Nando’s Spicy Rice
Nando's Spicy Rice
5 from 21 votes
Bring some sizzle to your home kitchen with this guide to creating the iconic Nando's spicy rice. Unleash your inner culinary artist, craft a beautiful meal that sings with flavour, and wow your dinner guests with this not-so-secret recipe!
Nandos Spicy Rice

Let me walk you through the art of creating Nando’s spicy rice. Originating from the vibrant country of South Africa, Nando’s rice is a treasured gem within the realm of global cuisine.  

Known for its fiery personality and heart-warming spices, this recipe has crossed oceans and continents to establish its name worldwide. 

Crafting Nando’s spicy rice is like a painter applying bold, vibrant colours to a canvas, transforming it into a captivating masterpiece. It’s a moderate challenge in the culinary domain, perfectly suited for those eager home chefs who enjoy coaxing a symphony of flavours out of simple, everyday ingredients. 

There are several variations of Nando’s rice. Some renditions call for an extra dash of chilli for a more intense kick, while others feature a generous dollop of honey to introduce an intriguing sweetness.  

Each version has its unique charm, and the choice lies in the cook’s hands – a true testament to the beauty of cooking. 

As the name suggests, Nando’s spicy rice is not for the faint-hearted. It’s a burst of spice, an explosion of flavour that coats the palette and takes your taste buds on a journey through South Africa’s rich culinary heritage.  

It’s a recipe that tells a story, a narrative of culture, tradition, and the universal love for good food. 

However, the real magic of this recipe lies in its adaptability. Whether it’s a family dinner on a weekday night or a grand feast to celebrate a special occasion, Nando’s spicy rice fits right in, stealing the show effortlessly. 

That being said, Nando’s rice is not just a meal. It’s an experience. It’s a celebration of culinary diversity, a tribute to the rich tapestry of global cuisine. It’s an adventure waiting to happen, right in your kitchen. 

So, roll up those sleeves, put on your chef’s hat, and get ready to embark on a culinary journey that promises to be nothing short of extraordinary. You’re about to create a Nando’s spicy rice that’s simply unforgettable! Let’s get started, shall we? 

What Ingredients to Use & Why: 

Before we dive into the heart of this spicy symphony, let’s take a moment to meet the players – the ingredients. These humble elements are the cornerstones of any great dish, and my Nando’s spicy rice is no exception.  

Each ingredient brings its unique characteristic, elevating the dish from ordinary to extraordinary. So, let’s delve into these magical elements that make our recipe truly spectacular. 

Rice Basmati: Basmati rice is known for its fragrant aroma and the long, slender grains that stand out in any dish. It brings a subtle flavour, a delicate balance that perfectly complements the spiciness of our chicken.  

An alternative to Basmati could be Jasmine rice. Although it is stickier, it still possesses an aromatic scent that fits well with the recipe. 

Olive Oil: Olive oil, a staple in Mediterranean cuisine, brings a certain silkiness to the dish, enhancing the flavours and making them pop. Its health benefits are a cherry on top! Canola oil or sunflower oil can be viable alternatives, though they won’t bring the same depth of flavour. 

Salt: The backbone of any savoury recipe, salt pulls all the flavours together. It intensifies the taste of every ingredient, making our Nando’s spicy rice the taste sensation it is. 

Onion, Green Chillies, Bell Pepper, and Garlic: This vegetable quartet brings a flavour explosion to the dish. They add depth and complexity that enhance the overall taste profile.  

Onions can be substituted with shallots for a milder taste, while serrano peppers can be an alternative for green chillies if you prefer more heat. 

Lemon Juice: A splash of lemon juice adds a tangy freshness that counterbalances the spice. It brightens up the overall flavour profile, making every bite a delight. Lime juice can also work as a good substitute. 

Spices: These three spices create the fiery personality of Nando’s spicy rice. Their intense flavours build the spicy profile that the dish is famous for. If you can’t find cayenne pepper, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes could do the trick. 

