Galinha à Africana (Macanese African Chicken)

Sometimes I think I should just change the name of this blog to “Around the World with Poultry”…so many countries, so much chicken.
But everything has been great so far, including this dish. Wow. Really, really good. Like serve-this-at-a-dinner-party-and-everyone-will-love-you good. It’s easy, but tastes complicated. The best kind of cooking, right?

I offer the measurements of spices as just a guideline; you could use a lot less, especially in the sauce, and still end up with an excellent dish. To balance out the richness of the coconut, I served it with an arugula salad dressed with a little bit of sesame oil and sea salt.
Also no meal in Macau would be complete without chilled Vinho Verde, which we drink all of the time anyway…and so should you.

This dinner’s presentation left much to be desired, but vacation started the next day. I’m not Wonder Woman.

Adapted from a recipe on

Galinha à Africana (Macanese African Chicken)


  • 3 to 3½ lb of chicken pieces (on the bone or off – your preference)


  • 1 tsp chili powder (less if you don’t like spicy)
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp shallot, minced
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp five-spice powder
  • 3 tsp of salt
  • a few turns of freshly ground black pepper
  • a drizzle of olive oil


  • oil (I used coconut oil – use what you prefer)
  • 1 cup shallot, minced
  • ½ cup garlic, minced
  • ½ cup sweet paprika
  • ½ cup grated coconut
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 2 bay leaves



  • Drizzle chicken lightly with olive oil (you do not want puddles of oil for this).
  • Mix the rest of the ingredients for the marinade together and rub into chicken.
  • Place the chicken in a non-reactive dish and cover.
  • Marinate in the fridge overnight.


  • Heat  up to ¼ cup of oil in a saucepan over medium to medium-low heat. I used probably not even half that and it turned out just fine.
  • Add shallots and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 min, stirring often so garlic doesn’t burn.
  • Add paprika and coconut and cook for another few minutes.
  • Add in chicken broth, coconut milk, bay leaves, and peanut butter.
  • Simmer for 10 min over low heat.
  • Discard the bay leaves.
  • (Note: This step can be done ahead of time. Add 5-10 min to the oven time if using cold sauce).

Finishing the dish:

  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • In a large skillet, heat about 2 Tbsp of oil over medium-high heat.
  • Brown the chicken on all sides. Once browned, transfer the chicken pieces to a baking dish and cover with the sauce.
  • Bake for about 30 min, until the sauce is bubbly.
  • Serve with rice or boiled potatoes.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Macau African Chicken – sorry about the chunk missing from the front piece. Someone couldn’t wait to try it
(image by Todd Farmer)

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