Chicken xacuti is one of the most popular curries from Goa.
This chicken xacuti recipe is from my cookbook ‘The Curry Guy Light’. In that book, I used less oil because a lot of oil just isn’t needed to make a delicious chicken xacuti. Here you will find the original recipe I learned in southern Goa and it’s so good!
What is chicken xacuti?
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 time around I used boneless chicken thighs.
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 a chicken xacuti curry and you might be surprised at just how complex those flavours.
If you love chicken curry with subtle sour, savoury and spicy flavours, then xacuti definitely needs to be one on your list to try.
Make this coconut chicken curry your own.
As mentioned above, chicken xacuti can be quite spicy, especially in Goa. The curry is usually spicy hot because of the use of both dried whole red chillies and chilli powder to taste. You might have seen them very red in colour. This is because of the amount of chilli powder used.
You can of course tone down the spice. Cut back on the chilli powder or if you prefer and red curry that isn’t too spicy, try adding paprika instead.
For that matter, you can adjust the curry by using more or less of all of the different spices.
Do you have to use chicken in a xacuti curry?
No! Although you will find that chicken xacuti is by far the most popular, you can use the protein of your choice. Try making the sauce and adding lamb, tofu, paneer, prawns… whatever you like. The cooking times will differ so watch your xacuti carefully if doing this.
Some spices are difficult to find. Do you have to add them all?
No. Add what you can. For authenticity, I recommend following this recipe exactly, using all the spices. That said, it will still be delicious if you need to leave a few out.
What do you serve with a chicken xacuti?
If you’d like to make naans, why not try one of these? Instant naans, Peshwari naans, stove top naans, keema naans, garlic naans, tandoor naans (if you have a tandoor oven), or if you’re cooking outdoors, karahi naans. Or you could opt for some delicious homemade chapatis.
Want to start your chicken xacuti meal off right? How about fried shop bought poppadoms or if you’re feeling ambitious, make your own poppadoms from scratch and serve them with coriander chutney, red onion chutney, and/or tamarind chutney.
Chicken xacuti in step by step photos.
All of the grinding of the spices, coconut and spice blend can be done a couple of days ahead of time.
You can also marinate the chicken a day or so before cooking.
If you would really like to get a head start, you can prepare the whole curry a couple of days before serving. The flavours will develop and you will love the results. Then all you need to do is heat it up.
- OR THE XACUTI MASALA
- 6 Kashmiri dried red chillies, chopped (seeds removed for a milder curry and more or less to taste.)
- 75g (1 cup) dried coconut flakes
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp ajwain (carom) seeds
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 1 tbsp black poppy seeds
- 7 cloves
- 1 tbsp (about 35) black peppercorns 5cm (2in) piece of cinnamon stick
- 4 star anise
- 1⁄2 tsp ground turmeric
- 8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 5cm (2in) piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- FOR THE CURRY
- 8 skinless chicken thighs on the bone
- 3tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds
- 10 fresh or frozen curry leaves
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 2 green bird’s eye chillies, finely chopped
- 500ml (2 cups) chicken stock or water
- 1 1⁄2 tbsp tamarind paste or concentrate
- 1⁄4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 - 2 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder or paprika (optional)
- 20g (1⁄4 cup) coriander (cilantro),
- finely chopped Salt, to taste
- Start by making the xacuti masala. In a dry frying pan, toast the Kashmiri chillies for about 1 minute, turning regularly until fragrant. Place in a bowl of warm water to soak for about 30 minutes. Now toast the coconut flakes until lightly browned and set aside.
- Toast the cumin, coriander, ajwain (carom) seeds, fennel and poppy seeds, the cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon stick and star anise over a medium–high heat until fragrant and warm to the touch. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.
- When the chillies are soft, drain them, reserving the soaking water, then blend them with the coconut flakes and the rest of the masala ingredients, along with a little of the chilli soaking water to make a paste, but taste the water first: if it is bitter, use fresh water instead.
- Pour the 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 of hours or overnight, it will be even better.
- When ready to cook, heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok over a high heat. When bubbles begin to form on the bottom of the pan, add the mustard seeds. When they begin to pop (after about 30 seconds), reduce the heat to medium–high and stir in the curry leaves and let them flavour the oil for about 30 seconds. You’ll know when the oil is perfectly flavoured because it will smell so nice.
- Add the onions and fry for about 5 minutes until soft, lightly browned and translucent. Stir in the chillies, then the chicken and all of the marinade. 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.
- Stir in the tamarind paste or concentrate and nutmeg, then give it a taste. For a sourer flavour, add more tamarind. Nutmeg can taste quite strong to some, but add more if you like. If you like it spicier add the chilli powder or paprika. To serve, stir in the coriander (cilantro) and season with salt.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 433Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 196mgSodium: 563mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 6gSugar: 10gProtein: 45g