Vegan Brazilian “Chicken,” Cauliflower, Peanut, Cashew & Coconut Milk Stew (Xim Xim de Galinha)

DSCN1204Yield: 6-8 servings

Shame on me…to my knowledge, I have never eaten, much less cooked authentic Brazilian cuisine.  I don’t even know why, as I am naturally curious about all cuisines.
However, recently, my beloved cousin and hiking buddy has had to spend a lot of time in Brazil for work.  So, on a recent Sunday morning, when I was flipping the TV channels around and trying to wake up, an episode of Sara Moulton’s “Weeknight Meals” caught my attention, as her featured guest was Leticia Moreinos Schwartz, a Brazlian chef and cookbook author.  Their theme was “A Trip to Brazil.”
The food they prepared was hardly vegan, but a chicken and shrimp stew called, Xim Xim de Galinha caught my eye;  it  looked mouthwatering and seemed easy to veganize.  It was!  I think it was the ground cashews and peanuts plus the coconut milk that captured my fancy, as I am a sucker for any recipe featuring nuts and coconut milk.  This one held particular appeal because it was different than the Thai and Indian dishes I love to prepare.
If recipe derivation interests you, here are the main alterations that I made to Moreinos Schwartz’s recipe (if you could care less, just click HERE now!):
  1.  Substituted cauliflower florets for shrimp and thawed Morningstar Farms “Meal Starters” Chick’n Strips for Chicken (seasoned seitan would be a fine substitute).  HOWEVER, so that I didn’t have part of a head of cauliflower around, I basically reversed the amount of shrimp and chicken, using only 1/2 pound of faux chicken (that is how it is packaged) and a 3 to 4 pound head of cauliflower (which is an average size head).
  2. I didn’t pat the cauliflower dry as the recipe says to do with the chicken, so I ended up needing to cook it 8 minutes (instead of 6) in order for it to brown nicely.
  3. I used lightly salted instead of unsalted nuts (and still added salt).
  4. I don’t cook with tomato paste much, so instead of using fresh tomatoes, which aren’t in season, and the paste, I just used a can of organic fire roasted diced tomatoes in place of both, which was exactly the 1 1/2 cups called for.
  5. I substituted faux chicken stock for chicken stock.
  6. Because I couldn’t find dende oil here (and the shipping cost to mail order a bottle was exorbitant), which supposedly has a fabulously indescribable taste and orange color, I quadrupled the amount of turmeric and paprika (I used smoked paprika) specified in the recipe for a total of 1 teaspoon turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika.

Thanks to Alisa Fleming and Go Dairy Free for publishing my “Vegan Brazilian ‘Chicken,’ Cauliflower, Peanut, Cashew & Coconut Milk Stew” on her popular website!

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  1. Thank You for this recipe. I made this for my family and it is now one of my husband’s favourites!

  2. Thank you, Kylie, for taking the time to share. I’m delighted that your husband is a fan. It’s not a common dish and you have reminded me how much I love it too. I need to get it back into our dinner rotation.

  3. Ok I’m so confused. What happens with the sauce that I have in the Dutch oven that’s sitting cold not heated or anything? Does it ever get added to the cauliflower coconut broth? How do I serve this? Does it all get blended together eventually? I’m sitting in my kitchen so come fused as what to do next right now. I’ve read this over and over and over and still can’t figure out how to serve this dish.

  4. Joaquin, I am so sorry you are confused, but here are the directions on Go Dairy Free to which my post links. I have read through them twice and I am not sure where the confusion lies:

    Place the lime juice and garlic in a medium, non-reactive bowl. Add cauliflower florets, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Let marinate at room temperature while you prepare the other ingredients.

    Place the Chick’n Strips or seitan in another medium bowl, and toss with 2 tablespoons of the dende oil, if using. (If not, omit this step.) Let marinate, also at room temperature, while you continue with the recipe.

    In the bowl of a food processor, process the cashews and peanuts with short pulses until they are very finely chopped, stopping before they release their oil and become a paste.

    Pour 2 tablespoons of olive or peanut oil in a large cast iron skillet, add cauliflower florets in one layer, sprinkle with salt, and cook over medium-high heat or just a little higher, until they are lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Stir to loosen them from the bottom of the pan as necessary. Remove the florets to the bowl in which they were marinated.

    Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive or peanut oil to the skillet and heat to sizzling. Add onion, scallions, and a pinch of salt, and saute, stirring occasionally and scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan, until the onions are soft and develop some color, about 3 minutes.

    Add the tomatoes, juice and all, and nuts, stirring to blend, and cook for about 1 minute to heat through. Transfer to a heavy lidded pot like a Dutch oven.

    Place the pan (Dutch oven) back on the heat, add the coconut milk, no-chicken or vegetable stock, turmeric, and paprika, and bring the sauce to a simmer.

    Reduce the heat to the lowest temperature possible, and add the cauliflower and Chick’n Strips or seitan. Cover the pot and barely simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.

    Season to taste with salt and pepper, garnish with cilantro, and serve, if desired, with cooked rice or faro.

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