Chicken cafreal

 Chicken cafreal recipe

Make one of the best chicken recipe from Goan cuisines Chicken cafreal with details. This cafreal chicken recipe was introduced to Goan cuisine by the Portuguese and the Afrikan soldiers serving under the Portuguese. It is a green spicy preparation of chicken due to the uses of fresh cilantro leaves and green chili.

Chicken cafreal also known as Galinha Cafreal. In Portuguese Galinha means chicken.

Serving chicken cafreal with potato wedges in a serving plate

What is chicken cafreal ?

 Chicken Cafreal is a spicy chicken preparation introduced to Goan cuisines by the Portuguese and Afrikan soldiers serving under the Portuguese.

The cafreal preparation originated from the Portuguese colonies in the Afrikan continent. Fresh cilantro leaves (coriander), whole spices like clove, pepper, cinamom, bay leaf and herbs like ginger, garlic, lemon  and chillies are used to prepare it.

Generally cafreal chicken are shallow fried and served with potato wedges and lemon wedges.

In this recipe I have used curry cut chicken pieces (used to make curry) but originally full leg piece are used to make it. Chicken breast also yeilds best result. 

Tips to make best chicken cafreal

  • Make some small cuts (incision) on the chicken pieces to absorb the flavours.
  • For best results marinate the chicken for overnight.
  • Use fresh herbs coriander, green chili,  ginger and garlic.
  • Lightly roast the whole spices before making the cafreal masala.
  • Use the leftover marination while cooking the chicken.

Steps to make chicken cafreal

Clean and cut the chicken

To make this yummy recipe I have used chicken with bone. You can go with boneless chicken breast or leg pieces as well.

First I have trimmed the excess fats from the chicken pieces then wash them nicely for 2 to 3 times 

Using a sharp knife make some small cuts(incision) on the chicken pieces. This will help to marinate and absorb all the flavor nicely. Don't make deep cuts.

Making small cuts on chicken pieces to make chicken cafreal recipe

Apply some salt and turmeric powder and let them aside for 10 to 12 minutes.

Marinated chicken pieces with turmeric powder and salt for chicken cafreal recipe

Making cafreal masala paste

Cafreal masala recipe is pretty easy that you can make at home.

To make this masala  take some fresh coriander leaves (Cilantro) with stems. Wash them nicely under running water and then roughly chopped them.

Place them in a mixer or blender jar. Add some roughly chopped ginger, garlic cloves, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, black peppercorns, cloves and green chili.

Fresh cilantro leaves, green chili, bay leaf and other spices in a mixing jar to make chicken cafreal recipe masala

Squeeze some lemon juice over them and blend into a fine paste. If required add very small amount of water. The paste should be thick not watery. Remove this cafreal masala in a bowl.

Green color chicken cafreal masala paste

Marinate the chicken

Now apply this paste on the chicken pieces nicely. Rub them gently so that the masala enter the cut marks as well. Marinate the chicken for 2 to 3 hours or at least 30 minutes for early cooking. Keep the leftover masala paste aside to use later.

Marinated chicken pieces with cafreal masala paste

Cooking the chicken

Heat oil in a pan over medium heat flame. When the oil become hot place the marinated chicken pieces one by one on the pan.

Cooking chicken green color chicken pieces for chicken cafreal recipe

Lower the flame to low and roast them for one minute.

Flip them to another side and roast for one more minute or till charred.

Lightly roasted chicken pieces on a pan for chicken cafreal recipe

Roast them from all sides for more 3 to 4 minutes and then pour the remaining marinate paste over them.

Cooking green color chicken pieces on a pan for chicken cafreal recipe

Now increase the flame to medium and cook till the chicken pieces are cooked completely and all the moisture become dry.

Stir them carefully and mix well so that all the masala are nicely coated with them.

Dry roated chicken pieces on a pan for chicken cafreal recipe

Remove them and serve hot along with some fries or potato wedges.

Serving chicken cafreal with potato wedges

 Potato wedges for chicken cafreal

It is good to make some fresh potato wedges or fries at home to serve with chicken cafreal. You can use a store brought potato wedges as well. 

But I prefer to make a simple one by cutting potatoes into wedges and apply some salt on them.

Frying potato wedges

Heat a non stick pan with some oil and shallow fry them  till crisp golden from all sides.

Cooked and roasted potato wedges

If you love the recipe then I am sure you would love the following chicken recipes as well.

Chicken cafreal 

Serving chicken cafreal in a serving plate, potato wedges in background

Chicken cafreal is a popular spicy chicken preparation of Goan cuisines introduced by Portuguese. Fresh herbs like coriander leaves, ginger, garlic, green chili and whole spices like clove, peppercorns, cinamom, bay leaf are used to make this Chicken Cafreal.

Prep time 15 min, cook time 15 min, serve 2

Author Mobasir hassan


  • 400 gm chicken pieces with bone
  • 1/3 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tablespoon salt or as per taste
  • 2 to 3 tablespoon cooking oil
For cafreal marinate
  • 1 bunch of coriander leaves with stem
  • 1/2 inch ginger root
  • 7 to 8 garlic cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 inch cinamom stick
  • 3 to 4 cloves
  • 8 to 10 black peppercorns
  • 3 to 4 green chili
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  1. Make some small cuts or incisions on the chicken pieces carefully. Don't make deep incision on them. This will help to absorb the marinate nicely.
  2. Apply turmeric powder and salt on the chicken pieces from all sides. Keep aside for 10 minutes.
Making the marinate
  1. Roughly chopped the coriander leaves with the stem and place in a mixing or blender jar.
  2. Add ginger, garlic cloves, cinamom stick, bay leaf, black peppercorns, cloves, green chili and lemon juice.
  3. Now make a fine paste if necessary use little water. Make sure that the paste should not be watery.
  4. Apply this paste on the chicken pieces nicely from all sides . Keep them refrigerated to marinate for 40 to 50 minutes so that the pieces absorb all flavours. Keep the remaining paste aside to use later.
Making Chicken cafreal
  1. Heat the oil in a skillet or non stick pan over medium heat flame. When the oil become hot lower the flame to low and carefully add the marinated chicken pieces one by one.
  2. Roast them for one minute then flip to another side and roast similarly for another minute.
  3. When both sides are become nicely crisp pour the remaining marinate over the chicken pieces.
  4. Cook them for another 5 to 6 minutes till all the marination and moisture become dry and the chicken pieces are cooked completely.
  5. Remove them and serve hot with some crispy potato fries or wedges.

Chicken cafreal recipe video

                          Nutritional value
                          (serving size 100 gm)
Calorie : 279.71
Fats : 25.96 g
Protein : 6.41 g
Carbohydrate : 5.74 g

                           Recipe notes
  • You can avoid to use green chili to make it less spicy.
  • Chicken breast or leg boneless also yields good results.
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