Chicken Xacuti

An incredibly flavorful and delicious Indian dish, this Chicken Xacuti recipe is destined to positively WOW your taste buds and become a favorite at your dinner table!

chicken xacuti recipe best authentic traditional Goan India

The origin of this dish is Goa.  Goa is located in the western region of India and though it is India’s smallest state, it’s also one of its richest.  Rich not only in terms of economic wealth, but rich in its tropical biodiversity.  In fact, it’s classified as one of the biodiversity hotspots in the world.  Goa also produces an abundance of fruits, nuts, pulses, rice, sugarcane and bamboo.

Goa also enjoys a thriving tourist industry and is visited by tourists from around the world who go there for its beaches, historic sites, architecture and natural beauty.

Goan cuisine today is the result of many influences.  It’s influenced by its Hindu origins, over 400 years of Portuguese colonialism, as well as modern techniques of world tourists.  The Portuguese contributed pineapples, cashews, tomatoes and potatoes that they brought with them to Goa from Brazil. They also introduced the chili which has since become one of the most important spices in Goan cooking.

Benefitting from several world influences and its tropical climate, Goan food is rich, spicy and intensely flavorful.

goa india beach

© Rvc5pogod | Dreamstime

What is Chicken Xacuti?

Chicken Xacuti (pronounced “sha-kooti”) is a classic dish from Goa and encompasses the rich array of its spices resulting in a delicious dish with complex flavors.

Indian cuisine doesn’t use flour or cornstarch for thickening, rather it relies on such things as ground nuts or, in this case, ground dried coconut.  Chicken Xacuti is naturally gluten-free and paleo.

With layer upon layer of flavors, you are sure to enjoy this wonderful Goan dish!

chicken xacuti recipe best authentic traditional Goan India

Chicken Xacuti Recipe

Let’s get started!

First we’ll make the masala. Place all of the spices in a small, dry skillet over medium heat and toast until fragrant, about 4-5 minutes.  Be careful not to burn the spices or they will be bitter.

Let the spices cool and then grind them in a spice grinder.  I use and recommend the KRUPS Electric Spice and Coffee Grinder.

Next toast the shredded coconut over medium heat in a small, dry skillet until lightly browned.

toasting the spices and coconut in skillet

Let cool completely, then place it in a food processor along with the ground spices, garlic and ginger, add a little oil and process to a smooth paste.  Set aside until ready to use.

Heat the coconut oil in a medium to large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook until caramelized and nicely browned, 15-20 minutes.

Add the chicken and cook until no longer pink.  You can use chicken breast but dark meat imparts the most flavor.  You can also use bone-in chicken pieces if you prefer.

cooking the onions and chicken

Add the masala paste and the tamarind pulp and cook for a couple of minutes.

You can find tamarind pulp in Asian grocery stores or online.  It comes in soft, sticky blocks like the one I’m using here or you can also purchase it in concentrate form.

adding the spices

Add the chicken broth and salt and bring everything to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

At the end stir in the cilantro and add more salt to taste.

adding cilantro

Serve with steamed jasmine or basmati rice and/or naan.  A cooling Cucumber Raita also makes the perfect accompaniment.

For something refreshing, serve this with a refreshing Mango Lassi or some Fruit Chaat!


chicken xacuti recipe best authentic traditional Goan India

For more delicious Indian recipes be sure to try our:

Originally published on The Daring Gourmet September 30, 2015

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