Xacuti is a unique recipe from Goa. It is made with sesame seeds, poppy seeds and a lot of Kashmiri chillies. It is derived from the Portuguese dish Chacuti de Galinha.
It is hot, fiery and delicious.
It’s a dish that is cooked with typical Goan flavours in their traditional style. The technique is to roast the spices then grind them with cooked onion, creating a fragrant, hot and pungent paste. This paste is then used to marinate the chicken and is the base for the sauce. It has a beautiful bright red colour which comes from the Kashmiri chillies that are a key ingredient of this dish.
The recipe for recheado masala uses the same technique.
The instructions are explicit about not overcooking the coconut or the onions. If you allow them to colour too much it will impact the bright presentation of this dish.
The recipe, as presented, uses chicken thighs. You could well substitute chicken drumsticks, Marylands, or even a whole chicken cut into pieces. If you do this you will need to adjust the cooking times.
chicken xacuti recipe
- 800 g chicken thigh fillets - cut into 5cm pieces
- 1 tsp salt
for the masala paste
for the spice mix
- 20 black peppercorns
- 8 cloves
- 8 dried Kashmiri chillies - crumbled
- 5 green cardamom pods - broken open
- 3 tbsp white poppy seeds
- 2 tbsp coriander seeds
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- 1 stick cassia - crumbled
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 star anise - broken into pieces
- ½ tsp black mustard seeds
- ½ tsp fennel seeds
- ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
- ¼ nutmeg - coarsely grated
- 1 cup coriander leaves
- Sprinkle the chicken with one teaspoon of salt, and set aside.
- Add the dry spices to a frypan on medium heat and lightly toast them until they become aromatic. Remove the spices from the pan and set them aside to cool.
- Add the grated coconut to the frypan and toast for five minutes, tossing often until coconut turns light golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Heat one tablespoon of oil in the pan on medium heat, add one coarsely chopped onion and fry for five minutes, or until onion is cooked, but not coloured. Set cooked onions aside.
- Place the fried onions, grated coconut, and toasted spices into a blender. Add the ginger, garlic, green chillies, and turmeric. Add half a cup of cold water, and blend to a fine, smooth paste.
- Cover the chicken with half of the paste, mix well, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Cover the remaining paste and refrigerate.
- Heat a large pan on low heat, add the three tablespoons of vegetable oil, and once hot, add the finely chopped onion and fry for five minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade, shaking off any excess. Reserve the marinade. Add the chicken to the onions and fry, stirring continuously for five minutes, until the chicken is well coloured.
- Reduce the heat to low, add the remaining paste and the reserved marinade. Mix well and cook for five minutes. You will need to stir often to prevent it from sticking to the pan. Once any raw smell has gone from the masala paste add one cup of water and bring it back up to simmer, stirring continuously.
- Add the tamarind water. Mix well, and simmer, uncovered, for another five minutes, until the chicken is cooked, and the sauce has thickened.
- Remove from heat, place into a serving dish, and garnish with the coriander leaves. Serve.
- Do not allow the onions to brown too much when frying as it will spoil the final deep red colour.
- The recipe calls for chicken thighs, but drumsticks could be used. Be careful to ensure they are properly cooked – you may need to lengthen the cooking times. Whatever chicken you use do not overcook it.