Goan Chicken Xacuti without Coconut.

Goan Chicken Xacuti (Chacouti or Shakutiis a hot, spicy and flavourful curry that is traditionally made in Goa, using a blend of various spices and ground coconut. Goans love their Xacuti and you would find mutton, crabs, prawns or even vegetables lovingly cooked in this special blend.

As for me, I was in a mood to be creative, so decided to use a good amount of  “sunshine in a bottle” aka  *sunflower seeds*  instead of the usual grated coconut for the spice paste. These seeds are nutrient dense and packed with wonderful life enriching ingredients (see notes below for benefits). 

Certainly a good decision as the resulting curry is not only tasty, but low in fat, hot, flavourful and fragnant. It might actually transport you to one of the foodie shacks on the sunny beaches of Goa. 

So why not make it, then sit back and dip into it with the Goan pav/ bread, not forgetting your favourite tipple alongside, maybe a chilled pint or better still the Goan Feni  🙂 Enjoy! Cheers!!

For My Version of the Goan Chicken Xacuti (without Coconut)
Chicken: 1, skin removed, cleaned and cut into medium sized pieces

For Spice paste:
Sunflower seeds: half a cup (naked/ without outer skin)
Cashew nuts: 4-5
Poppy seeds: 2 tbsps
Garlic flakes: 3 large or 6 small flakes
Kashmiri red chilli powder: 2-3 heaped tsps (for medium to hot heat level)
Turmeric powder: little less than 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder: 2.5 tbsps
Cumin powder: 1 heaped tsp
Saunf/ fennel seeds: 1tsp
Oma/ ajwain seed: 2 pinches
Cinnamon: 2 inch stick
Cloves: 5 nos.
Star anise: 1
Nutmeg: 1/4 tsp

For frying:
Oil: 1-2 tbsp
Onion: 1 large chopped
Salt to taste
Lemon juice or tamarind extract to taste

1. In a pan dry roast the sunflower seeds and cashew nuts together till slightly fragnant. Just before taking off add the poppy seeds and fry another thirty seconds. Put into a mixie. Add all the other masala ingredients and grind with enough water to form a fine paste.
2. In a large vessel take oil when hot add chopped onions and a little salt and fry till edges of onions brown. Then add the masala /spice paste and fry for 2-3 minutes, add the cut chicken and fry for another 2-3 minutes on a high flame till the surfaces appear white or sealed.
3. Add enough water to just cover the chicken, add salt, close vessel and cook till chicken is done. Make sure to turn/ stir in between to make sure masala/ spice paste is not sticking to base. Once chicken is cooked adjust the consisitency of gravy to your liking by adding in hot water. I left the gravy slightly thick.
4. Just before taking off the heat check for salt, squeeze over lemon juice/ tamarind extract to desired taste.

5. Seasoning (Optional step):  This step will gives the curry the lovely flavour of coconut.
In 2-3 tsps of coconut oil fry a few curry leaves when crispy pour over curry. Mix well.

Caysera’s notes:
 1. Sunflower seeds are rich in the B complex vitamins, which are essential for a healthy nervous system, and are a good source of phosphorus, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, protein and vitamin E. 
They also contain trace minerals, zinc, manganese, copper, chromium and carotene as well as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids – types of ‘good’ fat that may help to protect the arteries. 
A good natural source of zinc, sunflower seeds are popular immune boosters. They may also help protect against heart disease while their vitamin B can help in the fight against stress. For more information read  here
2. I have used Kashmiri red chillies in the spice paste to add heat to the curry. If using any other chilli powders please adjust quantities to suit your palate.

Carol Sequeira Pereira

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