Goa is a serene and tranquil oasis located on the southwest coast of India in the Konkan region. Its cuisine is characterized by the abundance of local spices and succulent coconuts. Famous for its distinctive dishes, Goan food is a delicious combination of exotic Indian spices and traditional Portuguese cooking styles. This dish is a perfect example.
GOAN CHICKEN CURRY
1 lb of boneless skinless chicken, cut into 1½” pieces
1 medium onion, finely diced
2-3 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
1” piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp desiccated shredded coconut (unsweetened)
6-8 black peppercorns
1 stick of cinnamon (2” in length)
2 cardamom pods, crushed
3-4 dried red chilies, to taste
¼ tsp turmeric
½ tsp garam masala
½ tsp ground cumin powder
½ tsp ground coriander powder
salt, to taste
1 tsp dried tamarind pulp, soaked in ¼ cup hot water (or you can use 1 tsp tam concentrate or 1 tsp tamarind powder)
1 cup of coconut milk
2 tbsp oil, vegetable or canola
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
Using a spice or clean coffee grinder, grind together the desiccated coconut, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon and cardamom into a fine powder. Set aside until needed.
In a large deep skillet or wok on medium high heat, add the oil. When hot, add the cumin seeds and the onions. Let sauté until just slightly brown, and then add the garlic and ginger. Let sauté for 2-3 minutes and add dried red chilies and the spices (turmeric, garam masala, ground cumin powder, ground coriander powder and salt). Stir and let the spices cook for a few minutes before adding the chicken pieces along with the ground spice mixture. Mix well to coat all of the chicken pieces with the spices and aromatics. Let the chicken cook for 4-5 minutes before adding the tamarind (either the re-hydrated pulp along with its liquid, tam concentrate or tam powder). Now add the coconut milk, reduce the heat, cover and let simmer for 5-6 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked through yet moist and tender. If the curry is a bit thick, add a little water if you prefer. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro leaves and serve with fresh chapatis and fragrant Basmati rice.
Feel free to use your favorite fish, shrimp or scallops to make this dish. Just remember to adjust the cooking times accordingly.