Goan-Style Chicken Cafreal

Murgh Cafreal - Goan chicken dish
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  • Total: 50 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Rest Time: 10 hrs
  • Yield: 6 portions (6 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
300 Calories
12g Fat
23g Carbs
26g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 portions (6 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 300
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 16%
Saturated Fat 3g 17%
Cholesterol 70mg 23%
Sodium 1132mg 49%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Protein 26g
Calcium 97mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This spicy dish reflects the fusion of Portuguese and Indian cuisines that took place during the colonization of Goa. The sauce tastes a lot like the famous Portuguese peri-peri sauce. The traditional method uses deep-frying to cook the chicken, but you can grill it if you prefer. Serve chicken cafreal hot with a fresh green salad.


  • 1 whole chicken (butterflied)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh from 1 large lemon, or use lime juice)
  • 2 teaspoons salt (kosher)
  • 6 red chilies (dry)
  • 3 green chilies
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 30 cloves garlic
  • 1 piece ginger (thumb-sized)

Steps to Make It

  1. Pat the chicken dry, inside and out, with paper towels.

  2. Make a salt paste by mixing just enough citrus juice to moisten 2 teaspoons of salt. Rub it over the chicken. Pour the remainder of the juice over the chicken and allow it to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

  3. While the chicken marinates, grind the remaining ingredients together into a thick paste.

  4. Rub this paste all over the chicken, cover it loosely and allow it to marinate in the refrigerator for 8 to 10 hours.

  5. Cut the chicken into pieces to suit your size preference.

  6. Heat enough oil to cover the chicken pieces in a Dutch oven or deep heavy pot to 350 degrees. Lower chicken pieces gently into the hot oil, being careful not to crowd the pot or reduce the heat. Cook in batches if necessary.

  7. Flip the chicken pieces periodically, cooking until the internal temperature reaches 165 F as measured with a meat thermometer. This can take from 12 to 18 minutes.