非洲雞/Galinha à Africana (African Chicken from Macau)

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I’m not a competitive person by nature. But! If the first time you meet me is on July 4th, in the vicinity of Chez BabyChili, then you may not really believe that last statement. Especially if you are also in the process of placing a beercan chicken on the grill. Because once a year, during Battle Beercan Chicken, IT. IS. ON.

Ben’s annual BBC is one of my favorite traditions. So much so that at the start of every summer, you will find me constantly bugging him about when it’s happening. I know. It’s always held on July 4th. I know. But hey, my mama didn’t raise no fact-assuming, non-triple-checking fool!

For weeks before July 4th, you’ll also find me constantly forcing Nathan to brainstorm chicken strategies with me. Last year, we almost tasted victory with “Imitation Seoul,” our not-exactly-authentic Korean chicken and first foray into the world of Asian-inspired beercan chickens (our two prior entries being both squarely in the Latin-American realm). Since it was the top performing chicken so far in rice&wheat beercan chicken history, we decided to try for yet another Asian-inspired entry this year.

The only problem with that decision is that through the years, we’ve noticed an increasing convergence towards Asian flavors. So we had to think of some way to distinguish our Asiany chicken from everyone else’s, something slightly unexpected and exotic. Ah ha! Asian and slightly exotic? Why, that just happens to be my definition of Macau!

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by Macau, a former Portuguese colony just a short hoverboat(yes!) ride away from Hong Kong. I love that the street signs there are bilingual in Chinese and Portuguese. I love the colonial architecture that at times, makes you feel like you’re in Europe. And I love love love Macanese cuisine, which is the sort of fusion cuisine that has been around long before “fusion cuisine” was even a thing.

This African Chicken here is one fine example. Just read over the list of ingredients and it’s not hard to spot influences from Africa (peanut), India (coconut), Portugal (smoked paprika or pimenton), and China (five-spice powder). We tested the original recipe, a silky stew/curry with a gorgeous color, and immediately fell in love. So off we went to adapt it for the grill for Battle Beercan Chicken (see Ben’s post for full details).

Alas, the grill version of African Chicken still wasn’t enough to win us that elusive Golden GOB. But I smell a turning of the tides next year. BabyChili best watch it.


Adapted from the recipe in this thread on eGullet.

3 to 3½ lb of chicken pieces (or get a whole one and cut it up yourself)

1 tsp chili powder (less if you don’t like spicy)
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 Tbsp shallot, minced
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp pimenton (if you don’t have it, just substitute with more paprika)
2 tsp five-spice powder
3 tsp of salt
a few turns of freshly ground black pepper

vegetable oil
1 cup shallot, minced (I cheated and used a food processor for this and the garlic. There’s just too much!)
½ cup garlic, minced
½ cup sweet paprika
½ cup grated coconut
2 Tbsp peanut butter
1 cup chicken stock
½ cup coconut milk
2 bay leaves

Night before, marinate the chicken: Mix all the ingredients for the marinade together and rub into chicken. Place the chicken in a bowl or dish and cover with plastic wrap. Let the chicken marinate in the fridge overnight.

Make the sauce: Heat ¼ cup of vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium to medium-low heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 min, stirring often so garlic doesn’t burn. Add paprika and coconut and cook for another few minutes. Add in chicken broth, coconut milk, bay leaves, and peanut butter. Simmer for 10 min over low heat. Hunt down and discard the bay leaves. (Note: This step can be done ahead of time. Just add in 5-10 min to the bake time if using sauce that’s cold from the fridge.)

Finish the dish: Preheat oven to 400F. In a large skillet, heat about 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken on all sides. Once browned, transfer the chicken pieces to a baking dish and cover with the sauce. Alternatively, if you were using an ovenproof saucepan, nestle the chicken pieces in the sauce. Bake for about 30 min, until the sauce is bubbly.

Serve with rice or boiled potatoes.

PS: Make extra rice because you’ll end up with a lot of sauce and even after you finish the chicken, just that sauce over rice is rather good eating.

Yield: 4-6 servings
Time: ~1 hour prep + 30 min baking + marinating overnight


  1. Jackie said:
    25 July 2011 at 9:43 am

    So first off: nice new layout! It’s very slick, I like!

    Secondly: I’m crazy jealous that I don’t live in San Francisco or get to spend more time there because a) I want to do this: (I’ve already convinced Ben that it needs to happen next time I’m in town), and b) I reckon the team of Angi-Nathan-Jackie in Battle Beer Can Chicken would steal that GOB away from the Rhau household!

    But hey, here’s an idea, you should come visit *me* in London and we’ll explore grilling in British Summer, aka. the rain: WAAAAY! :D

    Jax x

    • angi said:
      25 July 2011 at 10:23 am

      Dude, I’ve heard about the Pho Garden craziness – some of my friends have even tried it enough times that they’ve developed strategies, e.g. eat all the noodles quickly so they don’t absorb the broth, etc. But they’ve not yet conquered it. You need to come visit next July 4th because just imagine: taking the golden GOB across the ocean!! Also, I want to come visit you in London!!

