingredients of the basting sauce. Start the oven broiler and baste the skin with the coconut sauce. Place chicken skin side up on a roasting rack about 8" under the broiler. Baste frequently and broil for an hour. When ready, the chicken should be blackened on top and moist underneath.
I use finger hot peppers, but jalapenos would work just fine. I personally like red hot peppers, but those are hard to find.
This recipe was provided by Mabel Menard from Chicago.