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Galinha Cafreal – With love from Goa

Updated: Jun 22, 2020

Goa, a small state on the western coast of India, is famous for its beautiful beaches, lovely people, fantastic food, and a vibrant culture. Goan cuisine is not limited to the amazing seafood that we usually associate this coastal Indian state to. It has much more to offer than that. Sorportel, Xaccuti, Bebinca – there are a lot of delicacies which are a must try if you want to get a grasp of the Goan cuisine. Chicken Cafreal is one such speciality without which a festive feast is not complete.

It is believed that this famous recipe was brought down by Portuguese in Goa which was a Portuguese Colony. It is actually originated in Mozambique (Africa) from a dish called Galinha. Afterwards, the Portuguese who had colonised Africa adopted it and made some changes in it before it reached to beautiful Goa. In this dish, the chicken is marinated with lots of coriander leaves (Cilantro), ginger , garlic, lime juice along with dry spices giving it green colour and kept for a long time . May be overnight. With a succulent deep-green colour from the coriander (cilantro) leaves, and intricately balanced aroma from various spices, this unique preparation will win over your taste buds.

The following is a typical recipe of Chicken Cafreal:


1 tbsp cumin seeds

1 tbsp coriander seeds

1 stick of cinnamon 2″

7-8 peppercorns

7-8 cloves

1 tsp turmeric

13-14 garlic pods if small, 5-8 if large

2 inch piece of Ginger

5-6 small green chillies

1 bunch coriander leaves

1/2 lime juice

2-3 tbsp oil

Water for grinding

5 chicken drumsticks or 250gm of chicken breast pieces

How to get cooking

1. Start cleaning and make deep cuts into the chicken so the marinade goes in deep.

2. Now in mixer grinder jar put the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cinnamon, peppercorn, cloves, poppy seeds, garlic pods, ginger and small green chillies and coriander in the amounts mentioned above.

3. Add little water at a time depending on the texture of the masala you want. Use only small amounts of water, to avoid the masala getting too watery. The masala should be consistent.

4. Marinade the chicken in this masala with turmeric and salt as per your taste and marinade it well for at least 2 -3 hours.

5. Now in 2-3 tbsp of oil gently roast the chicken pieces on medium heat and keep turning them every 5-6 minutes. Cover & cook for 15 minutes.

6. Turn and cook for a further 5 minutes. Dry out the water and oil by keeping the pan open for 2 minutes.

For those of you who drooled over your phones or laptops at the sight of Cafreal, but do not want to cook it at home order from us in one of our curry night’s menu.

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