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Goan Cafreal Chicken Wings

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These cafreal chicken wings are easy to make and so good!

In my cookbook ‘The Curry Guy Light’, I featured a cafreal masala which was used to make a chicken cafreal curry.

This is a simplified version but instead of using the masala in the famous South Indian curry, it’s used as a marinade for cafreal chicken wings.

You could use the same cafreal marinade with other cuts of chicken too. For that matter, it’s delicious as a marinade for most meats, seafood and vegetables.

Once cooked, I charred mine over the hot coals for a couple of minutes. That’s a personal preference thing though.

Preparing the chicken wings

In Indian style cooking, chicken is usually skinned before cooking. I tried skinning wings once and it’s a big chore.

You can, however purchase skinned chicken wings and many Asian butchers. I decided to leave the skin on.

Many people like to cut the tips off the chicken wings for presentation. I leave them on because I like the crispy bits.

Chicken wings have two joints. If you want to cut off the tip, just lay a wing out and cut the pointy bit at the end off at the joint. Then you can also cut at the other joint to make two meaty pieces. I usually don’t fuss with this because I like the crispy bits.

Working ahead.

The cafreal marinade can be made a day in advance. You can also marinate the chicken wings overnight if you like but a couple hours of marinating is fine.

Lighting your barbecue

You want to cook these low and slow. You could simply grill them over a hot fire but I like to cook these cafreal chicken wings over indirect heat for about 40 – 60 minutes.

This way you can baste the wings with a little marinade while cooking and it really adds to the flavour.

Not only does the marinade coat and cook into the meat, you also get a delicious smoky flavour by cooking the meat for longer in the smoke.

Step by step photos…

Blending marinade

Blend all of the cafreal marinade ingredients together.

Marinating chicken wings

Cover the chicken wings with half of the marinade. Retain the rest for later.

Another chicken wing recipe idea…

I like to serve meat, seafood and vegetables in different colours. Not only does this add to presentation, it also gives a nice variety of flavours.

The red wings you see on my barbecue were made with my all purpose rub and also my Indian Inspired barbecue sauce.

I simply dusted the wings with the rub (see easy recipe below) and marinated them with a few tablespoons of the barbecue sauce. Then I cooked them exactly like the cafreal chicken wings and heated up a little barbecue sauce to use as a dipping sauce.

My all-purpose rub

This recipe makes 24 tbsp or 1 1/2 cups of rub. It can easily be upscaled or downscaled to your requirements.

4 tbsp paprika
4 tbsp salt
4 tbsp light brown sugar or grated jaggery
4 tbsp granulated garlic
3 tbsp granulated onion
2 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder
2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 ½ tsp ground coriander

Pour all of the ingredients into a glass jar and mix well to combine. Store in a dry, cool location until ready to use.

Barbecue sauce chicken wings

Barbecue sauce chicken wings.

Cooking cafreal chicken wings

Cook the cafreal chicken wings over indirect heat at about 180c/356f and baste from time to time with the marinade.

Barbecued chicken wings

The red barbecue wings (if making) are amazing dipped in heated barbecue sauce!

Cafreal chicken wings

Heat any remaining cafreal sauce in coconut oil. Use it as a dipping sauce. Really good!

If you like these cafreal chicken wings, you might like to try some of these…

Butter chicken
Lamb seekh kebabs
Chicken seekh kebabs
Chicken and lamb seekh kebabs
Cheesy lamb seekh kebabs
Spicy lamb burra kebabs
Stuffed potato kebabs
Homemade karahi naans

Yield: 6

Goan Cafreal Chicken Wings

Cooking cafreal chicken wings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes


  • 900g (2lbs) chicken wings, skin on or off
  • 60g fresh coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped
  • 12 green bird’s eye chillies
  • 1 generous tsp ground cumin
  • 1 generous tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 x 2.5cm (1 inch) ginger, roughly chopped
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp tamarind concentrate
  • 70ml (1/4 cup) approx. white wine vinegar or coconut vinegar for blending
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (optional)


  1. Place all of the cafreal marinade ingredients up to and including the tamarind concentrate in a blender.
  2. Add just enough vinegar to blend into a paste. Pour half of the paste over half of the wings and mix well to coat. Place the chicken and reserved marinade in the fridge until ready to cook or overnight.
  3. When ready to cook, set up your BBQ for indirect heat cooking and light it. You’re aiming for a cooking temperature of 180c/356f.
  4. When you have your barbecue at the right temperature, lightly brush the cooking grate with oil and place the chicken wings on top.
  5. Close the lid and cook for 40 - 60 minutes or until you are happy with the appearance. Brush with a little reserved marinade a couple of times during cooking.
  6. When the chicken is cooked through, place a small pan on the grate over the fire. Heat up the coconut oil and then stir in the remaining cafreal marinade. Cook for about a minute and then serve with the chicken wings as a dipping sauce.

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I hope you enjoy these cafreal chicken wings. If you do try the recipe, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.


Monday 19th of September 2022

Good idea for chicken cafreal. I need to get back to goa for some Florentine cafreal.

Dan Toombs

Friday 23rd of September 2022

Sounds like a good idea, I love Goa and this recipe. Dan

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