Chicken Cafreal is tender chicken cooked in tangy and spicy thick green coloured gravy made of coriander leaves, spices, lime juice, vinegar, chilies, garlic and ginger. It belongs to the Goan Portuguese cuisine and is very popular in the Indian state named Goa. Find step by step pictures to make this Goan green chicken starter served in restaurants.
Chicken cafreal is a delicious dish made in the small Indian state of Goa. This dish belongs to the Goan Portuguese cuisine. Cafreal dish originated in Mozambique from the Portuguese colonies in the African continent from a well-known dish called Galinha (Frango) Piri-piri. The Portuguese later made some changes in the ingredients of the dish before it reached Goa.
Authentic chicken cafreal recipe is very popular among the tourists visiting the small coastal state – Goa. This dish is usually served as a bar food and can be found in almost every Goan restaurant. I heard that Florentine chicken cafreal is the best chicken cafreal in Goa. This green chicken dish is usually served as a starter in Goan restaurants.
Goan chicken cafreal can be made in dry form or as a semi-gravy unlike chicken xacuti. This green chicken is usually served with potato wedges, onion slices and lemon.
Chicken cafreal masala is green in colour and is made with coriander leaves, spices, lime juice, vinegar, chilies, garlic and ginger. Some people even add rum to it. This is an optional ingredient. The same Goan green masala can be used to cook other vegetables like potato, mushrooms, paneer (cottage cheese), fish and much more.
Readymade chicken cafreal masala is available in Goan shops. This can also be used to cook this Goan chicken cafreal curry. Tourists carry this masala to cook this delicious dish back home just like recheado masala. Goans travelling out of state also carry it to quickly eat chicken cafreal from Goa. Now with my recipe, you will know how easy it is to cook this Goan delicacy at home.
Let us see the ingredients to make green masala (spicy paste) used for cooking this cafreal recipe Goan style:
- Coriander leaves: Coriander leaves or cilantro is the most important ingredient used to make this chicken recipe. This single ingredient imparts the green colour to this dish.
- Garlic and ginger: These two ingredients go hand in hand in any chicken recipe including the Goan chicken recipes.
- Green chilies: Green chilies provides the right amount of spice needed to this recipe. IInstead of green chillies, Goan red chilies (tarvoti mirsang) can also be used.
- Spices: Spices like cloves, black peppercorns, cumin seeds, cinnamon and bay leaves are used in this recipe.
- Souring agent: In any Goan recipe, souring agent like vinegar, lime juice or tamarind is added. This ingredient along with other spices makes the Goan dish complete.
- Chicken: Use chicken thighs to make this recipe. You can make it with chicken drumsticks or chicken breast too.
- Potato: Potato is also added while making this authentic cafreal recipe. Usually potato wedges are deep fried or boiled or baked and added in the cafreal gravy.
How to prepare chicken cafreal masala:
Grind together coriander leaves, green chilies, ginger, garlic, spices like cloves, cumin seeds, bayleaf, cinnamon, black peppercorns, vinegar, lime juice and little salt. This thick paste is the cafreal masala.
How to make Portuguese chicken cafreal recipe?
- We begin by marinating the chicken pieces with spices like turmeric powder, red chili powder, ginger garlic paste, lime juice and salt. Keep this in freezer overnight or at least for 6 to 8 hours in fridge.
- After marination, next step is to prepare the cafreal masala. For this we grind together all the ingredients like coriander leaves, green chilies, ginger, garlic, spices like cloves, cumin seeds, bayleaf, cinnamon, black peppercorns, vinegar, lime juice and little salt. As we have already applied salt to chicken, we add less salt at this stage. We can always adjust salt at a later stage. We can add little water too if needed but the paste should be thick, and all ingredients should be properly ground.
- Next we apply this green paste to the marinated chicken and keep it aside for 30 minutes.
- Next step is to shallow fry the chicken pieces. For this we spread little oil on the pan and shallow fry only the chicken pieces without adding the green masala paste.
- After the chicken is shallow fried, add the reserved green paste in the pan, cover the lid and simmer on low flame by stirring occasionally. Again taste and add little salt if needed.
- Chicken cafreal recipe is ready when the chicken is well cooked, and the green masala turns into dry gravy.
Serving cafreal chicken in Goan style:
Serve chicken cafreal with potato wedges. Add some deep fried potato wedges to the semi-gravy in the pan and coat it with gravy. Serve rest of the potato wedges as a side.
- Tava / frying pan
- Mixer grinder
- Mixing bowl
- 500 grams chicken cut into pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 tablespoon red chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoon ginger garlic paste made in mortar pestle by crushing 7 garlic pods and ¼ inch ginger
- 2 tablespoon lime juice
For cafreal masala:
- 1 bunch fresh coriander leaves including stem (comes to around 2 cups chopped coriander leaves)
- 10 garlic pods
- ½ inch ginger
- 2 green chilies
- 5 cloves
- 8 black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1- inch cinnamon
- 1 bayleaf
- ¼ cup vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon lime juice
- To taste salt
- 4 tablespoon oil
For making potato wedges:
- 1 medium sized potato cut into wedges with skin on
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup oil
- In a mixing bowl, add chicken and all the ingredients mentioned under marination section. Apply all the ingredients to chicken pieces and marinate for minimum 4 hours in refrigerator.
Let us deep fry the potato wedges:
- Apply salt to potato wedges and boil them till they are little soft. Drain the water and pat dry.
- Heat 1 cup oil in a kadai/ wok and deep fry the slightly boiled potato wedges and keep them aside.
Make green cafreal masala:
- Grind together all the ingredients mentioned under cafreal masala section – coriander leaves, green chillies, ginger, garlic, spices like cloves, cumin seeds, bayleaf, cinnamon, black peppercorns, vinegar, lime juice and little salt. (add very little salt as we have applied salt to chicken too, you can adjust salt later too)
- Apply the green masala paste to the marinated chicken and keep aside for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, heat a pan and add 4 tablespoon oil. Separate only the chicken pieces from the green cafreal masala and place only the chicken pieces on the frying pan. Keep aside the extra green masala applied to chicken for making the sauce.
- Shallow fry the chicken on both sides for around 8 - 10 minutes on medium flame.
- Add the green masala to shallow fried chicken in the frying pan. Cover the pan and cook till chicken is done by stirring occasionally. The masala paste should look like dry gravy and should change colour.
- Check the taste and add little salt if needed.
- Add the deep-fried potato wedges to chicken and coat them in the dry gravy.
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