a-to-z-letters-xLike a few others, it took a lot of searching to find something to match with the letter X.  It took going through blogs dedicated to the uncommon foods to help broaden a foodies’ tastes.  Xacuti is definitely something to broaden anyone’s horizons.  It’s an adventure in spices and technique to make anyone wonder if the effort would be worth it in the end. If you like spicy food, then this would be a dish to try.  Just make sure the cast iron coating on your stomach is strong.

There isn’t much of anything about this dish anywhere on the net.  At most, there is only a blurb stating that it comes from the Goan state in India with roots in Portuguese cuisine.  It is listed as a dish with a complex spice mix that includes white poppy seeds, coconut, and red chilies.  The meats involved are beef, chicken, or lamb, so there’s a way to keep it inexpensive for us poor folk.

Red chilies?  I may want to pass on this unless I know I won’t be going anywhere for the next day or two.  It does sound good and the pictures I’ve found look good.  Curious?  Yes.  I just may have to try this one myself.

On to the recipe!



Goan Beef Xacuti


For the stew:
3/4 kg beef/mutton pieces – medium size with some bones
1 medium onion – chopped
2 dry red chillies
3 cardamoms
One 1 inch stick of cinnamon
1 bay leaf
1 tsp garlic ginger paste
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
cooking oil
salt to taste

For the masala:
1 medium onion – chopped
4 tbsp grated coconut
One 1 inch stick of cinnamon
3 cardamoms
4 cloves
3 dry red chillies
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp of peppercorns
2 tbsp coriander seeds
4-6 cloves of garlic
Optional spices: 2 tbsp poppy seeds (khus khus), 1/2 tsp ajwain, 1tsp fennel/saunf seeds, 2 black star-spice

For the gravy: 
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large potato, cut into medium size cubes, forked on each side
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tbsp of tamarind pulp or vinegar
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg – optional
cooking oil
Salt to taste


For the stew:

  1. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pressure cooker or thick-bottomed pan and fry the onions till brown.
  2. Add the whole spices & fry well.
  3. Add the turmeric, salt & tomatoes, fry well.
  4. Add the washed meat & fry well till it evenly changes the color from pink to brown.
  5. Add water enough to just cover the meat layer & cook till the meat is tender (1 whistle on high & 40 mins simmer if in a pressure cooker).

For the masala:

  1. Heat a pan & dry-roast the chopped onion to light brown.
  2. Add the coconut & fry till evenly brown, stirring well. Transfer this to the mixer/grinder.
  3. Then, dry roast all the other ‘masala’ spices on medium heat, mixing well, till a nice aroma is given out. You can add a few drops of oil if needed.
  4. Add this to the grinder & grind well, with some water to a smooth paste.

For the gravy:

  1. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a thick-bottom non-stick vessel & fry onion till brown.
  2. Add the masala, 2 tbsp at a time and fry well each time.
  3. Add the tomato paste & fry well for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the potato cubes & some of the stew liquid. Cook covered, till potatoes are done.
  5. Add the meat & remaining stew, along with some nutmeg, salt to taste & 2 tbsp vinegar or tamarind pulp. Add water if you need more fluid.
  6. Simmer for a few minutes & serve hot with boiled rice or pav.