Thursday, August 19, 2010

Chicken Cafreal


That is exactly what I said when I first tried and tested this recipe. Trust me...dont miss this one! You could make it in a pan or even grill it..whatever suits you best. I personally prefer the pan, as I thought my grilled pieces turned out slightly dry. Maybe with some basting along the way, it could have ended up juicy and succulent too.

It is said that the preparation of Cafreal originated from the Portuguese colonies in the African continent. It was introduced into the Goan cuisine by the Portuguese. It has an appetizing green color to it, which makes this dish visually appealing. The tastes are a combination of spicy...with a hint of sweet. Its just heavenly.

I first had this preparation when I was a kid at "Florentine" in Saligao, Goa (real close to Calungute beach). Inspite of being in Goa, this dish is a bigger hit in this restaurant that any of their fish preparation. Amazing isint it?! If you do end up visiting this, make sure you also try their Xacutis and Vindaloos. But believe it or not...nothing beats thier Cafreal!

I refreshed my memories of this dish when I visited "The Mynt" in San Jose. Just amazing Chicken Cafreal. They served it with some rice though....which I am not a big fan of!

Lets get to making some now...

Level: Easy
Serves: 4 people

750 gms chicken
2.5 cups coriander leaves, loosely packed
6-8 green chillies, roughly chopped
2 inch ginger, roughly chopped
15 garlic flakes, roughly chopped
1 tblsp poppy seeds (khus khus)
1 inch cinnamon stick
6-8 peppercorns
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
5-6 cloves
1.5 tsp ginger garlic paste
1.5 tsp honey
Juice of half a lemon
Salt to taste

Step 1 - Clean and wipe dry the chicken slices. Rub them well with the ginger garlic paste and salt and keep aside.

Step 2 - In a grinder, grind together the coriander leaves, green chillies, ginger, garlic, poppy seeds, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, cumin seeds, turmeric powder and cloves. Use very little water to grind this together into a paste.

Step 3 - Apply this paste from step 2 to the chicken from step 1. Rub well together. Keep covered in the refrigerator for 1 - 2 hrs. You could keep it overnight too, but I did not personally notice any significant difference in taste.

Step 4 - Heat some oil in a pan. When hot, add in the chicken along with all the spice paste. Let them cook covered for some time on medium high heat. Once the chicken is cooked, cook uncovered till the gravy gets dry and clings onto the chicken. Make sure it does not burn at this stage. Once all done, pour some honey and the lemon juice. Mix well and serve hot.

Serve this with some mashed potatoes or fries or with some steamed vegetables. Its just perfect!

This recipe is inspired from I have made some personal changes to this recipe, but if you would like to know the original source...Here it is!

I have not specifically mentioned the shape and size of the chicken pieces as anything would do. You could use this on tiny pieces or drumsticks ...bone in or bone out. Works well anyway. So use what you prefer.

The original recipe calls for some tamarind pulp instead of lemon juice. But I did not want to use the store bought tamarind pulp here, so I replaced it with some lemon juice.


  1. Looks yummy.
    One reader request, can you share Mumbai Street style paav bhaji. I'm planning to make it as a surprise.
    - Kaushik

  2. Hey Kaushik,

    I dont quite make great paav bhaji..have eaten better...! sorry!

  3. I made the recipe when I found it on two days ago... It didn't turn out a brighter shade of green, and it was rather bitter..... I salvaged it by serving it with delightful Garlic rice that tasted pretty yum together. But any thoughts on why it might have been bitter or if the color played a role? After cooking it was still green and not as brown as before and I'm calling it chutney chicken instead!

  4. Bitter? thats odd!
    Excessive use of poppy seeds is the only reason I see that results in a bitter taste to a dish. No other ingredient can make this dish bitter.

    On another note, would love to get a hold on ur Garlic Rice..:)