Let’s discuss the ‘Cafreal’, not originally Goan, but today uniquely Goan. The Goan Culinary Club decided to ‘vet’ the preparations that are served in many of its establishments. Hotel Fidalgo played host to the meeting. Most of us have heard the story of how the cafreal reached the dining tables of Goa. It is stated that a group of Africa soldiers from the Portuguese colony of Mozambique had camped in Panjim. A chicken preparation was being grilled in their camp. Attracted by the aroma the dish was patented to suit the Goan palate and was called ‘cafreal’ as the Africans were often known as ‘kafirs’.
So the ‘authenticated’ preparation would be a leg or a breast of chicken with skin (remember it is a grilled specialty) with coriander leaves and spices…but….. Out of the ten samples placed for tasting at least 90% were flavored with mint. The preparations tasted great,but is mint necessary for the authentic preparation? Definitely Not…. was the panel’s recommendation. Moreover the cuts were varied…with bone, without bone and in cubes. But this is how we serve it in restaurants, was the unanimous chorus, for buffets, for snacks. We cannot have full leg pieces served on these occasions.
So the club decided to post the winning entries. The Marriott Resort Hotel and Spa with the traditional flavor of the Chicken Cafreal, and the ‘fusion’ cubes (shades of the Caribbean with the optional rum) done by Chef Carmelino Luis of Fisherman’s Wharf who confesses that his skill was sharpened under the tutelage of late Chef Fernando of Nostalgia fame.
As discussed before, the role of the Club is not to stifle any preparations but to give a variety based on the panel’s recommendations for the readers to vet. Here are their recipes on trial….
Traditional Chicken Cafreal
Junior Sous Chef Sushil Kumar with his experience in Star hotels has perfected this recipe which is being served at the Marriotts.
Ingredients Unit Quantity
Chicken leg with skin Gms 1000 Oil ml 100 Lime no 01
Potato wedges Gms 100 Tomato Wedges Gms 100
(Cafreal Masala Paste)
*Toddy Vinegar ml 100 *Ginger Gms 50 *Garlic Gms 30 *Cumin seeds Gms 15 *Coriander seeds Gms 10 *Green Chilly Gms 50 *Turmeric Gms 05 *Salt to taste *Green Coriander Gms 200 *Black Cardamom Gms 05 *Cinnamon Gms 05 *Saunf Gms 08 *Cloves Gms 05 *Black Pepper Gms 05
Step 1: Mix all ingredients (*) and make cafreal masala paste.
Step 2: Apply lime juice, salt and Cafreal masala paste on chicken and keep aside for 2 hours.
Step 3: Put oil on tawa and roast the chicken.
Step 4: Serve chicken along with potatoes and tomato wedges.
Chef Carmelino Luis has got good experience of 15years in Goan Cuisine. He belongs to Salcette district of Goa and started cooking at very young age. Chef Carmelino Luis learnt his skills & cooking technique from Master Chef Fernando of Nostalgia fame.
Chicken Cubes 250 Gms
Ginger & Garlic Paste Tbsps 02
Fresh Coriander Leaves bunch 04
Green chilies 05 Nos
Cloves 8 -10 Nos
Cinnamon Stick stick 01
Cumin Seed tspn ½
Lemon 01 no
Turmeric Powder tspn ½
Salt to taste
Dark Rum 30 ml
Step 1: Take all the ingredients make a fine paste.
Step 2: Cut chicken into cubes and marinade it with turmeric powder, salt, lemon juice & dark rum and keep it in the refrigerator for 4 hours.
Step 3: Take a pan and put oil and heat it adds all the marinade chicken pieces and later add paste and cook it till perfection. Serve hot.
1) Dark rum is optional
pic courtesy: Assavari Kulkarni
But coming back to the masala dosa…if that vegetarian dish is made so popular even for readers in New York why is it that most restaurants in Goa don’t believe in putting the vegetarian preparations cooked in most Goan homes on the menu?
‘It’s our guest’s requirements,’ lamented one chef, ‘if we put it on the a la carte menu many people will not order it. It’s more for the homes.’
So we decided to create a platform of ‘home cooked’ food to be tasted by the chefs. Ms Smita Patil of Dona Paula volunteered with the Moogagatti. ‘It’s good,’ they stated, ‘but will it move in the restaurants.’ Not deterred, Smita has volunteered to bring in Pineapple Sansav for trial. Watch this space for her recipes.
Remember if Masala Dosa’s were only cooked at home and not made popular in Udipi restaurants which even Goans patronize, it would not have reached the media columns in New York. It is time to work hard on our own mindset change.Co founders Odette and Joe Mascarenhas