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Goanese Chicken

This dish is adapted from the Goanese Pork Stew in the excellent House of India cookbook, which I have been using for about forty years (!) now.

Indian dinner

4 skinless chicken thighs
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
juice of 1 lemon


1 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. red pepper*
1/2 tsp. cardamom
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. ginger
cinnamon stick (or 1/4 tsp. ground)

*use flaked for a milder dish; we use a hot ground Indian chili pepper

In a pot suitable for braising, cook the onion and garlic in the olive oil, covered, on medium heat, until the onions are clear (about 5 minutes). Add the spices, stir, lower the heat, cover, and cook about 2 minutes more. Add the vinegar, stir, cover, continue cooking 3 minutes. Meanwhile, blend the tomato paste and lemon juice. Add the tomato-lemon mixture, stir, and add the chicken, turning it in the spices. Cover and adjust the heat once or twice until the chicken is cooking slowly. Then leave it alone, covered, for about 45 minutes (more or less, depending on whether the chicken is boneless or bone-in).

Goanese Chicken

WARNING! Starting out, it will seem like it's too dry! Don't add liquid. It still alarms me every time how little moisture there is in the dish when it begins its final cooking phase. Don't worry! Just keep it covered to be sure and retain all the moisture thrown by the onion and chicken. In the end, you will have a lovely sauce, and it will not have stuck to the pan.

You can use bone-in chicken such as leg quarters or a whole chicken cut up, but I do recommend using at least some dark meat. Just allow more cooking time for larger, bone-in cuts.

This dish is excellent with brown rice and/or a bean, lentil or chickpea curry. A thinly sliced cucumber in yogurt is a nice cool side dish, too, especially if you've used a hot red pepper.

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