C for Chicken Cafreal

I can truly say, hand on heart, that I have never eaten chicken Cafreal in my childhood. This dish often featured in stories about Marianne, reportedly an outstanding cook, and also the housekeeper of the ancestral home in Goa. My dad would tell us about how she would cook the most exotic food, over a roaring wood fire in her very basic kitchen. Marianne would delight in feeding him and his cousins when they visited Goa in the holidays, turning out culinary masterpieces for every meal.

My Nana (dad’s mum) was too old to cook, as far as I can remember. Her passion was making pickles. So it’s no surprise that this dish eventually fell off the menu.

I finally got to taste the famous Cafreal at Souza Lobo’s in Goa. It was every bit as delicious as the stories I had heard.

I’ve had fun recreating it from Nana’s notes and felt like I was in the Potion’s classroom in Hogwarts, conjuring up some magic. 🙂

I think it is so good that it deserves the singular attention that one can lavish on an appetiser – without the distraction of other competing food on the plate.

I’d love to know what you think.

C is for Chicken Cafreal


350 grams chicken, chopped into bite sized pieces

10-12 peppercorns

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 tablespoon poppyseeds (khuskhus)

3 cloves of garlic

1 inch piece of ginger

2 green chillies

25 grams coriander leaves

1 inch piece cinnamon

2 cloves

1 small ball of tamarind (a little smaller than a walnut in size)

1 small onion, chopped fine or 1/2 a cup fried onions

salt to taste

2 tablespoons oil or ghee

Chicken cafreal wraps

Chicken cafreal wraps



  1. Soak the tamarind in some warm water. When it has soaked for about 20 minutes and has turned soft extract the juice, squeezing the tamarind pods with your fingers. Keep this juice aside.
  2. Grind into a fine paste the cumin, poppy seeds, ginger-garlic, chillies, coriander, cloves and cinnamon. Use the tamarind water to grind the spices. Use just enough water to allow you to grind these to a fine paste. Add salt.
  3. Marinade the chicken in this paste and keep aside for an hour or two.
  4. Heat the oil or ghee and fry the onions till golden brown.
  5. Now add the chicken and fry on medium heat, turning the pieces until they are cooked through.

Serve hot.

This version makes 2-3 servings.


This post is part of the A-to-Z Challenge and I’m blogging all through April on the theme ‘Befores and Afters’. #AtoZchallenge

About The Weekend Baker

Weekend baker, Yoga enthusiast, curious cook, collector of cookbooks and traditional recipes. Stop by and say Hello!
This entry was posted in A-Z 2016, Chicken, Goan cuisine and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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