Mom’s Chicken Xacuti
An authentic Goan coconut based chicken curry cooked with just the right blend of spices making it finger licking delicious!
Chicken Xacuti is one dish that can be found in almost all celebrations in Goa … from birthday parties to anniversary celebrations, anyone attending the event is usually almost sure of this one dish. Pair it with some freshly baked Goan pao aka bread rolls and some ‘Goan Saalaad’, which is nothing but tomato-onion salad, and you have one completely fulfilling scrumptious meal. Some families eat this as their sunday special meal on a regular basis.
This recipe is from my mom. When I was relocating to US, I had asked her to give me this recipe. As I have mentioned before, my mom simply eyeballs all the ingredients but for this recipe, she tried to come up with some measurements just for me so that I could replicate her version whenever the craving hit.
To me, an authentic Chicken Xacuti is defined by its color and of course, the flavor. The color should be brown. This dish is made with a whole bunch of spices and coconut. The coconut almost balances out the spice level. The curry is very flavorful. The amount of heat can be altered based on personal preference. Try not to overpower the spices too much. The curry tastes good with bone in chicken, preferably whole chicken but if you like to stay lean, you can use bone-in chicken breasts as well.
This curry can be eaten with bread rolls, roti or rice. It tastes better as it ages. Try making it in the afternoon and have it for dinner, if you can wait that much! If you end up eating all the chicken but have a ton of gravy remaining, do not fret. Boil some eggs and dump them in the gravy and you have some delicious egg curry right there. If you don’t like boiled eggs, make an omelette, top it with some leftover gravy, serve it with bread and you have some ‘Rassa omelette’ to enjoy.
- Whole Chicken or 4 Bone-in Chicken breasts , cut into pieces
- Onion - 2 medium, chopped
- Salt - to taste
- Oil - 4 tablespoons
- Turmeric powder - 1 tspn
- Yogurt - 4 tablespoons
- Salt - 1.5 tspns
- Coriander leaves - 1 bunch
- Garlic - 3 big cloves
- Ginger - 1 inch piece
- Green Chillies - 2
- Coriander seeds - 4 tblspn
- Red Chillies - 6
- Cumin Seeds - 1 tspn
- PepperCorn - 1 tspn
- Cinnamon - 1.5 inch
- Star Anise - 3 petals (Remove the seed if any)
- Poppy Seeds - 1 tspn
- Nutmeg - a very tiny piece
- Mace - 1/2 tspn
- Cloves - 7
- Fennel Seeds - 1 tspn
- Onion - 1 medium, chopped
- Shredded coconut, fresh or previously frozen & thawed - 2 cups
- Turmeric powder - 1 tspn
- Tamarind - a slightly bigger than a marble sized ball
- 1) Grind the ingredients in 'For Green Masala' to a fine paste. Do not add any water while grinding. If you think it needs some liquid at all, add about half the amount of yogurt from the 'For the marinade'. Put this paste in a large mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients from 'For the marinade'. Add the Chicken and let it marinate on the counter top for about 30 minutes or in the refrigerator for not more than 24 hours, if marinating the chicken ahead of time.
- 2) In a pan, heat a tiny bit of oil and roast the spices in 'For Masala' over medium heat. Do not let the spices burn or turn black. This is important for the authentic color. The spices will release aroma as they get roasted. Transfer the roasted spices to a blender.
- 3) For this step, refer to the 'For Coconut gravy' section. In the pan from step 2 above, heat some more oil over medium heat and fry the onion. Once the onion turns light golden, add the coconut and saute it until the coconut gets toasted, about 7-8 minutes. Add turmeric powder and mix. Switch off the flame. Let it cool. Transfer it to the blender containing spices and grind it with tamarind. Add enough water. Try to grind it very fine. That is where the taste comes from.
- 4) Heat oil in a large pot such as a stock pot. Add the 2 chopped onions and let cook till onion color changes to light golden. Turn the flame to high, add chicken along with the marinade and stir fry it for about 6 minutes to seal in the moisture. You will notice that the color of the chicken turns white on the edges.Turn the flame to medium. Add a tspn of salt and a little ground masala paste, about like 3 tablespoons. Cover with lid and let cook till the chicken is tender.Do not add any amount of water while cooking the chicken.This is important. Let the chicken cook in its own liquid.
- 5) Add the remaining spice paste. Add enough water so as to get the desired consistency. It should neither be runny nor extremely thick. Check the seasoning. Once the curry starts boiling, cover with lid and switch off the flame. Let rest for 10 minutes or more.
- Serves: About 10 hungry people or more with some leftovers