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Chicken Curry with Coconut – Goan Xacutti

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Goan Xacutti

This is a chicken curry with coconut which so many people love! It’s definitely one to try.


Chicken xacutti is one of Goa’s most famous curries. There, it is usually cooked with skinned chicken on the bone. You can do this too for even better flavour but it is also messier to eat.

This chicken curry with coconut is known for being spicy and for it subtle flavour of nutmeg and star anise. There is so much delicious flavour in this coconut and chicken curry it is good on its own. However, I would like to suggest a simple side dish of plain white rice. Perfect!

If you love chicken curry with coconut, then xacutti definitely needs to be one on your list to try.

Make this coconut chicken curry your own.

Xacutti curries are known for being spicy but the spice level is completely in your hands. You could add more/or fewer chillies to taste. Also, I have used quite a lot of coconut in this recipe which is the way I like it. 

You could also change the main ingredient from chicken to something else you like. It’s great with lamb, tofu, paneer… If it sounds good to you, do it.  

Making Goan Xacutti

Roast the coconut flakes separately to the spices as it browns quickly.

Making xacutti

Roast the spices and allow to cool, Then blend to a paste with the coconut and a little water or stock.

Making Goan xacutti

Temper the mustard seeds and curry leave in the hot oil.

Making Goan xacutti

Add the onions and fry until soft and translucent.

If you like a good xacutti, here are a few more chicken curry with coconut recipes to try:

Sri Lankan Black Pepper Chicken Curry
Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk
Simple Chicken Curry (no coconut in this one but you can add coconut milk to taste.)
Chicken Drumstick Curry

Making goan xacutti

Stir the xacutti paste into the onions and then add the stock, tamarind and chicken.

Goan xacutti

Simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce consistency is to your liking.

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This authentic Goan chicken xacutti is one to try!

Yield: 4

Goan Chicken Xacutti

Goan Chicken Xacutti
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 500g (1 lbs) diced chicken thighs
  • 2 tbsp coconut or rapeseed oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 10 fresh or frozen curry leaves
  • 2 brown onions – finely chopped
  • 2 green bird’s eye chillies – finely chopped
  • 500ml (2 cups) chicken stock or water
  • 1 ½ tbsp. tamarind concentrate
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 20g (1/4 cup) chopped coriander
  • Salt to taste
  • For the xacutti masala
  • 6 dried Kashmiri chillies – shopped and seeds removed for a milder curry
  • 75g (1 cup) dried coconut flakes
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp ajwain seeds
  • 7 cloves
  • 1 tsp (roughly 35) black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp black poppy seeds
  • 1 x 5cm (2 inch) cinnamon stick
  • 4 star anise
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 8 cloves garlic – finely chopped
  • 5cm (2 inches) fresh ginger – finely chopped


  1. Start by making the xaccuti masala. In a dry frying pan, roast the Kashmiri chillies, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, ajwain seeds, cloves, peppercorns, fennel seeds, poppy seeds, cinnamon stick and star anise over medium high heat until warm to the touch and fragrant. Allow to cool. .Now roast the coconut flakes until lightly browned. Set aside.
  2. Blend the chillies, coconut flakes and the rest of the ingredients with a little water to make a paste.
  3. Pour this paste over the chicken in a large bowl and mix well to coat. You can start cooking the curry now but if you would like to marinate the chicken for a couple hours or overnight, it will be even better.
  4. When ready to cook, heat the oil over high heat. When bubbles begin to form at the bottom of the pan, add the mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, lower the temperature to medium high and stir in the curry leaves and let them flavour the oil for about 30 seconds. You’ll know when your oil is perfectly flavoured because it will smell so nice. Add the chopped onions and fry until soft, lightly browned and translucent. Stir in the chillies and then the marinated chicken. Stir well to coat the chicken in the onion mixture. Add the stock or water and simmer for about 15 minutes until the chicken is tender and cooked through.
  5. Stir in the tamarind concentrate and nutmeg and then taste it. For a sourer flavour, add more tamarind. Nutmeg can taste quite strong to some but add more if you like.
  6. To serve, stir in the chopped coriander and add salt to taste.

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 I hope you enjoy this chicken curry with coconut – xacutti recipe as much as my family and I do. If you do try it, please don’t be a stranger. I’d love to hear from you. 


Margaret Forman

Friday 2nd of September 2022

I had a goan chicken curry in soho yesterday which inspired me to make my own. Your recipe is terrific , but why was the restaurant one a rich brown and mine was a mucky grey colour? How do they get the reddy brown colour?

Dan Toombs

Sunday 4th of September 2022

Don't worry too much about the colour, as long as it tasted good. It depends a lot on what brand of ingredients you use and even could be down to the photography. Thanks Dan


Monday 10th of December 2018

Great tasting recipe. I used bone in chicken thighs. With the quantities given there is enough gravy to use about 750 grams of chicken. Next I want to try making this with eggs or fish instead of chicken.

Dan Toombs

Wednesday 12th of December 2018

Thanks Mark! I usually make it with chicken on the bone too. When I was in Goa, I tried a shark xacutti which was amazing. Thinking about trying it here with swordfish as shark is a bit difficult to come by.

Thanks, Dan

Martin Bartlett

Thursday 6th of December 2018

I really want to try this recipe Dan, but looking at the ingredients of the Xacutti paste it says to use 1tsp of black peppercorns (approx 35), this seems a lot, so why not a teaspoon of ground black pepper? I think there will be a lot less than 35 peppercorns in a teaspoon but then it depends on how large they are! Looking forward to the new Low Fat book and the Vegetarian one too next year.

Dan Toombs

Thursday 13th of December 2018

Hi Martin

Thank you very much. Definitely tone the recipe down to your tastes. If you think less pepper will be better, do that. You can always add more to taste in the end.

Thanks, Dan


Saturday 6th of October 2018

the flavours of the spices , are fantastic , used creamed coconut did i do right couldnt get flakes.another great recipe to do again, keep it up dan

Dan Toombs

Thursday 18th of October 2018

Thank you very much Dave! Creamed coconut works fine!


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