Also known as Shakuti, Goan Chicken Xacuti is often kept a secret from family members. Its unique flavor and ingredients have not been talked about by the Indian cooks. Maybe you have visited Goa, on the western portion of India, with its fabulous beaches and diverse tropical vegetation. Some of you may have had a chance to taste Goan food, a mix of spicy, flavor and richness. This recipe qualifies as gluten-free and paleo.
Chicken Xacuti (Chicken Shakuti)
You’ll begin by making a masala paste and then adding the other ingredients.
1 cup lightly toasted shredded dried coconut
4 dried red chillies, broken into pieces with seeds removed
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1½ tablespoons coriander seeds
10 black peppercorns
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon carom (ajwain) seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
6 whole cloves
2 inch piece cinnamon stick
4 whole star anise
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon ground mace
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1½ pounds diced chicken (dark meat may yield more flavor)
3 tablespoons coconut oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
1½ cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon tamarind
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1. How to make the masala: Toast all the spices in a pan over medium heat. It will smell quite fragrant. Cool completely then grind in a spice grinder. Put the spices in a food processor or blender and add the toasted coconut, garlic, ginger and some oil. Process it to a smooth paste and set aside.
2. Using a large skillet, heat the coconut oil. Heat should be on medium. Saute onions until they are browned and caramelized, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add chicken and cook until done, pink is no longer the color. Add the the tamarind and the masala paste and cook for a few minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat.
3. Cover and cook the chicken xacuti at a simmer on low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cilantro and salt if needed.
This dish is served nicely with steamed basmati rice or jasmine rice. You can also serve with ladi pav. Indian flatbread may make a nice addition. You now know the well-kept secret of how to make chicken xacuti and can surprise family and guests with an authentic dish from Goa.
Ground almonds, crushed pistachios or pecans can take the place of coconut if you do not want to use it in this dish.
It should take 15 minutes to prepare. Cooking time is 45 minutes, and total time is one hour.
Although this recipe is spicy, you can add other Indian chilies instead, depending on how hot you want the dish. Kasmiri chilli is the mildest. Omit the chillies or use less, for a milder dish.
Yes, it can be a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
If stored in a glass bottle, the masala mixture can be stored for a week in the refrigerator, although many have suggested to eat the refrigerated cooked xacuti leftovers within two days.