Xacuti (Goan Coconut Chicken Curry)

Xacuti (Goan Coconut Chicken Curry)
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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.Recipe excerpted from The Indian Cooking Course by Monisha Bharadwaj. Click here to purchase your own copy.
  • 2 tablespoon 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 tablespoon 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
  • salt
  • a few shavings of nutmeg, to serve
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.