Tomatoes: Canned tomatoes bring a sweet, tart element that melds wonderfully with the spices. It adds a juiciness that makes the dish even more enjoyable. If canned tomatoes are unavailable, fresh tomatoes can be used as well. 

Coriander: A final sprinkling of coriander brings a note of freshness to this spicy dish, adding a delightful contrast. If coriander isn’t your thing, parsley can offer a similar touch of green. 

Having examined our line-up of ingredients and understanding the role each one plays, you might be feeling a little more excited, a little more confident.  

You’re not just throwing ingredients together; you’re weaving a tapestry of flavours, a culinary masterpiece that will have your guests coming back for seconds.  

With each spice, each vegetable, and each grain of rice, you’re putting together a symphony, a piece of art that is sure to delight everyone lucky enough to have a taste. So let’s get cooking! You’re about to create magic in the kitchen with the fantastic Nando’s spicy rice recipe. 

Unlocking the Secret to Nando’s Spicy Rice 

Creating a delicious plate of Nando’s spicy rice at home has always been my ultimate culinary ambition. This dish, with its robust flavours, has always been a top favourite.  

Yet, the thought of preparing it from scratch used to be a daunting idea. However, after embarking on a food exploration journey, I found the secret to crafting this delectable dish. 

The key to unlocking Nando’s spicy rice’s essence lies in the spices. Paprika, Cayenne pepper, and turmeric all play a unique role in providing that trademark kick. It’s all about finding the right balance of flavours. Paprika, with its smoky undertones, offers a depth of flavour.  

On the other hand, Cayenne pepper brings that necessary heat, while turmeric imparts a mild, earthy taste. Combined, they set the stage for a gastronomic performance that’ll leave everyone wanting an encore. 

Understanding the role of each ingredient also goes a long way. Olive oil, for instance, provides a smooth and velvety base for all the spices to dance upon.  

Onions, bell peppers, and garlic create a vibrant medley of tastes, bringing depth and complexity to the dish. A squeeze of lemon juice offers a refreshing note, cutting through the spice and lending a fresh and vibrant edge. 

Rice, the humble accompaniment, also shines in its own way. Choosing the right type of rice can make all the difference. Basmati rice, with its long grains and distinct aroma, pairs perfectly with the bold flavours of Nando’s spicy rice. 

Now, creating the dish is like conducting an orchestra. Each ingredient has its part to play, and when combined in perfect harmony, it results in a melody that’s delightful to the senses. 

Demystifying the Spice Levels in Nando’s Spicy Rice 

The lure of Nando’s spicy rice is something I find hard to resist. The intense heat, the burst of flavours – it’s nothing short of a culinary joyride.  

However, understanding and adjusting the spice levels to suit different palates can be a fine art. Let me share with you my personal experiences in tackling this aspect. 

The heat in our beloved Nando’s spicy rice predominantly comes from the use of cayenne pepper and green chillies. Cayenne pepper is a powerful spice, packing a solid punch.  

It lends an enticing heat to the dish that lingers on the palate. Green chillies, on the other hand, provide a more immediate, sharp kick. They don’t just add heat; they impart a distinct flavour, adding to the dish’s overall complexity. 

So, how does one adjust the spice level without compromising on taste? The answer lies in moderation and substitution. If the heat seems too intense, try reducing the amount of cayenne pepper. Instead of cutting it out completely, use it sparingly to maintain the characteristic spicy edge. 

Another approach involves tinkering with the kind of chillies used. For instance, swapping green chillies for jalapenos can bring down the heat level while keeping the flavour profile intact. 

Lastly, the addition of a cooling element like yoghurt or a squeeze of fresh lemon can help mellow the heat. They not only help tame the spiciness but also introduce an extra layer of flavour. 

Mastering the art of spice in Nando’s spicy rice doesn’t happen overnight. It requires a bit of patience and a whole lot of experimentation. But with time, you’ll find your perfect balance, creating a dish that’s just right for you and your loved ones. 

