Galinhada is the most delicious Brazilian version of the duo rice with chicken. This is a practical, inexpensive and flavourful recipe. After all, you only need one pan to make this chicken and rice recipe. It goes well with weekends’ lunch and it’s so easy to prepare that you can always make it.
It is nothing new that cooking rice with chicken in the same pan works very well. This duo is also present in many typical dishes around the world: Biriyani, Arroz con Pollo, Paella Valenciana (yes, the original dish takes chicken), just to name a few. The Galinhada is one of the most delicious Brazilian contributions to this list.
The story of Galinhada
The Galinhada dish was created by Portuguese influence, which already had the habit of raising and eating chickens, differently from the indigenous natives of Brazil. This rice with chicken recipe was disseminated by the southeast states, mainly with the help of the Brazilian Bandeirantes, who, like the Tropeiros, had a very important role in the history of hick cuisine in Brazil.
Along the way, the recipe gained new ingredients according to local ingredients available in each region. In Minas Gerais state, chicken with okra is common, in Goiás state, pequi and gabiroba, two ingredients from Cerrado biome. But, in general, the base is always the same: rice, chicken (preferably free-range) and spices.
The secret of how to prepare a good Galinhada recipe
For me, the great trick of this recipe is to season the chicken well and prepare it in one pot only. First, brown the chicken, then add the base of the stew and then the rice. This way you ensure that the dish has a very harmonious flavour. Another secret, if using chicken that is a little tougher, it is important to give a brine bath to tenderize the meat.
I’m from the interior of the state of São Paulo, this is my favourite chicken with rice recipe, similar to what my grandmother used to make on Sunday’s lunch. Simple, practical and delicious. Now if you want to add okra, corn kernels or any other ingredient, just add them before adding the cooking water. Success is guaranteed.
Galinhada Recipe – Traditional Brazilian dish of rice with chicken
- 1,5 kg chicken thigh and drumstick skin-on bone-in – skin-on bone-in – cut into pieces
- 1 ½ cup rice
- 3 cup water – or homemade vegetable stock
- 4 tomatoes
- 1 red pepper
- 2 onions
- 5 garlic cloves
- ⅓ cups cilantro leaves – or parsley
- 6 staks green onions
- 1 tbsp cumin powder
- 1 tbsp paprika powder
- 1 tbsp turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp salt
- ground black pepper – to taste
- 1 lime – squeezed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Season the chicken pieces with powdered spices (turmeric, paprika, and cumin). Let it sit at room temperature while preparing the other ingredients.
- Cut the onion, tomatoes and red pepper into cubes. Smash the garlic and chop. Separate the coriander leaves and chop. Slice the green onion stalks into thin slices. Reserve all ingredients.
- Bring a large and wide pan to high heat. When heated, add the oil and sear the chicken pieces. Avoid stirring, just turn them to brown on all sides. Note: All pieces need to be in contact with the bottom of the pan, if your pan is not wide enough or if chicken releases its juice at the bottom of the pan, divide the process into steps.
- When all chicken pieces are golden brown, remove them from the pan and set aside in a bowl.
- In the same pan, add a little oil and sauté the garlic and onion over medium heat until golden brown. Add the pepper, stir for a few minutes. If you wish, add a little more of the powdered spices.
- Add rice to the pan, the lemon juice, stir well. Scrap the bottom of the pan with the spatula. Stir fry everything for about 2 min.
- Return the chicken pieces to the pan. Add salt and tomatoes. Mix well.
- Add the water, when it starts to boil, lower the heat and cook until the water is dry (approx. 20 minutes).
- When the water has gone, add the chopped green onions and cilantro, mix well.
- Leave the pan to sit covered with the lid for 5 minutes, then serve.
Stir-fried okra with tomato is the perfect match for this recipe. Additionally, how about serving a yoghurt sauce with olive oil on the side?