  2. Bret said:
    25 July 2011 at 10:09 am

    Hey Angi,

    I found your blog from an @brhau tweet. I’ve been following babychili and kimchimom to get food ideas. This recipe looks great and I can’t wait to try it. One issue I found with your blog (maybe it’s my browser, Chrome) is that I can’t seem to subscribe via RSS or click on the twitter link. Hopefully it’s just me.

    Happy eating,

    • angi said:
      25 July 2011 at 10:20 am

      Welcome Bret! And thanks SO MUCH for letting me know about the bug in Chrome. I just checked and you’re totally right – I can’t click on those links either. I’ll try to figure out how to fix them but in the meantime, if you want to subscribe via RSS, here’s the link to do so. Let me know how you like the African Chicken if you get a chance to try it out.

  3. Amy K. said:
    25 July 2011 at 12:25 pm

    I LOVE the new look! Very clean and straightforward!!

    And it sounds like you are out for blood next year!

    • angi said:
      25 July 2011 at 4:42 pm

      Oh you better believe it! ;)

  4. elizabeth said:
    25 July 2011 at 4:27 pm

    I love, love, love the new layout–it’s so clean!

    Forgive the question–but by pimenton do you mean Pimenton de la Vera? Because that’s just Spanish for paprika that comes in sweet, semi-sweet and hot varieties, but it comes directly from Spain (as opposed to Hungary or other places). We’re always looking for new rubs for chicken and this one looks really tasty.

    • angi said:
      25 July 2011 at 4:44 pm

      Thanks Elizabeth! And yes, Pimenton de la Vera is what I meant – the Spanish paprika that’s smokier in flavor than regular paprika. It’s usually sold in little red rectangular tins, I believe. We use the hot kind in our house but the sweet/semi-sweet kinds should be totally fine too. I just love the smoky flavor!

  5. Liren said:
    25 July 2011 at 8:41 pm

    Angi, the new look is so sleek! Very nice indeed. Living the bloody chicken battles, I am going to have to try this to get a taste of this year’s event, your recipe sounds amazing. Gorgeous ingredients!

    • angi said:
      1 August 2011 at 4:07 pm

      Thanks so much, Liren! I definitely suggest trying all of the recipes from this year’s battle – they were all so incredible. :)

  6. baobabs said:
    25 July 2011 at 9:30 pm

    i LOVE this dish, I always go to Cafe Litorial in Taipa, Macau for this dish when I’m there most weekends. it’s great!! Am a little daunted to try the recipe, thanks for sharing!!!

    • angi said:
      1 August 2011 at 4:09 pm

      I’ve actually never eaten this at the source (i.e. Macau) before, so I must remedy that situation next time I go back that way. Now I know which place to go – thanks Juliana!

  7. Tunde said:
    5 August 2011 at 4:40 pm

    I love the new layout. Real fresh and so clean… about to jump into an Outkast skit.

    I loved reading the beercan chicken post on Ben’s blog. This sound like a really tasty chicken. I can just smell the spices and envision the savory sauce. BabyChilli better watch his back.

    • angi said:
      26 August 2011 at 10:20 am

      Thanks Tunde! Man, if only you had been at the BBQ/competition – I needed your vote! :)

  8. Gemma said:
    26 August 2011 at 2:02 am

    Great recipe, we ate this last night at Antionio’s in Taipa, amazing dish!

    Just a question, do you really mean 1/2 a cup of paprika in the sauce?


    • angi said:
      26 August 2011 at 10:22 am

      Hi Gemma, indeed the recipe calls for 1/2 cup of paprika – not a typo. It’s a LOT of paprika! But I think that’s what gives it such a red color and strong paprika flavor. If it still seems a bit too crazy, the first time you make it, maybe try it with less paprika (like 1/4 cup) and see how you like it. Then you can decide whether to go up to the full 1/2 cup next time.

  9. Anne said:
    29 August 2011 at 10:54 am

    Hey Angi! This looked so gorgeous that we made it last night. It was delicious and so easy! I’m glad that we made a lot of rice, because that sauce was DELISH spooned over it.

    • angi said:
      16 September 2011 at 8:44 am

      Yay Anne! You’re right that you end up with loads of sauce – actually I’m going to edit the recipe now to remind people to make more rice than usual. Thanks!

  10. Susan said:
    26 February 2012 at 9:59 am

    What a delightful find, your website looks great. I discovered it through I love the look of this recipe, you can never have too many chicken recipes in my opinion. I will subscribe by RSS fee and keep an eye open for you!
    Thank you!

    • angi said:
      13 March 2012 at 1:01 am

      Thanks for visiting, Susan! I hope you enjoy this recipe!

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