Xacuti (Goan Coconut Chicken Curry)
Pronounced “shakooti”, this Portuguese-inspired curry is also called “sagoti”, and can be made with shrimp or meat. It is a thick curry made as hot or mild as the cook likes it, and is a part of the local Christian cuisine all over Goa.
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 10 black peppercorns
- 5 dried red Kashmiri chiles, broken in half and seeds shaken out
- 1 Tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 Teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 Teaspoon white poppy seeds
- 2 onions, sliced
- 1-inch piece of fresh root ginger, scraped and chopped
- 7 garlic cloves, chopped
- 4 Tablespoons fresh grated coconut, or dried coconut soaked for 20 minutes in warm water
- 1 3/4 Pound chicken legs, skinned and halved at the joint
- 1 Teaspoon ground turmeric
- 3 tomatoes, finely chopped
- a few shavings of nutmeg, to serve
Heat half the oil in a skillet over high heat and add all the ingredients from the cinnamon to the poppy seeds. As soon as they start to sizzle, put in the onions and cook for 7 to 8 minutes until very soft and golden, then add the ginger and garlic and cook for a minute or so.
Stir in the coconut and cook until toasted and brown, stirring continuously to prevent it from scorching. Put this mixture into a blender and add enough water to just cover it. Blitz to a fine puree and set aside.
Heat the remaining oil in the same skillet (after giving it a wipe) over high heat, add the chicken pieces and cook until sealed and light brown. Sprinkle in salt to season and the turmeric and cook for a minute or so, then pour in the puree from the blender and rinse the blender out with a little water. Pour this in as well.
Add the tomatoes, bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Adjust the seasoning the taste and serve hot with a few shavings of nutmeg.