Xacuti pronounced as shakuti and commonly known as shagoti or Xacuti de galinha is a very popular Goan dish that is usually prepared with chicken or lamb. It’s a fiery red spicy coconutty curry full-on flavor with a whole lot of freshly ground spices.
This dish was in my to-do list for a long time and I was waiting to visit India to make it. The reason being poppy seeds or khuskhus which form an important ingredient but cannot be sourced in the Gulf as it is banned here.
So during my last visit to India, I made this dish at my mom’s place to go with my wholewheat naan and my family simply enjoyed it. I managed to click pictures but lost out on the measurements. So had to wait for another opportunity to try out.
Back at our place, we generally use poppy seeds to thicken curries. So I retried xacuti here replacing poppy seeds with roasted gram dal. I could not sense any difference in taste or flavor and it was as good as the one I made back in India.
People wanting to make xacuti here in the Gulf or in any places where it’s banned can make use of this substitution. Or simply make without it.
Back to the curry…this curry contains a melange of spices along with coconut fried to a nice brown. The tanginess comes from a bit of tamarind. The Goans like their xacuti very hot and spicy. But we do not like our curries very spicy, so I have added a bit of coconut milk to mellow it down.
The Portuguese call this Chacuti de frango and their version does not contain as many spices as the Goan xacuti. From the recipes that I came across online, I could see that they used quite a lot of coconut milk.
This is my version after going through umpteen recipes online and verifying with a few Goan friends. Try it my way and I bet you will fall in love.
Do not get intimidated by the long list of spices. This is one of those dishes which is well worth the effort. I served it with plain white rice and hubby and kids relished every bit of it. It goes well with pav, flatbreads, or even idlis and dosas.
My vegetarian friends can try this out using mushrooms, potatoes, or even a mix of vegetables.
Over to the recipe…
- 4 cloves garlic (6g)
- 1 piece ginger (6g)
- a bit of coriander leaves (6g)
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- ½ tsp pepper corns
- ½ tsp cumin whole
- 1 tbsp curd/yogurt
- a pinch of turmeric
- salt as needed(¾-1tsp)
- 1 tsp oil
- 2 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1" piece cinnamon
- 1 green cardamom
- 3 cloves
- 3 petals star anise
- half of a mace(javithri/jathipathiri)
- 3 red chillies
- ½ tsp pepper corns
- ½ tsp cumin whole
- a pinch of fenugreek seeds
- a pinch of ajwain
- a pinch of nutmeg powder/grated nutmeg
- 1 tbsp poppy seeds/fried gram dal(pottukadalai)
- 1 +¼ cup grated coconut loosely packed(100g + 25g)
Rest of the ingredients
- 500g chicken with bones
- 1 medium-sized onion
- 2 tbsp oil
- a big marble-sized piece of tamarind
- 1 cup water + as needed for grinding
- a pinch of turmeric powder
- red chilly powder(as needed)
- salt to taste
- juice of half a lemon
- 1 tbsp ghee(or as preferred)
- finely chopped coriander leaves
- Chop the chicken into medium-sized pieces. Rub with turmeric and salt and wash with water.
- Grind the first 6 ingredients given under "for marination" with a little water. Marinate the chicken in this paste with the curd, turmeric powder, and salt for 30 minutes.
- In about a tsp of oil, fry all the items starting with coriander seeds and ending with poppy seeds as given in the "for masala" list. Add the fenugreek seeds, ajwain, and poppy seeds last of all. Let it cool.
- Next roast 1 cup of grated coconut till it's nice and brown. Cool down and grind this together with the roasted spices and water to make a paste.
- Soak the tamarind in ½ cup water for some time, squeeze it and keep ready. Extract ¼ cup of coconut milk by grinding the ¼ cup of coconut with some water. Julienne the onion to thin strips.
- In a frying pan take 2tbsp of oil and saute the onion. Once it turns pink and fries a bit, add the marinated chicken. Saute till the meat changes color.
- Next, add the ground masala paste, saute for a minute and then add the tamarind water, turmeric powder, chilly powder and salt as needed. Add another ½ cup water and let cook till the chicken is done and the gravy thickens.
- Finally, add the coconut milk and switch off the stove when it comes to a boil. Squeeze the lemon and garnish with ghee and coriander leaves. I served it with plain white rice. Goans prefer to have this mostly with pavs or dinner rolls, and sometimes with flatbreads and rice.
- You can increase or decrease the number of chillies depending on your spice level. I added a bit of red chilly powder in the end as the chillies I used were not spicy.
- In the marination, yogurt/curd and curry leaves are my own additions. Yogurt helps in quick marination and curry leaves enhance flavor.You may skip if you don’t want to add them.
- If you are not okay with tamarind you can replace it with any vinegar of your choice.
- Ensure that you do not burn the spices while frying them. Burnt spices will give a bitter after taste.
- The coconut also needs to be roasted carefully till it becomes brown and flavorful.
- I have added only ¼ cup of coconut milk. You can add more or omit as per preference.
- Since I have used roasted gram dal instead of poppy seeds, I have simply added it to the fried coconut so that it warms up in the residual heat. If you use poppy seeds do roast it.
Do look up my other Goan recipe