Easy and tasty, you can’t go wrong with this one-pot Brazilian chicken and rice dish. I’m sure this hearty galinhada recipe will win a place in your recipe book.
It’s not a secret that Brazilian food is not only hearty but diverse, just like the country.
Our food has European, African, Middle Eastern, Asian, and obviously South American influences.
From ingredients to ways of preparing the dishes, Brazilian cuisine is, without a doubt, diversified.
And galinhada is one of the dishes where we can clearly see the international influence.
Galinhada pronunciation: gah-leen-YA-dah
Galinhada is by far one of the most traditional Brazilian chicken recipes. Well, at least in the central-southern half of the country.
The galinhada is a typical Midwestern dish made with rice, chicken, and vegetables. (Galinha means “chicken” in Portuguese.)
From which Brazilian state does galinhada come?
Some say this Brazilian recipe comes from Goiás, others say from Minas Gerais. In fact, no one knows where it really came from.
But it’s important to know that each state uses different ingredients when preparing the famous Brazilian chicken and rice dish.
For instance, in Goiás, people add chili pepper, turmeric, and pequi (souari nut), a native fruit from Amazon, and the Brazilian savanna, abundant in Brazil’s central-west region.
My roots: galinhada mineira
However, because my mom comes from Minas Gerais, we’ll prepare the galinhada recipe from that Brazilian state.
(Which in a way it’s better for you because where will you find pequi if you’re not in Brazil?)
That’s the recipe I often had at home and the one I learned how to love. I hope you’ll too.
Galinhada origins: the Brazilian chicken and rice
Galinhada is a tasty one-pot meal and by far one of the most straightforward Brazilian main dishes to prepare. It’s ready to serve within one hour.
But before talking about its instructions, I’ll briefly tell you the origins of this famous one-pot Brazilian chicken recipe.
Legend has it that the Portuguese descendants who worked as Bandeirantes (slaves and precious metals’ hunters) in the 17th-century used to prepare a stew of rice and chicken for themselves.
And because the route most traveled by these hunters crossed the states of São Paulo, Minas Gerais, and Goiás, galinhada became popular in this region.
Later, this recipe was adopted by the tropeiros (drovers) who also used the same roads to move their cattle between the states.
These drovers also came up with their own dish, which is a perfect hangover cure, the feijão tropeiro.
Feijão tropeiro is a hearty dish with brown beans, cassava flour, eggs, sausage, and more. It’s delicious. No worries, once I write about it, I’ll link it here.
Tips for a perfect galinhada
- You don’t need to wait long! Tough cuts of meat may benefit from lengthy marinades, but chicken actually does best with short soaks. Let it marinate for 30 minutes.
- Time is on your side! Boil the water in a tea kettle to speed up cooking time.
How to prepare galinhada
This galinhada recipe is a one-pot meal, therefore rest assured it’s quick and easy to make.
Dissolve a bouillon cube in half a glass of water and mix it with lemon juice for the marinade.
Place the chicken and marinade in a closed, non-reactive container, such as a glass container or resealable plastic bag. Put it in the refrigerator.
Meanwhile, chop and dice all vegetables and boil the water in a tea kettle. Put it aside.
After the chicken has marinated, heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and add the chicken pieces. Cook until golden brown, approximately 6 to 10 minutes.
In the same pan, sauté the Brazilian sofrito or onion and garlic for 2 minutes. After that, add the rice, tomato paste, bell pepper, and water, stirring well.
Cover the pan, turn down the heat, and cook for about 15 minutes until the rice has absorbed most of the water.
Add the peas and mix. Remove from heat and transfer to large a serving bowl.
Sprinkle the parsley and serve next. Bom apetite!
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- 11 ounces (300 grams) chicken breast, cut into large pieces
- 2 bouillon cubes, dissolved in half glass of water
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic (minced) and 1 medium white onion (chopped) OR 3 tablespoons Brazilian sofrito
- 12.7 ounces (360 grams) white rice, washed
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 red bell pepper, small diced
- 3.5 ounces (100 grams) frozen peas
- 1 tablespoons parsley, chopped
- Salt and ground pepper to taste
- 5 cups (1200 milliliters) boiling water
- Dissolve a bouillon cube in half a glass of water and mix it with lemon juice for the marinade.
- Place the chicken and marinade in a closed, non-reactive container, such as a glass container or resealable plastic bag. Put it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, chop and dice all vegetables, wash the rice, and boil the water in a tea kettle. Put it aside.
- After the chicken has marinated, heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and add the chicken pieces. Cook until golden brown, approximately 6 to 10 minutes.
- In the same pan, sauté the onion and garlic. After that, add the rice, tomato paste, bell pepper, and water, stirring well.
- Cover the pan, turn down the heat, and cook for about 15 minutes until the rice has absorbed the water.
- Add the peas and mix.
- Remove from heat and transfer to large a serving bowl. Bom apetite!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 286Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 386mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 23g