Exploring the Role of Tomatoes in Nando’s Spicy Rice 

When I cook Nando’s spicy rice, one ingredient I’ve found to be a game-changer is tomatoes. It might seem like an unassuming component amid the array of spices, but it does so much more than just adding body to the dish. 

Canned tomatoes, as used in our recipe, bring a sweet and tangy contrast to the spice-laden dish. They add a robust, umami-packed richness that lends depth and complexity to the flavour profile of the Nando’s spicy rice.  

The juice from the canned tomatoes also melds with the spices and creates a sauce that clings to the chicken, infusing it with flavour. 

But what if canned tomatoes aren’t on hand? Well, fret not. Fresh tomatoes, when used right, can still bring that essential sweetness and tanginess to the dish. Just make sure to cook them down until they’re soft and pulpy.  

This concentrates their flavour and brings out their natural sweetness, which balances the heat and spices perfectly. 

An interesting alternative could be sun-dried tomatoes. While not traditionally used, sun-dried tomatoes could add an intense, concentrated tomato flavour and a touch of sweetness that could beautifully contrast with the fiery spices. 

Tomatoes might be a supporting actor in the ensemble cast of ingredients that make up Nando’s spicy rice, but their role is vital. They provide balance, add complexity, and elevate the dish to the next level of deliciousness. And isn’t that what good cooking is all about? 

Mastering the Cooking Process of Nando’s Spicy Rice 

Cooking Nando’s spicy rice is more than just following a recipe; it’s an experience, a journey of sorts, where each step you take brings you closer to creating a culinary masterpiece.  

For me, this process is a symphony, where each ingredient plays its role to perfection, and the cooking techniques serve as the conductor. 

The first act begins with heating the olive oil, setting the stage for the key players – the onions, bell peppers, and green chilli. Sautéing them not only intensifies their flavours but also lays a flavourful foundation for the dish. Adding garlic next enhances this base with its potent, aromatic charm. 

Next comes the dance of spices. Salt, turmeric, cayenne, and paprika are added and cooked just enough to awaken their unique flavours but not too much to risk burning them. The moment you add these spices, a captivating aroma fills the air, signalling the transition into the second act. 

The canned tomatoes join in next, their acidity cutting through the intensity of the spices. As they cook, they soften and meld with the other ingredients, their tangy sweetness contrasting beautifully with the fiery heat. 

The final act is the introduction of the soaked and drained Basmati rice. Adding it at this stage ensures each grain is coated with the spiced tomato mixture, infusing it with flavours as it cooks. The dish is then finished with a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of coriander, adding a final flourish of freshness. 

This process is an art form that I’ve learned to master over time, and the result is a plate of Nando’s spicy rice that rivals any restaurant offering. 

The Essential Role of Lemon Juice in Nando’s Spicy Rice 

When I prepare Nando’s spicy rice, I’m always struck by the crucial role of one particular ingredient – lemon juice. A seemingly small addition, its influence on the dish is mighty. The brightness it brings is akin to the finishing touch on a masterpiece, tying all the flavours together. 

Lemon juice in this dish serves as a counterbalance to the heat from the cayenne and green chilli, cutting through their intensity. This citrusy burst brings a freshness that prevents the dish from becoming overly spicy. It’s a refreshing note amidst the orchestra of warm spices and savoury flavours. 

This splash of lemon juice doesn’t just add flavour; it brings a crucial element of balance. As a good chef, I understand that the best dishes achieve a harmony of flavours.  

The tanginess of the lemon juice keeps the heat and rich flavours of Nando’s spicy rice in check, ensuring every bite is a pleasure rather than an onslaught of spice. 

But what happens if you find yourself out of lemons? Fear not. Other citrus fruits like limes can step into the role quite comfortably. Lime juice can provide a similar tangy freshness, saving the day and your dish. 

