Monday, December 3, 2007

Chicken Xacuti (Chicken in a Goan style gravy)

When I made Poee one chilly day on a whim, I looked for a curry to go with it and found Chicken Xacuti in Madhur Jaffrey’s book Flavours of India where I had also found the recipe for Poee.
Chicken Xacuti (Sha-cu-tee) (see this post on Jugalbandi on how the name came about and also for a great vegetarian version) has recipes which seem to change from family to family, but the mainstay of this recipe are the roasted spices and coconut which go into the masala.

The local shack versions tend to taste a bit vinegary but if made well and with tamarind instead of vinegar, this dish is redolent with the aroma of mixed spices.

I prefer the Chicken Xacuti to the Prawn Xacuti, except at someone's home, where there would be no risk of having rubbery overcooked prawns! The chicken is typically cut into small pieces for this dish, which suits us fine.
While the original recipe (which you can find here) calls for a short marination time of 20 minutes, I prefer marinating chicken for at least an hour since it makes the meat much softer and more receptive to absorbing the spices with which it is cooked. The chicken cooks in about 15-20 minutes since it has been marinated and I turn the pan off before the gravy reduces too much.

I also added tamarind to this dish, which is not in the Jaffrey's recipe and adjusted the spices a bit.

As we mopped up the last of the spicy gravy with the poee I had baked earlier, the coming winter didn’t seem so bad after all.

Chicken Xacuti


Chicken (skinned and cleaned) – 500 gms cut into 8 pieces
Onions – 1 sliced
Oil – 2 tbsp
Curry leaves – 8-10
Salt – to taste
Lime juice – 1 tbsp
Chilli powder – ½ tsp
Salt – ½ tsp

Dried Red chillies – 5-6
Coriander seeds – 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
Fennel seeds – ½ tsp
Cloves – ½ tsp
Peppercorns – ½ tsp
Cinnamon – 1 ‘piece
Cardamom (elaichi)– 2-3
Star anise – 1 (I omitted this)
Nutmeg – pinch
Mace - a tiny piece
Poppy seeds (Khus khus) – 1 tbsp
Grated coconut – ½ cup
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Onion – 1 small sliced
Ginger – 1 “piece peeled and chopped
Garlic – 4-5 cloves chopped


1. Make slashes in the chicken pieces, mix with the marinade ingredients and marinate for at least an hour.
2. Heat a kadai and roast the grated coconut and turmeric powder till the coconut changes colour slightly. Remove and keep aside.To the same kadai, add the red chillies, coriander seeds, clove, cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, nutmeg, mace, cumin, aniseed and pepper and roast on a low flame for 3-4 minutes.
3. Add the poppy seeds and continue roasting till the spices change colour (another 2-3 minutes). Remove and let cool.
4. Heat a tsp of oil in the same kadal and fry the onions, ginger and garlic till brown. Remove and let cool.
5. Grind the roasted spices to a powder and then add the roasted coconut and the fried onions to the spice powder and grind again with upto 1 cup water till it makes a fine masala paste.
6. Heat the remaining oil in the kadai and add the marinated chicken pieces, stir fry on high for 5 minutes till it is lightly browned on all sides, add the masala paste and fry on medium flame for 5 minutes more.
7. Add 300 ml water, salt to taste and bring to a boil. Reduce flame, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes till the chicken is tender. Add the tamarind pulp midway, after about 10 minutes and continue simmering.
8.Add curry leaves and take off the flame. Serve hot with poee or steamed rice.


A said...

I was lucky to taste this....and it was yummylicious!! Ofcourse the Poee was just right with it.

Miri said...

((Hugs)).....think you should become my official blog food taster ;)

Happy cook said...

Looks delicious. And the sauce looks so good too

Rina said...

Wow!! you have almost all spices into this chicken recipe. Msut have tasted gr8 with Poee. Will love to try. Bookmarked.

vimmi said...

We make it the same way, since my hubby is from goa. Tastes amazing. Ur pics look great

bee said...

prawn xacuti rules. rubbery or otherwise. :D

you made poee? YOU MADE POEE? haven't eaten than in forever. gotta make some.

xacuti, poee and bibinca is bliss.

Pooja V said...

Hey Miri..i am drooling over the combo of poLi n xacuti. ******droool***********

Miri said...

Ah Bee - Bibinca - mmmmmm and kulkuls....Christmas time was when I used to have a feast at friends' houses!
Poee - the recipe just leapt out of the pages and called to me! ;) Thats how much I needed to make it and eat it!

Miri said...

Thanks Pooja, Happy cook and Vimmi!

Rina, it was a good combo, try it!