Cafreal, Goan or African, it gives you a Mouthful!


Cafreal is a delicious chicken preparation consumed widely in Goa. It is believed that Cafreal originated in Mozambique from a well-known dish called Galinha (Frango) Piri-piri. Later the Portuguese adopted this dish, made a few changes to the ingredients before it reached the sandy shores of  Goa a few hundred years ago. It was introduced into the Goan cuisine by the Portuguese and the African soldiers serving under the Portuguese, here in Goa.

The following is a typical recipe of Chicken Cafreal:


    • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
    • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
    • 1 stick of cinnamon 2″
    • few tiny cassia barks (optional)
    • 7-8 peppercorns
    • 7-8 cloves
    • 1 tsp poppy seeds
    • 1 tsp turmeric
    • 13-14 garlic pods if small, 5-8 if large
    • 2 inch piece of Ginger
    • 5-6 small green chillies
    • 1 bunch coriander leaves
    • 1/2 lime juice
    • 2-3 tbsp oil
    • Water for grinding
    • 5 chicken drumsticks or 250gm of chicken breast pieces

 How to get cookin’

  1. Start cleaning and make deep cuts into the chicken so the marinade goes in deep.
  2. Now in a pan dry roast cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cinnamon, cassia barks (optional), peppercorn, cloves, poppy seeds, turmeric, garlic pods, ginger and  small green chillies in the amounts mentioned above.
  3. Roast the mixture on a non stick pan till it is slightly brown and let it cool.
  4. Add a bunch of coriander in the mixture while you are cooling the mixture with ½ lime juice and small ball of tamarind.
  5. Now add this to a mixer and grind it to a paste.
  6. Add little water at a time depending on the texture of the masala you want. Use only small amounts of water, to avoid the masala getting too watery. The masala should be consistent.
  7. Add this to the chicken with salt as per your taste and marinade it well.
  8. Now in 2-3 tbsp of oil gently roast the chicken pieces on medium heat and keep turning them every 5-6 minutes. Cover & cook for 15 minutes.
  9. Turn and cook for a further 5 minutes. Dry out the water and oil by keeping the pan open for 2 minutes.

Pro tips:

  • Marinate and keep in the fridge overnight for better results and finger licking taste.
  • Adjust the heat as per your preference.
  • Pair it along with some lovely salad, french fries or potato wedges and bread.
  • The marinade can be used for mushrooms, fish and other meats if you like.

For those of you who drooled over your phones or laptops at the sight of Cafreal, but are too lazy to go and cook it yourself, there are quite a few restaurants in Goa which serve you some delicious Cafreal. Florentine in Saligao, Martin’s Corner in Betalbatim and Bhatti Village in Nerul are just some of them.