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What is Xacutti? When I started researching recipes for our A-Z series, when I came to ‘X’ I hit a brick wall.

Stop and think for a minute. How many foods do you prepare that begin with the letter ‘X’?

It took me a couple of days to come up with one. Thanks to the country of India we have one.

So what is Xacutti (pronounced sha-kooti)?

It is a very rich chicken masala dish that is packed with spices, some that we don’t use on a regular basis in the U.S. This recipe will require a trip to an Asian market.

This recipe is not one that will be prepared in 30 minutes when you come home from work. It might be best done on a weekend. Prep time is 4o minutes with a cooking time of 1 hour.

Xacutti xacutti


  • 1 cloves of garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 1 (3/4 inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon tamarind concentrate*
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chile powder
  • 1 whole chicken, skin removed, cut into pieces

Xacutti Masala

  • 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1/2 Tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 6 whole Kashmiri chiles*
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 Tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped unsalted peanuts

Sauce Base

  • 5 Tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 3 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly grated coconut, plus extra for garnish
  • Kosher salt (I use No Salt)
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato puree
  • 4 ounces boiling water

For Service

  • 4 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 lime cut into wedges

*can be found in Asian markets

Directions for the Marinade

  1. In a food processor, blend the cilantro, cloves, ginger, and garlic into a paste
  2. Add the turmeric, tamarind concentrate, and the chile powder to taste and stir until all is combined
  3. Rub this mixture all over the chicken parts. (Be sure not to touch your eyes)

Directions for the Xacutti Masala

  1. Heat a small frying pan over a medium heat and add the poppy seeds, sesame seeds, cloves, chiles, pepper, cinnamon stick, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and unsalted peanuts.
  2. Let them dry in the pan for about 30-45 seconds.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder.

Directions for the Sauce Base

  1. In a separate frying pan, heat 2 Tablespoons of the oil over a medium heat.
  2. When the oil begins to have little waves in it, add half of the chopped onions and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until they begin to brown.
  3. Add the grated coconut and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Stir frequently so the coconut will not burn.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.


Directions for the Chicken

  1. In another large frying pan, heat 3 Tablespoons of oil and add the remaining chopped onions. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until they begin to brown.
  2. Add the marinated chicken pieces to the onions along with the marinade that is left in the bowl. Cook for 4-5 minutes stirring continuously, or until the chicken begins to brown.
  3. Add in the reserved coconut and onion mixture and stir.
  4. Continue cooking for 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add the masala mixture to the pan and stir it all together.
  6. Bring everything to a simmer and let it cook for 4-5 minutes or until the oil begins to separate from the mixture.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. After the whole mixture has cooked for 4-5 minutes, add the boiling water and tomato puree and bring to a boil.
  9. Reduce to a low heat and let it simmer for 20 – 30 minutes or until the chicken is tender and the sauce has thickened. Stir frequently.

To Serve

  1. Spoon the xacutti onto serving plates.
  2. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.

Grocery List

  • garlic
  • fresh ginger
  • cilantro
  • whole chicken
  • sesame seeds
  • poppy seeds
  • unsalted peanuts
  • fresh coconut
  • tomato puree
  • fresh lime

Pantry List

  • turmeric
  • red chile powder
  • cloves
  • black pepper
  • fennel seeds
  • cinnamon stick
  • coriander seeds
  • cumin seeds
  • vegetable oil
  • onions

Asian Market List

  • tamarind concentrate
  • Kashmiri chiles


This recipe is very involved and very spicy, as is most Indian food. This is not a recipe to put on to cook and go watch a movie.

I think a group cook with several friend would make this one even more fun, with everyone in the kitchen at once laughing and having a good time. Even clean up afterward wouldn’t be bad if it had been fun cooking.

Let us know if you give this one a try, especially since it is so involved. Tell us how you liked it. And as always, let us know how you liked any of the recipes from Moments With Myra. 

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