Chicken Cafreal

5 from 3 votes

Goan Chicken Cafreal is a spicy, tangy, and rustic preparation where chicken is marinated in a green-colored Cafreal paste before cooking. It is a traditional Goan recipe made in almost all Goan homes.

You may like some more Goan recipes: Shrimp Vindaloo, Goan Fish Curry, Goan Prawn Curry, and Chicken Vindaloo.

Chicken cafreal served on a plate.
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About Chicken Cafreal

Chicken Cafreal is a Portuguese-influenced dish in Goan cuisine. It is popular in local restaurants and homes.

To make Chicken Cafreal, bone-in chicken thighs are marinated with a spicy, tangy, and slightly sweet green-colored Cafreal masala paste and then cooked in a pan until well done.

Some Goan homes also add a splash of dark rum at the end of cooking, which adds a beautiful flavor.

Serve Chicken Cafreal as an appetizer or a side dish with any Goan-style meal. It can also be served with a refreshing salad or soup for a healthy meal.

Ingredients

For The Cafreal Paste

To make Cafreal paste, you will need a few basic pantry ingredients such as cumin seeds, white poppy seeds, whole black peppercorns (kali mirch), cinnamon (dalchini), cloves (laung), cilantro (fresh coriander leaves), fresh mint leaves, fresh ginger, green chilies, lime juice, and tamarind paste.

You can replace the lime juice with white vinegar to make a chicken Cafreal recipe.

Adjust the green chilies as per your taste.

Others

You will also need chicken, turmeric powder, salt, sugar, and oil.

For the best flavor, use skinless bone-in chicken thighs with legs. You can also use a whole chicken cut into 1-½-inch pieces.

If you do not like bone-in chicken, use boneless chicken cut into bite-sized pieces.

How To Make Chicken Cafreal

Make The Cafreal Paste

Add the following ingredients to a blender along with 2 tablespoon water.

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoon white poppy seeds
  • ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1-inch piece of cinnamon stick
  • 5-6 cloves
  • 1 cup cilantro (packed, rinsed)
  • ¼ cup mint (packed, rinsed)
  • 2 teaspoon chopped ginger
  • 4-5 cloves of peeled garlic
  • 4-5 medium-spicy green chilies
  • 2 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 tablespoon tamarind pulp
Cafreal paste ingredients added to a blender.

Blend to make a smooth paste. Scrape the sides of the blender a few times.

Ready Cafreal paste.

Marinate The Chicken

Wash 4 bone-in chicken legs with thighs and pat them dry using paper towels.

Make gashes using a sharp knife in the chicken.

Add the chicken pieces to a large bowl.

Gashes made in chicken thighs.

Add the following ingredients to the bowl and mix well.

  • Cafreal paste
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated white sugar
Cafreal paste, turmeric powder, salt and sugar added to a bowl.

Cover the bowl with a cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or 12 hours for the best result).

Marinated chicken.

Fry The Chicken

Heat 4 tablespoon oil in a large wide pan over medium-high heat.

Once the oil is hot, arrange the chicken pieces in the pan in a single layer.

Chicken frying in a pan.

Fry undisturbed for 5 minutes on each side.

Flipped chicken.

Add the leftover marinade to the pan along with ¼ cup of water and mix gently.

Leftover marinade and water added to the pan.

Reduce the heat to low.

Cover the pan and cook for 10-12 minutes.

Pan covered with a lid.

Remove the lid and increase the heat to high.

Cook until the chicken pieces are dry. Flip a few times while cooking. Serve hot.

Ready chicken cafreal.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make chicken Cafreal curry?

Yes, you can. Add some water to the ready chicken and bring the curry to a boil.

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Goan Chicken Cafreal is a spicy, tangy, and rustic preparation where chicken is marinated in a green-colored Cafreal paste before cooking. It is a traditional Goan recipe made in almost all Goan homes.
5 from 3 votes

Chicken Cafreal Recipe

Goan Chicken Cafreal is a spicy, tangy, and rustic preparation where chicken is marinated in a green-colored Cafreal paste before cooking. It is a very traditional Goan recipe made in almost all Goan homes.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Marination Time: 2 hours
Total: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients 

For The Cafreal Paste

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons white poppy seeds (khus khus) (skip if not available)
  • ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns (kali mirch)
  • 1 inch piece of cinnamon stick (dalchini)
  • 5-6 cloves (laung)
  • 1 cup cilantro (fresh coriander leaves) (packed, rinsed)
  • ¼ cup mint leaves (packed, rinsed)
  • 2 teaspoons peeled and chopped ginger
  • 4-5 peeled garlic cloves
  • 4-5 green chilies (medium spicy)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind pulp

To Marinate The Chicken

  • 4 bone-in skinless whole chicken legs with thighs
  • Cafreal paste
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons oil (for frying)
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Instructions 

Make The Cafreal Paste

  • Add all the ingredients to a blender along with 2 tablespoons of water.
  • Blend to make a smooth paste. Scrape the sides of the blender a few times.

Marinate The Chicken

  • Wash chicken pieces and pat them dry using paper towels.
  • Make gashes using a sharp knife in the chicken.
  • Add the chicken pieces to a large bowl.
  • Add the Cafreal paste, turmeric powder, salt, and sugar to the bowl and mix well.
  • Cover the bowl with a cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or 12 hours for the best result).

Fry The Chicken

  • Heat oil in a large wide pan over medium-high heat.
  • Once the oil is hot, arrange the chicken pieces in the pan in a single layer.
  • Fry undisturbed for 5 minutes on each side.
  • Add the leftover marinade to the pan along with ¼ cup of water and mix gently.
  • Reduce the heat to low.
  • Cover the pan and cook for 10-12 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and increase the heat to high.
  • Cook until the chicken pieces are dry. Flip a few times while cooking. Serve hot.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

Some Goan homes also add a splash of dark rum at the end of cooking, which adds a beautiful flavor of its own.
You can replace the lime juice with white vinegar, too.
Adjust the green chilies as per your taste.
Use bone-in chicken thighs with legs for the best flavor. You can also use a whole chicken cut into 1-½ inch pieces.
If you dislike bone-in chicken, use boneless chicken cut into bite-sized pieces.

Nutrition

Calories: 53kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 0.1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2g, Sodium: 739mg, Potassium: 136mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 405IU, Vitamin C: 10mg, Calcium: 48mg, Iron: 1mg
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