Chicken Cafreal | Classic Goan Chicken Cafreal Recipe

Chicken cafreal is a fried chicken dish from Goa, the coastal paradise of India. This classic Goan recipe of chicken cafreal speaks of the cultural integration in itself.

Chicken CafrealWe had a vacation in Goa almost 6 years back! And what a vacation it was! Food, wine, beer and zero stress! I wish that time would return some day! During that time, I came across the authentic Goan cuisine and realized the cultural evolution that is associated with this cuisine.

Goa is a popular tourist destination famous for its beaches. It is also popular for its distinctive food and culture. The long reign of Portuguese left inevitable influence on the Goan food and this chicken cafreal is just another example of the same!

Chicken CafrealChicken cafreal is a fried chicken dish which is dominated by fresh cilantro. The rich green color of the chicken cafreal comes from the spice paste made with fresh coriander leaves and lots of Indian spices. Goan cuisine has this amazing ability to combine all kind of flavors perfectly. It has the right balance of heat, sourness and sweetness.

Chicken cafreal is not something which you will easily find in restaurants outside Goa. Hence the name sounded completely new to me and I was quite intrigued to try this new delicacy. Goan chicken cafreal did not fail to impress to me! I know I am not any kind of royalty or anything, but when you try a new cuisine, you are bound to judge it and form your own opinion on it. This chicken cafreal passed with flying colors, so much so that after so many years, I still remember it.

Chicken CafrealChicken CafrealGoa is a fun place and so is its food! You can forget about all your worries for a while when in Goa and just flow in the Arabian waves, drink a good beer and munch on the Goan goodies and life will be all perfect! It’s a place to free your spirit and release yourself to float with waves. Once you are back from Goa, you will carry back a piece of this beachy solace inside your soul!

Just like Goa and its beaches, this chicken cafreal will surely impress you as much as it did impress us. Give it a try as soon as you can. Also check out my chicken Xacuti recipe which is another popular delicacy from the city of golden beaches!

Chicken Cafreal

Chicken Cafreal | Classic Goan Chicken Cafreal Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 4 servings
  • Chicken – 800 gms [I used chicken pieced with bones only]
  • Onion – 1, large, thinly sliced
  • Green chillies – 4 to 6, depending on the heat you can handle
  • Coriander leaves – a big bunch, around 100 gms
  • Garlic – 10 to 15 cloves
  • Ginger – 1 inch piece
  • Poppy seeds (khus-khus) – 1 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tbsp
  • Cloves – 8 to 10
  • Black peppercorn – 6 to 8
  • Cinnamon – 1 inch stick
  • Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
  • Tamarind paste – 1 tbsp
  • Lemon – 1
  • Vegetable – 2 tbsp
  • Salt to taste
  1. Wash the chicken and cut up into large chunks. Season with salt and set aside.
  2. Now make the cafreal spice paste by grinding together the coriander leaves, ginger, garlic, green chillies, poppy seeds, cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon, black pepper, turmeric powder and tamarind. Add few spoons of water if required but not too much. This will be a coarse paste.
  3. Apply the cafreal spice paste to the chicken and rub it into the pieces well. Cover and marinate it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  4. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed skillet. Add the sliced onion and saute them ft 6 to 8 minutes until the onions are translucent and soft.
  5. Tip in the marinated chicken into the oil and saute on medium high heat for 5 minutes. Once the chicken is browned, cover and cook on low heat, turning them occasionally until the chicken is cooked through which would take about 35 to 40 minutes. [If the chicken sticks to the bottom of the pan, add couple of splashes of water; but make sure to dry out all the water once the chicken is completely cooked.]
  6. Sprinkle fresh chopped cilantro and drizzle with lemon juice. Serve hot!
Take the marinated chicken out from the refrigerator at least an hour before you start cooking so that you don't throw in the chilled chicken into the hot oil!

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