chicken xacuti

This dish, shakuti, is a unique preparation 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. If so, I would increase the time before you add the potatoes to make sure they don’t overcook.

This dish is best served with plain rice or just plain roti. You might also need something cooling, so a simple raita might be worthwhile.

the recipe

preparation:45 mins
cook:45 mins
marinate:12 hrs
total:1 hr 30 mins
servings:4 servings
calories:1026 kcal


  • 800 g chicken thigh fillets - cut into 5cm pieces
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 potatoes - peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 red onion - coarsely chopped
  • 150 g coconut - freshly grated
  • 100 g coconut - cut into 1cm pieces

for the dry spice mix

for the masala

to cook


  • Wash the chicken, sprinkle with salt, and set aside.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan on medium heat, add 1 chopped onion, and fry for five minutes, or until onion is cooked, but not coloured. Set cooked onions aside, and wipe oil from the pan.
  • Add the grated coconut to the pan, and toast for five minutes, stirring often, until coconut turns lightly golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside.
  • Add the coconut pieces to the pan, and toast for five minutes, turning the pieces every minute, or until it has light golden colouring. Remove from pan and set aside to finish the dish.
  • Add the dry spices listed above and lightly toast until they become aromatic. Remove from pan and set aside to cool.
  • 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.

to cook

  • Place the cubed potatoes in a bowl of cold water with two teaspoons of salt. Set aside and allow to soak.
  • Heat a large pan on a medium heat, add 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil, and once hot, add the finely chopped onion and fry for 5 minutes, or until onion is just starting to show colour.
  • Add the marinated chicken and fry, stirring continuously for five minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to low, add the remaining paste, mix well, and cook for five minutes. You will need to stir often to prevent it sticking to the pan. Once any raw smell has gone from the masala paste add one cup of water and bring back up to simmer, stirring continuously.
  • Drain the potatoes, rinse with cold water and add to the pan. Mix well, cover pan, and allow to simmer for five minutes, or until potatoes are softened.
  • Add the pureed tomatoes, tamarind water and jaggery. Mix well, and simmer uncovered for another five minutes, until potato and chicken are cooked, and the sauce has thickened.
  • Remove from heat, place into a serving dish, and garnish with the green chilli, toasted coconut pieces and coriander leaves. Serve.


  • Do not allow the onions to  colour 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.
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