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Bolivian Chilli Chicken (Pollo Piccante)

Bolivian chilli chicken called Pollo Piccante is all about the simple combination of chicken and a deep chilli heat kick.

Some people suggest Pollo Piccante could use garlic, but often garlic is hard to come by and the locals we met in Padilla didn´t think it tasted right with garlic or “Ajo”.

Like most Bolivian dishes the delicious and warming chilli chicken is mostly served with a massive bowl of rice, so to ensure that the chicken pot still has lots of juice is crucial!


1 chicken cut into 6 pieces
2 tblsps red wine vinegar
1 cup chicken stock (or water)
1 tblsp red chilli powder
1 green chilli
2 red chillis
1 medium red onion
2 medium carrots
Chilli Sauce Ingredients:
4 red chillis
2 green chillis
3 tomatoes with the seeds and skin removed
2 pinch salt
2 tsp vinegar


Chop the carrots and onion into small pieces. Finely chop the chillies together. Fry the chicken in oil for 5 minutes until it starts to turn brown, add the onion and carrot. Add the chicken stock, vinegar, chillies, chili powder and cook for 1 hr with the lid on for the last 30 minutes the keep in most of the moisture in. Add water as needed to maintain a small amount of thick sauce.

Bolivian Pollo Piccante with crushed potato and salad

Bolivian Pollo Piccante with crushed potato and salad

For the sauce finely chop 1/2 green chili and 1/2 of one of the red chillies until they are almost a paste. Pre-heat oven to 220C, then when hot, place tomatoes in the oven on a baking tray for 4 minutes watching carefully for when the skin splits. When the tomato skins begin to separate from the flesh, take them out of the oven and leave them to cool down until you can peel the skin off.

Put the remaining chillies and tomatoes into a blender with the salt and vinegar and blend until smooth. Mix the chopped chillies into the sauce and leave to rest for 3 hours for the flavours to merge.

Serve with cooked white rice and chilli sauce on the side to warm yourself in those high altitude bitterly cold winters!