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 http://www.riceandwheat.com/2011/07/galinha-a-africana-african-chicken-from-macau/

Galinha à Africana (Macanese African Chicken)

Ingredients:

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

 Marinade:

  • 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

Sauce:

  • 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

Instructions:

Marinade:

  • 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.

Sauce:

  • 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)

Strolling in Macau – the book for Macau, country #8

There are so many layers to this historic city; hundreds of years of (mostly) laid-back  Portuguese oversight mingling with influences from other Portuguese colonies in Africa, Malaysia, India and Brazil, mixed in with the majority Chinese population = a unique blend of cultural and culinary diversity.

Not a whole bunch of English-language books out there about it though, except travel guides. So, I picked one of them…and I do believe it was one of the most pleasant travel guides I’ve ever read. So nice…let’s go and get some egg tarts…

Strolling in Macau by Steven K. Bailey

Macau has been a haven for casino gambling (and other assorted vices) for a very long time, but since the handover back to China in 1999, it’s become known as “The Las Vegas of Asia”. Make of that what you will. The author does acknowledge the impact of the gaming industry and the fact that most visitors are just popping over from Hong Kong on the ferry for a few hours of Blackjack, but that’s not what this book is about.

Part very enjoyable history lesson, this is a guide book to walking the three islands that make up Macau. All of the routes sound so pleasant and interesting, and the author has such a friendly and descriptive style; I could almost smell the incense in the temples and see the tiled streets. One caveat: it was published in 2007, and with the rate of casino construction, large-scale bridge-building and land reclamation, some of the itineraries laid out in the book might not even exist anymore. Do a little extra research before heading out…

Rua do Caetano (Macau)
(image by By English: Abasaa 日本語: あばさー (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

Portuguese Egg Tarts – the slacker way

Portuguese Egg Tarts 

(Makes 10 tarts for sure – I squeezed twelve out of this recipe, but they were on the small side)

I went full-on Slacker for this dessert, as you will see when you read the recipe. I was leaving for a week-long beach vacation the next day, and my brain had already shifted to island-level motivation. They did not end up looking very authentic, but let me emphasize the far more important point: they were AWESOME. There are plenty of more labor-intensive recipes out there – like this one.  I’ll be trying all sorts of variations…

Adapted from a recipe at Rasa Malaysia, which is a fantastic blog that you should check out immediately after you are done here.

(Original recipe: http://rasamalaysia.com/portuguese-egg-tarts/2/)

Ingredients:

  •  1 frozen and rolled Pillsbury 9-inch pie crust
  • 1/3 cup of sugar (you can use a bit less if you’d like your tarts a little less sweet)
  • 1/3 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup of milk
  • 3 drops of vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Butter and flour the muffin pan. (I use a baking spray)
  2. Cut pie crust into 10 rounds. (I only had a biscuit cutter on hand so my rounds were smaller, and fluted. Not traditional at all, in any way. Also, you should have a rolling pin on hand, just in case you need to roll the remaining pie crust out to get your last couple of pieces.)
  3. Use a hand, or stand, mixer to blend the last four ingredients together. Beat on a higher speed for about 3 minutes. (The original recipe says to strain the filling – I did not). Set aside.
  4. Fit the pie crust rounds into muffin pans by pressing firmly on bottom and side (do not over stretch). Fill the pie crust dough with the egg mixture (about 80% full).
  5. Bake at 400F for about 15-20 minutes or until the filling gets to be a dark golden brown. Most recipes call for a bit of broiling too for a caramelized top crust, but like I’ve said…I went lazy.
Portuguese Egg Tarts
(image by Todd Farmer)