When I was a child, my father would bring the whole family every weekend to a famous Portuguese restaurant in the Hotel São Tiago, in a former fortress built by the Portuguese in Macau during the early 17th century. For me it was the most beautiful place overlooking Macau city with delicious food. We always ordered Portuguese Chicken – chicken cooked in Asian spices, coconut milk and chouriço (Portuguese chorizo). Although it is called Portuguese Chicken, it is truly Macanese. – a mix of Mediterranean and Asian.
For years, I have come across many different versions of this dish, and I have tried out several. This recipe I use here – which I find the best – is adapted from a cookbook by Annabel Jackson – Taste of Macau. I have changed the recipe slightly and substituted a few of the ingredients stated in Jackon’s recipe to something available in my kitchen. I also add carrots for the children. Don’t be put off by the large portion this recipe serves, the left over tastes even better the next day! I promise you all will fight over even the last drop of the yummy sauce!
1 whole free-range chicken, cut into 6-8 pieces
For the marinade:
- ¼ tsp. saffron
- 50ml white wine
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of white pepper
- 3 bay leaves, crumbled
For the chicken:
- 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into small chunks
- 1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 medium tomatoes, cut into small chunks
- Olive oil
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 heaped tsp. curry powder
- 250ml chicken stock/ or water
- 200ml coconut milk (get good quality one with higher percentage of coconut extract)
- 70ml evaporated milk (Kaffee Sahne)
- 100g chorizo, sliced
- 2 tbsp. desiccated coconut
- Salt and pepper to taste
First we marinate the chicken: combine all the ingredients of the marinade in a large mixing bowl. Place the chicken pieces in a large plastic food bag, pour in the marinade and then mix well. Seal the bag and leave it marinated for 1-2 hours in the fridge.
Heat a little olive oil in a heavy-bottom saucepan. Sautee the onion and garlic until soft but not brown. Now add the cayenne pepper and curry powder and fry until aromatic followed by the chicken and chorizo. When the chicken and chorizo are slightly brown, tip in the tomatoes and mix. Then pour in the chicken stock. Add the potatoes and carrots, season with salt and pepper. Put the lid on and let it simmer for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetable is tender. Stir in the coconut milk and evaporated milk and remove from heat. Check once again the seasoning.
Turn the mixture into an ovenproof dish and sprinkle the desiccated coconut evenly on top. Place under the oven grill for about 8-10 minutes until slightly brown on top. Serve with hot steamed rice or crusty bread. Divine!