What are they? Where do they originate from?
Coxinhas are known as one of the most popular foods in Brazil, consisting of chopped and shredded moist chicken covered in a sweet, soft and chewy dough coated with golden breadcrumbs and moulded into a shape that resembles a tear drop or drumstick. This traditional food is known to be a favourite of many markets within the UK and brings new flavours into every gripping bite.
How did I come across them?
It was when I went to the Ely Food market, that I originally saw these mouth-watering treats sitting comfortably on a display shelf, shining within Sunday's 23 degrees Celsius heat. They radiated like no snack had ever before - dragging me into their wonderful steamy aroma. As my feet began to move on their own, I became trapped within the spicy air hitting my face as I leaned towards the white van decorated in yellow and green.
The menu? The flavours? I had a choice of chicken and cream cheese or buffalo chicken mixed with broccoli cheddar. Somehow, through the haze, I managed to choose. I chose chicken and cream cheese. The thought of the lush sensation in my mouth, of the creamy cheese had drawn me in, I readied my wallet, drawing it from my pocket and stood in line amongst all the others who were also craving this snack. As the queue slowly declined, I became more impatient; the thought of them running out anxiously grew in the back of my mind and throat as I continued to drool over the aroma forecasted for that day.
The price for one at first seemed unforgivable but when I was handed the tennis ball sized goodness, I couldn't resist; the price became an angel in my own sacrifice as I indulged the golden breadcrumb into my mouth and stood as the flavours took over. As soon as the sweet dough hit my mouth it felt like the sun was shining 100% more than it already was despite the high pressure that had already been introduced into this morning's atmosphere.
I knew immediately I had to find out how to make them and experience it for myself without sacrificing anymore of my allowance for something I didn’t realise could so easily be created at home. I knew I had to get to work. Finding the perfect recipes so you and I can both indulge together...
So here you have it: my perfect recipe formulated by me with a hint of internet- interpreted advice.
How to craft your own
For anyone looking to follow a visual tutorial, have a look at the following links below:
The ingredients you will need:
tbsp of Olive Oil
4 Cloves of Garlic
White Onion (Diced)
Paprika or Cayenne Pepper
Salt for flavour
4oz of Cream Cheese for the lush texture when chewing
Chopped Parsley (3 tbsp)
1 tbsp of Salted Butter
2 Whole Cups of Milk
250g of Flour
A nice gooey egg
2 Cups of Golden Breadcrumbs
Enough Oil to fry these delicious treats
You want to start by getting a medium pan and pre-heating it while adding your olive oil and sauté your garlic and onions (frying them quickly in a little hot fat) until they have a soft texture and have the colour brown with a little bit of a shine. After this, you add the pre-shredded chicken, freshly available from your local butchers, which you can easily do with a hand mixer which actually saves a lot of time compared to using the manual method of two forks with ½ a teaspoon of paprika (cayenne pepper if you prefer) and salt. Which you will need to stir to incorporate.
Next, you need to transfer the mixture into a bowl and add your cream cheese to give all the luscious textures for when you bite into the final product, with as side of your (preferably fresh) parsley. After that, you are going to want to mix it well with all of your muscle strength to get the perfect satisfying texture not going overboard to cause any spillage.
In the same pot as before add butter, chicken broth and milk while bringing to a boil and stir in your flour until a dough is formed with a sweet aroma. Move this dough when half cooled so it is still warm and knead it carefully until soft and light.
Pinch some of the dough so it is around the size of a large golden free-range egg and roll it into a ball using the palms of your hands (making sure they are sanitised along with the surface you're working on). Then flatten the dough and spoon the filling you created earlier into the centre. You may want to look into making a biconcave shape if you struggle as it may make the process quicker and easier to handle especially if you have a time limit and are making these for an event. Once the filling is secure, form the dough into a pear shape trapping the filling inside, making sure there aren’t any holes as this may cause a disruption when frying.
Next, boil a pot of oil to 180 degrees Celsius or 360 degrees Fahrenheit.
While this is taking place whisk an egg into a bowl, cup or jug to prepare an egg wash. Coat the pear-shaped dreams in the soggy golden liquid and dip into the golden breadcrumbs for a perfect finish.
Then, deep fry the balls until golden, crispy, brown, checking they are cooked all the way through by using a skewer, lightly touching the skewer to see if the center of the Coxinha is cooked. You should then drain with paper towels or leave on a wire or plastic rack with some tissues underneath and serve them up precedingly.
For the last step all you need to do is indulge your hard work while taking in their sweet aroma and enjoy!
I hope you enjoy making Coxinhas as much as I did making and eating mine!
Written by Megan Hope Newman