Chicken xim-xim

Chicken xim-xim

Cabana The Cookbook
Martin Poole

Xim-xim is another dish with African origins – in fact, the name comes from an African word for ‘stew’. The traditional recipe calls for dried shrimp, which are popular in Brasil, but have a pungent flavour which isn’t to everyone’s liking, so we’ve substituted tomato paste to give a similar depth to the dish. Our version also includes basmati rice, resulting in a flavoursome, biryani-style one-pot meal. The pastry lid seals in the steam, which creates a moist, flavoursome dish.


Quantity Ingredient
600g boneless and skinless chicken thighs
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
100g roasted unsalted cashews
100g roasted skinless and unsalted peanuts
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cm piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely grated
1-2 long red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
pinch cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons tomato puree
400g tomatoes, chopped
2 teaspoons soft brown sugar
1 bouquet garni
200ml coconut milk
275ml chicken stock
200g basmati rice
200g Four-cheese pastels, dough only
or 200g ready-made puff or shortcrust pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten


  1. Cut the chicken thighs into bite-sized chunks and place in a bowl with the garlic and lime juice. Add ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper, then cover in clingfilm and marinate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, put the cashews and peanuts in a food processor and blend until they resemble coarse crumbs. Remove and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan, add the chicken pieces and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until lightly browned. Remove and set aside.
  3. In the same pan, heat the remaining oil, add the onion and ginger and cook over a medium heat for 4–6 minutes, until softened. Add the chilli, paprika, cayenne pepper and tomato purée and fry for 1–2 minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes, sugar and bouquet garni and stir well. Simmer for 1 minute, then add the coconut milk and chicken stock. Season with the remaining salt and pepper, stir in the rice and return the chicken to the pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent it sticking. (The rice should be part-cooked at this point). Remove and discard the bouquet garni, then transfer to a large ovenproof dish. Leave to cool slightly.
  4. Roll out the pastry thinly on a lightly floured surface to 3 mm thick. (The pastry should be slightly wider than the diameter of the dish). Lightly brush the rim of the dish with the beaten egg, then drape the pastry over it. Press lightly to seal the overhanging crust to the sides of the dish. Brush the surface of the dough with beaten egg. Bake for about 30 minutes, then remove and let stand for 10–15 minutes before serving.
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