Xinxim de Galinha – Brazilian Chicken Stew

One of the most iconic dishes of the Afro-Brazilian culinary tradition of the state of Bahia, xinxim de galinha not only satisfies the earthly appetite of those who eat it, but also honours the Orixá (goddess) Oxum in the religion that arrived in Bahia from its home in Africa along with the millions of slaves transported to Brazil during colonial times. It’s highly likely that xinxim de galinha itself has African ancestors as well.

Xinxim de Galinha - Brazilian Chicken Stew
An easy and delicious Brazilian dish of chicken and prawns braised in coconut milk. Dried shrimp, garlic, ginger and crushed cashews add extra crunch and flavour to this recipe.
Serves: Serves 4
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1 kg chicken thigh fillets, diced
  • juice of ½ lime
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 cm knob ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 400 g can diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup red palm oil
  • 50 g dried shrimp, finely ground in a blender
  • 125 ml coconut milk
  • ½ bunch coriander, leaves picked
  • ½ cup crushed cashews
  • ½cup crushed peanuts
  • 200 g peeled green prawns
  • chopped chillies (optional)
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • ½ bunch extra chopped coriander leaves, to garnish
  1. Marinate the chicken in the lime juice, garlic, ginger and salt for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and sauté until softened, then stir in the marinated chicken.
  3. Add the tomato and palm oil and cook for about 10 minutes, then add the ground shrimp and coconut milk and simmer gently for another 10 minutes.
  4. Add the coriander, cashews or peanuts and prawns, cover with a lid and continue to gently simmer for another 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in the chopped chillies if using, add a little black pepper and taste for salt.
  6. Serve with rice and salad.
Dried shrimps can generally be found in African or Hispanic grocery stores

Xinxim is normally served with plain white rice, and some sort of hot chilli-pepper sauce for those that prefer to add a bit of heat. A simple salad of a piece of lettuce topped by a few slices of tomato and onion is all the garnish that's required.

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