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Galinha cafreal

6 July 2010 3:01 PM Updated 06 Jul 2010

Galinha cafreal

Calinha Cafreal is a Goan classic which has undeniable Portuguese influence both in name and cooking style. It is chicken marinated in a green spice paste or masala and fried. Tomato and potato are both introduced vegetables, not being native to India. The flavours are not tongue-numbingly spicy-hot, but more redolent of fresh herbs and subtle heat.


Serves 4-6



1 large chicken, cut into pieces

6 green chilies

2cm piece ginger

10 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon meat curry powder

2 medium onions

1 tablespoons vinegar (or lemon juice)

3 tablespoons oil

6 large tomatoes, halved

12 baby potatoes, halved



1. Blend green chilli, ginger, garlic, onions and all the spices, adding the vinegar or lemon juice to moisten.

2. Add salt and the spice paste to the chicken and marinate at least an hour, preferably overnight for deeper flavours.

3. Heat up oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry chicken pieces on high heat to sear, then on medium heat to cook. Be patient and keep frying for about 10 minutes.

4. While chicken is frying, microwave baby potatoes on ‘high’ for 8 minutes, adding a spoonful of water. Drain and cool after cooking.

5. Plate the cooked chicken, but keep the pan. Add potatoes and toss over high heat until evenly browned. Add tomatoes, cut side down, to sear in the hot pan. Serve potatoes, tomatoes as side dishes to the fried chicken.


Pauline is a journalist, culinary researcher and cookbook author with a particular interest in food culture and history. Currently working on her fourth and fifth cookbooks, Pauline also maintains a food and travel column in China daily, China's largest English news publication.

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