As I see it, lemon juice is the unsung hero in Nando’s spicy rice. While it may not command the attention that the spices do, its contribution is just as significant. And knowing how and when to use it is key to mastering this beloved dish. 

Discovering the World of Spice through Nando’s Spicy Rice 

Cooking Nando’s spicy rice is like embarking on a spice exploration. As a chef, I love how it lets me play with a colourful palette of spices – each one bringing its own unique character to the dish. 

Take turmeric, for instance. Not only does it impart a vibrant yellow hue to the rice, but it also adds an earthy, slightly bitter undertone. This distinct flavour profile helps balance out the heat from the cayenne and green chilli, and its anti-inflammatory properties are a nice bonus. 

Then we have cayenne pepper and paprika. These spices bring the heat, their fiery notes creating that deliciously spicy kick that’s the signature of Nando’s spicy rice. While they might pack a punch, their heat doesn’t overshadow the other flavours but rather works in harmony with them. 

Finally, a sprinkling of salt brings everything together. It helps to amplify all the other flavours, acting as a conductor that ensures every spice sings in perfect harmony. This balance, I believe, is the secret to a successful Nando’s spicy rice dish. 

The Role of Olive Oil in Nando’s Spicy Rice 

When I make Nando’s spicy rice, one ingredient that stands out to me is olive oil. Although it may seem trivial, the role it plays in this recipe is anything but. 

Olive oil is the unsung hero that sets the stage for everything else. It’s the medium that allows the onions, bell peppers, and green chilli to release their flavours, creating a flavourful base for the dish.  

Its richness also helps to mellow out the heat from the spices, ensuring they add flavour without overpowering the dish. 

But what if you’re out of olive oil? Don’t worry, there are alternatives. Canola or sunflower oil can work in a pinch, but keep in mind that they won’t impart the same flavour depth as olive oil.  

For a flavour boost, consider coconut oil. Its slightly sweet, nutty profile could add an interesting twist to your Nando’s spicy rice. 

To me, olive oil in this recipe is like the canvas for a painting. It may not be the star of the show, but without it, the other ingredients couldn’t shine. This is why choosing a good quality olive oil is important – it lays the foundation for a delicious Nando’s spicy rice. 

Unveiling the Magic of Bell Peppers in Nando’s Spicy Rice 

While preparing Nando’s spicy rice, one ingredient that I always find intriguing is the bell pepper. While seemingly mundane, the bell pepper performs a magic act in this dish that’s worthy of recognition. 

Bell peppers add a beautiful crunch and sweetness that counterbalances the heat and spices. Their slightly tangy flavour profile complements the other ingredients, rounding off the dish in a way that wouldn’t be possible without them.  

The colour they bring to the table, literally and figuratively, makes the dish visually appealing. 

But what if you can’t find bell peppers or you simply don’t like them? In that case, I’d recommend substitutes like zucchini or baby corn. They won’t offer the same sweetness, but they’ll provide a similar crunch and vibrancy. 

Ultimately, it’s the little things like the bell pepper that make Nando’s spicy rice such a hit for me. They may not take centre stage, but their contribution to the final dish is undeniable. 

Savouring the Subtle Flavours of Basmati Rice in Nando’s Spicy Rice 

The star of any Nando’s spicy rice is, of course, the chicken, but let’s not forget about the supporting actor that plays a critical role – Basmati rice. Its unique properties make it the perfect choice for this dish. 

When I cook with Basmati, I marvel at how its long, slender grains stay separate after cooking. This characteristic is crucial for Nando’s spicy rice as it allows the rice to soak up all the flavours while maintaining its distinct texture.  

The subtly fragrant aroma of Basmati also adds an additional layer of complexity to the dish. 

If you can’t find Basmati, Jasmine rice makes a good alternative. It also has a unique fragrance and can absorb the flavours well. However, its grains are slightly shorter and stickier, so the texture of the dish will be different. 

