African Chicken – Macau favourite dishes


The following African Chicken recipe has been converted to metric units wherever possible. There may be small amounts of round-off error.

This dish remains popular in Macau.

The african chicken dish shows the influences of Portugal on Asian cooking, most notably by their introducing ingedients like peppers and peanuts to Asia. Macau was for centuries a place where East met West, and that is reflected in the cooking there to this day.

This recipe is supposed to be the version formerly served at Henri’s Galley in Macau. Henri’s still exists but the dish there has changed. A similar recipe appeared in an article on Macau in Gourmet Magazine in the ’80s.

A 3 -3 1/2 lb. Chicken, halved, quartered or cut into pieces.
Marinade for Chicken
5 ml minced dried hot chile pepper
5 ml minced garlic
30 ml minced shallot
5 ml paprika
10 ml Chinese five-spice powder
10 ml crumbled dried rosemary
Salt & Pepper to taste.
237 ml minced shallot
118 ml minced garlic
355 ml minced red bell pepper (or smaller qty of hotter red peppers if desired)
59 ml canola oil
118 ml sweet paprika
237 ml grated coconut
118 ml natural peanut butter
355 ml chicken stock
2 bay leaves
44 ml canola oil
1 baking potato (or 4-5 new potatoes)

Mix marinade ingredients, rub into chicken and marinate covered in fridge overnight. Adding a little oil to the marinade helps the rub stick to the chicken.

Sweat shallots, garlic and peppers in oil over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are softened.

Add paprika, coconut, peanut butter, bay leaf and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about ten minutes. Discard the bay leaves. Keep warm.

Heat oil medium high in a frypan and brown the chicken well with the potato cut into one inch cubes. Even better, grill the chicken, and brown potato seperately.

Transfer chicken and potatoes to baking dish, spoon 2 cups of the sauce over, and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes if in pieces, a little longer if in halves. Finish with remaining sauce, and serve.

Below is another method of preparing the African Chicken.

African Chicken (Galinha à Africana) in the style of Henri’s Galley

Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Macanese
Serves: 4-6 servings


  • 4 pounds of bone-in chicken quarters with the skin on (see post for comment)
  • One teaspoon dried red pepper powder or cayenne pepper
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • One shallot weighing about one ounce, minced
  • One teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder (available at most Asian stores)
  • 2 teaspoons crumbled dried rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • One teaspoon ground black or white pepper
  • 3 one-ounce shallots, peeled
  • 6 large cloves garlic, peeled
  • One medium red bell pepper, stemmed, deseeded, cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup sweet paprika (see post for comment)
  • ¾ cup coconut cream (the thick part that rise to the top of the can)
  • ¼ cup natural, unsweetened smooth peanut butter (or ¼ cup roasted peanuts, ground in a mortar until smooth)
  • ¾ cup chicken broth, preferably sodium-free (if not, go easy on the salt)
  • One dried bay leaf
  • One teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons honey or brown sugar (see post for comment)
  • 16 medium pitted olives (optional, see post for comment)
  • 1½ pounds Yukon Gold potatoes


  1. Place the chicken in a mixing bowl. Add the marinade ingredients to it and rub it all over the chicken. Cover and chill 4-6 hours or overnight.
  2. In the meantime, make the sauce (the sauce can be made 2-3 days ahead and kept chilled). Chop the shallots, garlic, and red bell pepper chunks in a food processor until they turn into tiny bits, about the size of a match head.
  3. Put the oil in a 3-quart sauté pan, set over medium-high heat. Add the prepared aromatics and stir constantly until everything is soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the paprika, coconut milk, peanut butter, chicken broth, bay leaf, salt, and honey; whisk well. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Pick out and discard the bay leaf. Stir in the olives. Set aside.
  4. Half-fill a half-gallon saucepan with water and bring to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil, peel and cut the potatoes into 3-inch cubes (if you use baby Yukon Gold, simple peel them and leave them whole). Boil the potatoes for 2 minutes. Drain and cool. We’re only partially cooking them, so don’t worry if the potatoes aren’t soft.
  5. Preheat the broiler and set the rack in the middle of the oven.
  6. Arrange the chicken pieces, skin side down, in a 9x13x3 baking dish. Broil the flesh side of chicken just until it turns opaque; it’s okay of the chicken isn’t thoroughly cooked. Flip the chicken over so the skin is now on top. Wipe the garlic and shallot bits off the skin, so they don’t burn. Broil the skin side, watching closely, just until the skin turns golden brown and slightly charred. Remove the pan from the oven. Drain off the fat.
  7. Switch the oven to the baking mode. Set it at 375F.
  8. Pour the prepared sauce over the chicken. Tuck the parboiled potato cubes between the chicken pieces. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 50 minutes.
  9. Take the pan out of the oven. Remove the foil. You will see that in the process of baking, the chicken has released lots of juice into what seemed like too little sauce (and perhaps too thick) earlier. No worries. You’re not going to end up with watery sauce. Let the chicken cool, uncovered in the pan, for 15 minutes. The sauce will thicken somewhat upon standing.
  10. Taste to see if it needs more salt. Then serve with crusty bread or plain rice.

The recipe first appeared in:

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