This chestnut xacuti is a spicy, creamy curry loaded with flavor from caramelized onions, spices and mushrooms. Serve with basmati rice for a delicious Goan-style dinner!

Goan food, with its Portuguese influences, is among the most distinctive and delicious of India’s diverse cuisines. Think richly spiced curries like vegetable vindaloo and vegan feijoada. Now here’s one more recipe to make your tastebuds dance: chestnut xacuti with a smooth, creamy texture and spicy, bold flavor!

I was inspired to make this curry after eating a chestnut xacuti at a Goan restaurant in Lisbon on a recent trip there. I was smitten. The texture of the chestnuts — firm but creamy — works perfectly in the spicy curry, and their smooth sweetness is a delicious counterfoil to the bold spices. Mushrooms add umami and nutrition. If you like trying out Indian food that’s out of the ordinary, this recipe is for you!

Table of Contents

What is xacuti?

Xacuti (pronounced shakuti) is a spicy, coconut-based curry from the state of Goa, which sits along India’s western coast. The sauce is an appetizing reddish-brown, thanks to the use of local red chilies.

The name and flavors of this curry derive from Goa’s colonial past: it was a Portuguese colony for more than 400 years and the colonizers’ influences are rooted deep in local culture, especially in the state’s large population of Christians.

Xacuti is typically made with meat or seafood, but making it vegan takes nothing away from its deliciousness. Because the secret sauce here, literally, is the xacuti sauce with its heady combination of caramelized onions, garam masala and coconut milk.

I’ve shared with you a more traditional vegetable xacuti recipe in the past, but I’ve deliberately kept this chestnut xacuti recipe simple so you can easily make it in your kitchen now, if you want to. A traditional xacuti uses grated coconut, but I use coconut milk here because it’s easier to source. And instead of blending up a dozen spices, I use garam masala, which works very nicely.

This easy xacuti has all of the flavor and it is ready in no more than 45 minutes. I hope you will try it!

Ingredients

Vegetables: onions and cremini mushrooms

Chestnuts. I used roasted chestnuts for ease. If using chestnuts in their shell, score the bottoms of the chestnuts with a knife, then boil 20-25 minutes. Peel and use.

Tomato paste

Spices: ground coriander, ground cumin, turmeric, paprika (or Kashmiri red chilli powder) and garam masala.

Coconut milk

Herbs: ginger garlic paste and fresh cilantro.

How to make chestnut xacuti

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in pot or Dutch oven. Place mushrooms and chestnuts in pot.

Saute over high heat for 3-4 minutes until the chestnuts and mushrooms are lightly browned. Remove to a plate before the mushrooms start to ooze out any of their juices.

In the same pot add a teaspoon of oil and the sliced onions.

Add salt and saute the onions over medium-low heat about 10 minutes until they are browned. If they start to stick, add a tablespoon of water at a time and scrape up any bits that stick with a ladle.

Add ginger garlic paste, ground cumin, ground cilantro, garam masala, turmeric and cayenne to the pot.

Stir in tomato paste.

Add cilantro and mix well. Remove the mixture to a blender, add a cup of water and blend to a very smooth paste. Set aside.

In the same pot, wiped clean or rinsed, add remaining oil. Add the chopped onions and salt and saute over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until translucent.

Stir in the blended paste and the roasted chestnuts and mushrooms.

Add another cup of water and mix well. Bring to a boil, cover, and let the sauce simmer 10 minutes.

Stir in the coconut milk…

…followed by the cilantro. You can thin out the sauce more with water if you want to. Check for salt, bring to a boil, then turn off heat. Serve hot.

Storage instructions

Refrigerate: Store in the fridge for up to five days in airtight container.

Freeze: Freeze in freezer-safe container for up to three months.

Reheat: Reheat on stovetop or in microwave until heated through.

More spicy Indian curries

Chestnut Xacuti

This chestnut xacuti is a spicy, creamy curry loaded with flavor from caramelized onions, spices and mushrooms. Serve with basmati rice for a delicious Goan-style dinner!

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Course: Curry, Main CourseCuisine: IndianDiet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 15 minutes mins Cook Time: 30 minutes mins Total Time: 45 minutes mins
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 225kcal
Author: Vaishali ยท Holy Cow Vegan

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InstructionsHeat 1 tablespoon oil in pot or Dutch oven. Place mushrooms and chestnuts in pot.Saute over high heat for 3-4 minutes until the chestnuts and mushrooms are lightly browned. Remove to a plate before the mushrooms start to ooze out any of their juices.In the same pot add a teaspoon of oil and the sliced onions.Add salt and saute the onions over medium-low heat about 10 minutes until they are browned. If they start to stick, add a tablespoon of water at a time and scrape up any bits that stick with a ladle.Add ginger garlic paste, ground cumin, ground cilantro, garam masala, turmeric and cayenne to the pot. Stir in tomato paste.Add cilantro and mix well. Remove the mixture to a blender, add a cup of water and blend to a very smooth paste. Set aside. In the same pot, wiped clean or rinsed, add remaining oil. Add the chopped onions and salt and saute over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until translucent.Stir in the blended paste and the roasted chestnuts and mushrooms. Add another cup of water and mix well. Bring to a boil, cover, and let the sauce simmer 10 minutes.Stir in the coconut milk followed by the cilantro. You can thin out the sauce more with water if you want to. Check for salt, bring to a boil, then turn off heat. Serve hot.

Nutrition FactsChestnut XacutiAmount per Serving% Daily Value** Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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