February 4, 2015

Macanese Style Portuguese Curry Chicken 葡國雞

Macanese, Style, Portuguese, Curry Chicken, recipe, food, macau, Macau, Portugal chicken
By Published: 2015-02-04
I'm always so happy when I get a chance to write about Macau. It's a place that pulls me in some way, there's something so interesting about this little city that started out as one of the first European trading port cities in Asia and now, 500 years later, is a gracefully beautiful yet contradictory grand dame, full of sometimes shocking flirtations and many, many secrets doors into her long, intricate past. 

One very interesting part of this past of Macau is the ethnic group known as the Macanese otherwise known as the folks who are/were born with Portuguese and Macau ancestry.  ( Macau was for a long, long time a Portuguese colony. )  

The Macanese developed the eclectic original fusion food known as Macanese Food, a mix of Portuguese and Chinese cuisine that is very distinctly their own.  We were reminiscing eagerly about Macau today and about how much we missed the delicious food there and oh, we should make a short trip soon, blah, blah, blah.  

Long story short, what else to do to stave off our cravings but to make this yummilicious Macanese Style Portuguese Curry Chicken Portuguese Chicken 葡國雞, a dish unique to Macau and Macanese food!

Macanese, Style, Portuguese, Curry Chicken, recipe, food, macau, Macau, Portugal chicken
The façade of St. Paul's Cathedral in Macau by Wilhelm Heine, 1854

This is an early drawing of the facade of St. Paul's Cathedral, which is the number one tourist attraction in Macau.  You can see even then that it was a center focus for the community.  Note the mixture of Chinese and European peoples and architecture in the illustration.  Fascinating, right?  

The other thing that makes the city of Macau so lovely to me is that the city has not changed so much (unlike the constantly shifting mirage of a city that I live in ) and one can walk down the streets and be inspired and touched by the history and stories of all the years and lives that have passed in this place. 

 If you're interested you can check out this great footage of old Macau (1960's to 1970's) which shows a city that is simpler,  slower yet still bustling with activity.  Street markets, rickshaws, street hawkers (yummy food!),  school children at play, firework factory ( umm ... Child Labor Alert! ), dragon dance, dragon boat races, catholic parades, etc.  Very interesting blast to the past!

Macanese, Style, Portuguese, Curry Chicken, recipe, food, macau, Macau, Portugal chicken
Tumeric and Curry Powder

But back to our lovely Macanese Style Portuguese Curry.  As you might have guessed the spices of curry and turmeric are not used in traditional Portuguese cooking.  For that matter they are not used in traditional Chinese cooking either.  So why the heck are curry and turmeric showing up in Macanese cooking?  

My guess is that since Macau was very much a major port city, with ships coming in from all parts of Asia, these spices came in on those ships from places like India and were eventually incorporated by the enterprising cooks of Macau into their cuisine.  A sort of early food fusion, luckily for us!

 ( For a great Read on Macanese Food Cookbook Check out  Taste of Macau: Portuguese Cuisine on the China Coast )

This Macanese style curry is unique from other curries in that it incorporates coconut cream as well as Chinese flavors such as soy sauce, rice wine and ginger juice to create a creamy, savoury, mild curry that is just delightful.  We have been using a new brand of organic spices that I really, really like, the spices are super fresh, the curry powder is delicious and mild, the turmeric really fresh and tasty. 

Macanese, Style, Portuguese, Curry Chicken, recipe, food, macau, Macau, Portugal chicken

Curry is one of those foods that you just MUST have every once in a while, is not it?  We have been longing for curry for a while as our little girl, now 5 years old, has not been a fan of spiciness.  So, we've courageously done without curry for many a year.  But we were always longing for it, that luscious unique curriness of it all!  

So my 老公 finally decided to try a curry dish anyways, hoping that my little girl's tender tastebuds would accept a light creamy delicious mild curry like this Macanese Style Portuguese Curry Chicken.  And what do you know!  She loved it!  And finished her bowl of curry over rice faster than we did!  Yummilicious!

Macanese, Style, Portuguese, Curry Chicken, recipe, food, macau, Macau, Portugal chicken
Macanese Style Portugese Curry Chicken Recipe 葡國雞
(Prep time: 15 mins  Cook time: 25 mins)



Mix the chicken pieces with the marinade and let sit for 15 minutes.  Add 2 tbsp olive oil to a hot wok and carefully slip the chicken pieces in, reserving the marinade.  Fry over medium heat until chicken is browned on both sides and approx 70% cooked.  

Remove the chicken from wok, keeping the oil, and add in onions.  Stir fry over low heat until onions are soft and starting to brown.  Add in potatoes, carrot, olives, chicken, curry powder and turmeric.  Gently fold until thoroughly combined and you can smell the scent of the curry and turmeric.  

Add in coconut cream, milk, reserved marinade and top up with enough chicken stock to cover the ingredients.  Turn heat up until it boils, cover and turn heat down to medium low and cook for 15 minutes.  Should be quite saucy, if not add a bit of boiling water.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add a scoop of rice into your serving dishes, then top with a generous scoop of curry and garnish with a bit of coriander. Enjoy your Macanese dish!

Macanese Inspiration at The Hong Kong Cookery:

hong kong, chinese noodle, shrimp roe noodle, traditionalChinese Shrimp Roe Noodles 蝦子面

Macanese, macau, recipe, shrimp, Soup, Vermicelli, 澳門, 米粉, 蝦湯Macanese Shrimp Vermicelli Soup 澳門蝦湯米粉

chinese, steamed chicken, lotus leaf, tou tou koi, macau, recipeLotus Leaf Steamed Chicken 荷葉蒸雞


  1. I like it so much, thanks for sharing

  2. Instead of just Milk, used condensed Milk. Makes all the difference!

    1. Thanks MKVV - will definitely try condensed milk next time! ~ellen

  3. i think it should be carnation milk not condensed milk

    1. Carnation is a brand that sells condensed milk ~ellen

    2. it should be evaporated milk - condensed milk is as sweet as honey

    3. Yes, you're absolutely right, it should be evaporated milk! ~ellen

  4. Hi, Ellen!
    If I were to use cubed boneless chicken thighs, instead of chicken wings, how many pounds would I need for this recipe? Thanks!

    1. Hum...the conversion would work out to be around 1 and a half to 2 lbs. ~ellen

  5. Chicken should remain skin on. I know, skinless is healthier but the taste of the skin makes a biiiiiig difference.