Recipe: Chicken Xacuti (Sagoti)
Goan cuisine is one of my favourites. It has very interesting flavours and makes use of some great seafood and produce from the region. Also, it has influence from Maharashtrian, Konkani (thanks to the geographical proximity) and Portuguese cuisines (thanks to the centuries of Portuguese colonial rule).
One of my personal favourites amongst Goan delicacies is a Xacuti, a spicy, coconut based gravy; which can be made with chicken, fish or vegetables. I had previously only eaten this dish twice in Goa on the famous shacks of Calangute and absolutely loved it. I craved for it back here in Pune but didn’t know how to cook.
I then found a recipe on one of the online Foodie groups that I am a member of, but the recipe made use of a readymade spice paste that I didn’t find in Pune. Then came savior, Amba. Amba, a former labmate and a very passionate foodie herself is basically from Goa and she and her mom make some finger-licking Goan delicacies. So this is a recipe that I took from Amba and it turned out pretty yum.
Chicken and the Marinate:
1kg chicken on the bone, cut into 1 ½ x 1 ½ inch pieces,
Juice of 1 lemon
12-14 cloves of garlic,
1 inch piece of ginger
3 green chillies
Handful of coriander leaves (chopped)
For the spice mix (dry masala):
5-6 black peppercorns,
6 dried red chillies (depends on how hot they are and how spicy you want your curry)
1 inch piece of cinnamon,
1 star anise,
1 black cardamom pod (badi elaichi)
2tsp coriander seeds.
For the gravy:
2 big onions sliced and 1 medium onion finely chopped,
1 cup of fresh grated coconut,
1 tsp poppy seeds (khaskhas or poshto),
2 tomatoes, finely chopped,
1 cup of thick coconut milk,
Salt to taste,
Coriander leaves, finely chopped for garnish.
- Clean and wash the chicken pieces, drain and pat dry on a kitchen towel.
- Pound the garlic, ginger and green chilies in a mortar and pestle to make a course paste.
- Add some salt, lime juice and green chili-ginger-garlic paste to the chicken and give it a nice mix with your hands.
- Add the chopped coriander to the chicken and toss well.
- Allow to marinate for at least 3-4 hours in a fridge.
- Dry roasts all the spices listed above in a pan until they start releasing their aromas. Be careful not to roast too much or it gives a bitter taste.
- Remove from flame and allow the spices to cool.
- Grind them to make a fine powder and keep it aside for use later.
- Heat a pan on high flame and then heat a few drops of refined oil in the pan.
- Add the sliced onions in the pan and roast them until they caramelize to a nice brown color.
- Add the grated coconut and roast again until brown.
- Add 1 tsp poppy seeds and roast again until the poppy seeds are slightly brown
- Keep aside and allow to cool. Once this mixture is cooled, grind the mixture and make a fine paste. Use this later as a gravy base.
- Heat about 1tbsp refined oil in a pot with a thick base.
- Add the finely chopped onion to it and fry until it is golden.
- Add the finely chopped tomatoes and fry until the tomatoes soften.
- Now add a pinch of turmeric and mix well.
- Now add the marinated chicken and stir fry till it is half cooked.
- Then add the dry roasted spice mix (masala) and stir to coat evenly.
- Add the onion-coconut gravy base and mix well. Add the coconut milk, which will cut the heat from the chillies. Adjust the consistency to medium thick.
- Bring it to a boil and allow to cook until the chicken is just off the bone (do not overcook). Add salt to taste (remember there was salt in the marinade, so add accordingly).
- Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot with steamed rice or rotis.