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Portuguese Recipes – Caril de Frango

Portuguese recipes - caril de frango

I am making a concerted effort this year to cook more Portuguese recipes. I’m not great in the kitchen, but having lived in Portugal for over three years now, it’s time I learned to cook more Portuguese food. I plan on cooking one Portuguese recipe a week over the course of 2013, to improve my culinary skills and become a more integrated part of the country I now call home.

Portuguese recipes - caril de frango

Portuguese recipes – caril de frango

My first attempt was to make caril de frango – Portuguese chicken curry. Although it uses curry powder in the recipe, it’s not a hot, spicy curry, but rather a creamy and flavourful one. This is typical of Portuguese food. Other than piri piri chicken, which is flavoured with fiery little chillis, Portuguese food tends not to be hot. Instead, rich combinations of spices create deep flavours, blending the country’s history of Mediterranean and Moorish influences.

I got this recipe from a Margão spice packet set and tweaked it slightly as I went along – partly because I wanted a more saucy curry than the one forming in my pan and partly because I forgot to add the water until later in the recipe than I should have done (I did mention I’m not great in the kitchen!).

Portuguese recipes - Margao caril de frango

Portuguese recipes – Margao caril de frango

This was an encouraging foray into the world of Portuguese cooking. The caril tasted pretty good – almost exactly like the version from our local takeaway that we have eaten several times. It has certainly given me the confidence to attempt to create more Portuguese recipes as the year progresses.

The recipe below said serves four on the packet, but we had it with rice and polished the lot off between the two of us.


450g chicken breast, chopped into pieces

Olive oil

2 onions, chopped

100ml water

450g assorted vegetables, chopped (I used broccoli and carrots)

100ml cream

2 tsp turmeric

2 tsp curry powder

2 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp ground garlic

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp fresh coriander

Caril de frango spices

Caril de frango spices


1. In a bowl, mix the chicken with about 1 tbsp olive oil, plus half the turmeric, curry powder, ginger and garlic. Season, then cook in a frying pan with one of the onions until the chicken is done. Set aside in a bowl.

2. Using the same pan, fry the other chopped onion in a little oil over a medium heat. After a couple of minutes add the rest of the ground garlic and fry for a few more minutes, until the onion is golden. Add the rest of the turmeric, curry powder and ginger, along with the ground coriander. Stir for a minute, then add the chopped vegetables.

3. Fry the vegetables stirring often for about 15 minutes, until they are almost cooked through, adding a little oil when the pan becomes too dry.

4. Pour in the water and turn up the heat. Season and bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.

5. Reduce the heat to medium and add the chicken and cream. Mix well then allow to bubble for 4-5 minutes.

6. Serve with rice, sprinkling the fresh coriander over the curry once you’ve plated it.


Portuguese recipes - caril is a nice one to start with

Portuguese recipes – caril is a nice one to start with

If you are new to Portuguese recipes, this is a lovely one to start with. Why not give it a try and let us know how you get on?