Saturday, January 26, 2008

Chicken Cafreal at Florentine

Chicken Cafreal, originated as Galinha (Frango) Piri-piri, a grilled bush dish from Mozambique. When the Portuguese came into contact with this, several changes were made to the dish when it was brought to another Portuguese colony, Goa. Galinha Cafreal had incorporated several Portuguese herbs, like Cilantro (coriander), and was no longer grilled but fried.

The best Cafreal in Goa can be found at a small restaurant called Florentine. Just keep driving down the CHOGM road, after Porvorim, just off NH 17, until you will see a large arch with the name "Villa Saligao". For years, this arch and resort have meant nothing but a landmark for Florentine, which is in a lane just to the left of Villa Saligao. Florentine is very basic, very local, and to get a table you actually have to go and tell the occupants of a table that you're next. Notwithstanding the care-a-damn attitude of the management, if you fancy an early dinner, get your table, ask for a beer and a half of their Chicken Cafreal.

(The pic in this plate is a quarter. I know it's messy but the waiter was in a hurry)

So what's so great about it? Everything. Cafreal is a mix of herbs and spices which produces a taste unlike any other flavour in Indian cuisine - it seems like a coriander chutney but it isn't. The Chicken in Florentine is shallow fried after intensive marination, and is cooked with the skin on, which contributes to the moistness of the chicken. The chicken has no gravy,just a hint of a sauce. Best eaten with Poli, if you really need it.

As an accompaniment, Dad loves the fried Bombil, or Bombay Duck. The Bombay Duck is actually a fish, and is actually a fish very high on water retention. When cut and drained (many people place heavy stones on the fish after salting it) and fried, it turns out nice and crispy, with fine, soft bones that you can swallow with ease. Am more a fan of the Bombil at Gajalee, though. But that's for another post.

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