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This curry comes from Goa, in western India. The region of Goa has some of the greatest biodiversity in the entire world, and the spice mix used in this dish is reflects this. It is complex, elaborate, and aromatic, including white poppy seeds, grated coconut, and dried red chilies. Goan cuisine has Portuguese colonial influences and in Portugal, xacuti is known as chacuti. Chicken and lamb are most commonly used in xacuti preparations. Historically, the dish was made by communities when a good catch of fish or a chicken dinner occurred. In the US, xacuti is enjoyed by families of Indian descent and served at Indian cuisine establishments around the country.

Recipe Servings: 4

Prep Time
20 minutes
+ 30 minutes resting
Cook Time
45 minutes
Total Time
1 hour 35 minutes
Gluten Free
Dairy Free




    For Marinade:
  1. Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl and sprinkle them with the turmeric powder and salt.
  2. Stir together the ginger, garlic, coriander, and chilies in a small bowl. Add the mixture to the chicken, stirring to combine.
  3. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  4. For Xacuti:
  5. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a frying pan set over medium heat.
  6. Add one of the sliced onions, chopped green chilies, ginger, and garlic, and sauté for 3 minutes.
  7. Add the grated coconut and sauté for another 5–7 minutes. As the onions become crispy, keep them to the side.
  8. Roast the cinnamon, cardamoms, anise seed, black peppercorn, poppy seeds, coriander seeds, Kashmiri red chilies, star anise, mace flower, nutmeg, and turmeric in a dry skillet for 5–10 minutes.
  9. Grind together the roasted spices with the onion mixture. This creates the xacuti masala.
  10. Pour the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil into a large pot or Dutch oven set over medium heat.
  11. Add the slit green chilies and remaining sliced onion to the hot oil. Sauté for 2–3 minutes.
  12. Add the marinated chicken pieces, xacuti masala, and water.
  13. Cook, covered, for 30–40 minutes or until the chicken is tender.

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