Coxinha (Portuguese: [koˈʃĩj̃ɐ], little [chicken] thigh) is a popular food in Brazil consisting of chopped or shredded chicken meat, covered in dough, molded into a shape resembling a chicken leg, battered and fried.
In the book Stories & Recipes, Nadir Cavazin says that the son of Isabel, Princess Imperial of Brazil (1846-1921) and Prince Gaston, Count of Eu, a child who lived in seclusion for having mental problems had a favorite dish, chicken, but only ate the thigh. One day, not having enough thigh, the cook decided to turn a whole chicken into thighs, shredding it and making the filling for a flour dough shaped into a drumstick. The child endorsed the results. Empress Teresa Cristina, when she was visiting him, could not resist the tasty delicacy; she liked it so much she requested that the master of the imperial kitchen learn how to prepare the snack.
The coxinha is based on dough made with wheat flour and chicken broth and optionally mashed potato, which is filled with shredded spiced chicken meat, or a whole chicken thigh. The filling consists of chicken, and onions, parsley and scallions, and occasionally tomato sauce, turmeric and catupiry cheese. The coxinha is coated in batter , then in bread crumbs or manioc flour and deep fried. It is shaped to roughly resemble a chicken leg. The dough used to coat the filling is generally prepared with the broth of the chicken, enhancing the flavor of the coating.
Different variations of the original are becoming more prevalent today – for example, the coxinha mineira, for which the filling includes maize, so named because maize is deemed a culinary tradition in the state of Minas Gerais, as well as areas where the caipira and sertanejo dialects are spoken. Cheese coxinhas are also very common in snack bars. To mark the cheese coxinhas they usually have a toothpick where the bone would be in a chicken coxinha.
Other unconventional ingredients, generally used for home-made coxinhas made by aficionados, include peas, chopped button mushrooms, palmheart, carrot, as well whole-wheat flour batter or even a vegetarian version of either textured vegetable protein (soy meat) or falafel with appropriate seasonings so its taste resembles a traditional coxinha more closely . Nevertheless, these variants are rarely to be found in snack bars.
Coxinha literally means “little thigh”, and it is how deep fried chicken legs are informally named in Brazil (coxa frita means a deep fried chicken leg, while sobrecoxa frita stands for a deep fried upper drumstick; It is not uncommon for people having a strong preference for certain poultry cuts over others). Battered and deep fried chicken breast pieces, for example, are generally called by a name of English influence, nugget.
Ingredients n Steps:
- Place the 1.5 pounds chicken breasts in a large shallow pot. Cover them with the chicken broth, adding water if necessary to make sure the chicken breasts are covered by at least 1/2″ of liquid. Add 1 carrot(grated) and one of the onions (peeled and halved) as well as 2 bay leaves. Bring liquid to a gentle simmer, and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until chicken is just cooked through (barely pink in the middle of the thickest part). It’s necessary to cut into the chicken to tell when it is done, if some of the breasts cook more quickly, you can remove them earlier. Set chicken aside to cool, and strain the broth. Shred the chicken into very small pieces with your fingers n then stir the softened cream cheese and lime juice into the shredded chicken.
- chop the onion and 2cloves minced garlic. Sauté the onion and garlic in 2 tablespoons of butter until golden and soft. (i add grated carrot n minced green onion n parsley)
- Add the hot onions and garlic to the chicken mixture and stir until everything is well mixed. Cook, stirring constantly, until the cream cheese is melted and everything is incorporated.
- Bring the 3cup chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan with 1tbs olive oil/butter, 1ts salt n 1/4ts (you can add minced green onion) and then gradually stir in the same amount of flour as you have broth (so if you have 3 1/2 cups broth, add 3 1/2 cups flour or you can add mashed potato (flour2 cup n mashed potato 1 1/2 cup)).
- Stir vigorously and cook for 2-3 minutes with low heat. Mixture will become a stiff dough, remove from heat and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- At this point, you can chill the chicken mixture and the dough for several hours or overnight.
- To shape the coxinhas, take a piece of the dough about the size of a golf ball with floured hands. Roll it into a ball, then hollow out the middle for the filling n then press the dough closed around the filling. Shape into an approximate drumstick/teardrops shape, flouring hands as necessary.
- Whisk the eggs together with 5tbs cold water n 1tbs honey in a bowl. Place the bread crumbs and season with salt and pepper.
- Dip the coxinhas in the egg, then in the breadcrumbs to coat until all your coxinhas are coated in breadcrumbs. Chill the breaded coxinhas for 1 hour n then heat enough oil to cover the coxinhas (so you don’t have to keep turning them) in a saucepan. You don’t wanna start frying your coxinhas before your oil is hot enough, as they would get soggy and oily. You also don’t want the oil to be too hot as they would burn on the outside. A good way of knowing if the oil is at the right temperature is adding a little ball of dough to the oil. When the dough rises, the oil is at the right temperature to start frying your coxinhas. You could also toss a match in the oil and wait for it to light up. When the match lights up, the oil is hot.
- Fry the coxinhas until they are golden, remove the fried coxinhas to a plate covered in paper towels. Serve warm, nice cooking all.