Posted every Monday at 9:00 am PST,
or more often if I get around to it...
Monday, June 16, 2014
African chicken via Macau
Like Portuguese Chicken, this dish represents many of the colonies that Portugal once possessed in its globe-spanning empire. However, instead of Goa in India, this recipe from Macau proudly
shows off its African roots through the use of peanut butter and peppers.
other ways, this also suggests the Algerian dish djej bil besla, or “chicken with onions.” But it is made more
Chinese through the addition of five-spice powder, coconut milk, and shredded coconut, as well as a mound of shallots and garlic instead of onions.
Galinha à Africana is still popular in Macau, where it is
served with or without potatoes, and usually with a mound of fluffy steamed
rice. The cheesy-tasting sauce is exquisite, and so it is imperative that you serve lots of
rice to sponge up every drop.
Definitely not Chinese stuff
As my husband said when he first tried it, “This
does NOT taste Chinese!” And it doesn’t. It does not taste of Africa, either.
It tastes of Macau.
African chicken (Galinha à Africana)
Serves 4 to 6
Chicken and spice rub:
4 whole chicken legs (including thighs)
1 teaspoon coarsely ground dried chilies (not
¼ cup finely chopped shallots
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
½ teaspoon five-spice powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
Peanut or vegetable oil as needed
2 large baking (Russet) potatoes, optional but terrific
¼ cup unsalted butter
2 cups chopped shallots
¼ cup chopped garlic
2 red or orange bell peppers, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
¼ cup sweet paprika
Potatoes are great in this
2 (13- to 14-ounce) cans coconut milk
1 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
½ cup peanut butter, chunky or smooth
2 bay leaves
2 cups chicken broth, salted or
Sea salt to taste
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
1. Clean and dry the chicken and sever the
joint between the legs and thighs. Slash the thicker parts of the meat so that
the seasonings can penetrate it. Mix together the chilies, shallots, paprika,
five-spice powder, and salt, and then rub this into the chicken. Place the
chicken in a resealable plastic bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
2. Heat a wok until hot, add the oil, swirl the
wok around to coat the inside, and then add the chicken. Turn the heat
down to medium and brown the chicken on all sides. Spray a 13 by 9 inch
casserole with oil. Remove the chicken to the casserole. If you are adding the
potatoes, cut them into thin wedges (no larger than ⅛ inch on the outside
edge), place in a small work bowl, and cover with water so that they do not
brown. Place a rack inthe middle
of the oven and heat it to 400°F.
Tastes cheesy & rich
3. To make the sauce, add the butter to the
wok, place it over medium heat, and add the shallots, garlic, and peppers. Cook
the aromatics until they have wilted but not yet browned, and then add the
paprika, coconut milk, shredded coconut, peanut butter, chicken stock, and bay
leaves. Bring the sauce to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to
maintain a gentle simmer and cook until thickened, and then taste and add salt
4. Drain the potatoes, if using, and add them
to the casserole. Pour the sauce over the chicken and potatoes so that every
piece is coated. Bake the casserole uncovered for about 1 hour, or until
the sauce has browned lightly and both the potatoes and chicken are cooked
through. Dust the top with the parsley. Serve hot with lots of steamed rice.