Goan Chicken Cafreal

A lip smackingly delicious, mouth watering recipe of chicken cooked in a coriander-spice mix. A personal favorite!

Goan Chicken Cafreal
Goan Chicken Cafreal

This dish is very very dear to me. My dad would bring this as a take-out with some freshly baked local Goan pav aka bread on special occasions or when we just wanted a change from the norm or simply to give mom a day off from cooking. And yes, every time that we went out for dinner, this was one dish that was a staple. No matter whether you order Chicken fried rice or mughlai or some shrimp curry or basically anything really, this dish had to be there! Its a family favorite dish. I love this dish but it has more to it. It reminds me of the family dinner with mom, dad and my beloved sister! 

This dish is something that the Portuguese left behind in Goa. And I am glad that they did 🙂 So you don’t normally find it in any other part of India. I agree that there are exceptions! But even in Goa, not all places make it that good. Its like when you know that one particular restaurant makes it well, you kind of stick to it.

Unfortunately, here in New York, you find all other Goan dishes or at least they are called ‘Goan’ on the menu such as fish curry (cooked with cream and tomatoes 😉 ) and vindaloo to name a few but I haven’t seen Chicken Cafreal. The only time I tried ordering Goan food outside here was like 11 years back. That was the first and last time. We never order Goan food outside any more. 

This recipe is super delicious and quite easy really. Marinate Chicken, sear it and then cook. Done! It is served with potato rounds or wedges typically. So basically, this is a meat and potato dish. But it tastes great with some fresh baked bread or some simple rice. The kids love this dish.

This dish is traditionally made with Rum but I am a little apprehensive adding it since the kids eat it with us. It nevertheless tastes very delicious. However, if you prefer the traditional method, go ahead and use it while grinding the masala paste. Do not add lemon juice and water if adding Rum.

Goan Chicken Cafreal
  1. Chicken - 4 lbs ( Slightly less than 2 kgs)
  2. Potatoes - 3 medium, cut into rounds or wedges
  3. Tomato Ketchup - 1 tblspn
  4. Oil - As needed
  5. Water - As needed
  6. Salt - to taste
  7. Pepper - to taste
To Grind
  1. Coriander leaves - 1 super generous bunch
  2. Garlic Cloves - 6-8
  3. Ginger root - 1 inch
  4. Green Chillies - 6 or to taste
  5. Cinnamon stick - 1 inch
  6. Coriander seeds - 2 tspn
  7. Cumin seeds - 1 tspn
  8. Fennel Seeds - 1/2 tspn
  9. Turmeric powder - 3/4th tspn
  10. Cloves - 12
  11. Peppercorn - 1 tspn
  12. Sugar - 3 tspn
  13. Lemon Juice - 2 tblspn
  14. Water - 2 tblspn
  15. Salt - 1.5 tspn
  1. 1) Grind the ingredients listed under 'To Grind' to a fine paste.
  2. 2) In a bowl, leave about a tablespoon of the paste.This is for step 4. If prepaing chicken on the next day, store this in the refrigerator.
  3. 3) Clean chicken and make some gashes on it. Marinate the chicken with the paste for atleast an hour or overnight.
  4. 4) Apply the paste from step 2 to the potatoes adding salt and pepper as needed.
  5. 5) In a wide thick bottom pan, heat oil on medium high heat. Spread the potatoes in a single layer. Let cook for a couple of minutes until the bottom side appears golden. Flip and cook on the other side until cooked. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
  6. 6) In the same pan, adding more oil if needed, spread the chicken pieces in a single layer. Do not add the marinade at this stage but store it for later use. Do not overcrowd the pan so as to prevent steaming.
  7. 7) Drizzle some oil on the top side. Let cook uncovered until the bottom appears fried/brown. Flip and cook uncovered on the other side until this side appears fried.
  8. 8) At this stage, add the remaining marinade, adding a little water if needed. Do not make it liquidy. The end dish should be thick and on the drier side.Cook covered until the chicken is tender and done, about 15-20 minutes.
  9. 9) Add the ketchup and mix well. Cook uncovered for 2-3 more minutes.
  10. 10) Serve hot with prepared potato rounds.
  1. Serves: 8
  1. 1) Traditionally, rum is added to the marinade. If adding it, use it while grinding the masala paste leaving out lemon juice and water.
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