So, while the chicken and spices might get all the attention in Nando’s spicy rice, I find myself savouring the quiet yet essential role that Basmati rice plays. It’s a reminder that every ingredient, no matter how humble, has its part in creating a culinary masterpiece. 

Check Out These Other Recipes 

As someone who loves the zesty and flavourful kick of Nandos spicy rice, I’m confident you’ll also fall head over heels for these mouth-watering dishes. First, imagine a steamy plate of Chicken Biryani.  

It’s not just rice – it’s an aromatic infusion of tender chicken pieces, spices, and fragrant Basmati rice that tell a story of traditional Indian cuisine in every bite. 

Next, let me guide you towards Vegetable Fried Rice. Trust me on this, the humble vegetables bring a wholesome twist to the spicy rice. The perfectly sautéed veggies mixed with seasoned rice create a balance that would make your taste buds dance. 

Then, let’s embark on a journey to the Middle East with Jeweled Rice. I’ve tried it, and let me tell you, it’s like a gem-studded plate of rice shimmering with saffron threads, adorned with barberries, pistachios, and almonds. Each spoonful is a bite of festive luxury. 

Oh, and I can’t miss the Jeera Rice. Simple, yet fragrant, it perfectly pairs with a robust curry. The strong aroma of cumin seeds in fluffy basmati rice is truly a celebration of minimalistic cooking. 

Lastly, you can’t resist the comforting Rice Pudding. It’s a creamy bowl of happiness where rice gently simmers in sweet, vanilla-infused milk until it reaches a dessert-like perfection. 

Do try these delectable dishes, and when you do, I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on them. Remember, the comment section is always open for your feedback! 

Nandos Spicy Rice

Nando’s Spicy Rice

by Nabeela Kauser
Bring some sizzle to your home kitchen with this guide to creating the iconic Nando's spicy rice. Wow, your dinner guests with this not-so-secret recipe! 
5 from 21 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine South African
Servings 4
Calories 280 kcal


  • 200 g Rice Basmati
  • 450 ml Water
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 Onions
  • 1 Green Chillies
  • 1 Bell Pepper
  • 2 Garlic
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • ½ tsp Paprika
  • ½ tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • ½ tsp Turmeric Powder Haldi
  • 200 g Tomatoes Canned
  • Coriander


  • Add the olive oil into the pan and heat on medium heat until hot
  • Add the finely diced onion and cook for 2-3 minutes
  • Add the finely chopped bell pepper and green chilli then cook for a further 4-5 minutes
  • Add the finely chopped garlic cloves and cook for 1-2 minutes on medium heat
  • Add the salt, turmeric powder, cayenne powder and paprika then cook the spices for 1-2 minutes
  • Add the canned tomatoes then cook for another 4-5 minutes on medium heat
  • Drain the soaked rice and the cold water then stir before cooking for 8-10 minutes on high heat until the water is almost dried up
  • Add the lemon juice and finely chopped coriander then cover and cook on low heat for 8-10 minutes
  • Serve immediately alongside some peri chicken and enjoy!



Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.


Calories: 280kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 5gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 633mgPotassium: 307mgFibre: 3gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 1540IUVitamin C: 52mgCalcium: 36mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Cooking, Food, Fried Rice, Nandos, Nandos Rice, Nandos Spicy Rice, Recipe, Spicy, Spicy Rice
Tried this recipe?Mention @CookwithNabeela or tag #CookwithNabeela!

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1 year ago

5 stars
I am having guests in two weeks and apart from myself one couple is South African so want to try and impress them with a Nandos recipe (will make your PeriPeri chicken) x I am so impressed with your detailed videos – they are very clear and well explained. I wondered if, for the peri peri chicken, could I instead use chicken pieces and would I need to alter the cooking time? There will be 8 hungry adults so may need to cook another protein dish. Do you have any ideas please. Thank you so much Nabeela. Delish ??


Hi, I’m Nabeela and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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