Chicken Cafreal from A Duck's Oven. Chicken pieces marinated in bold flavors like ginger, chiles, cilantro, lime, cinnamon, and cumin. Incredibly easy and flavorful!

Our time in South Africa is quickly coming to a halt. My super weird, panicky brain keeps bouncing back and forth between two states:

  1. YOU’RE LIFE IS ABOUT TO GET SO BUSY!!! Accomplish lots of hobby-type things NOW, while you can! Blog, blog, blog! Get prepared for projects you plan on working on when you get home! Work out like crazy! Go, go, go!
  2. YOU’RE LIFE IS ABOUT TO GET SO BUSY!!! Enjoy all this wonderful free time with your fiance in this incredible, vibrant city in the gorgeous summer weather while you can!

I said this a couple of posts ago, but when I get home I will be working 50+ hours a week, planning my wedding, building our first house, in two other weddings, blogging, and getting to know my best friend’s new baby girl. Fiance better be ready to find all kinds of to-do lists scattered through our apartment. And also a scattered ME.

The past week I’ve been in more of the “enjoy the time” state. We went on a mini road trip up the west coast of South Africa through sleepy, gorgeous beach towns. We ate a lot of really good food, went to a fossil park that was super neat, spent time on beautiful beaches, and stayed in the most adorable cottage in a town that only had one restaurant and a tiny little food market. We climbed to the top of a lighthouse and stared at the glorious ocean and the fynbos, the name given to the rough shrubland in parts of the Western Cape.

Since we’ve been home I’ve still had a bit of trouble shaking that mood. One night we made fondue for dinner, the next we tried to go to a bierfest that turned out to be sold out so we went to an awesome local pub instead, another we drank lots of local excellent wine and brandy and played card games. Free time is a beautiful thing! Why the heck am I leaving South Africa?! Oh yes, because I desperately miss my friends and family and have very exciting opportunities waiting for me back in Portland. Right.

So that little panic-attack rant has ZERO to do with the food that I’m sharing with you today. Except to excuse slightly less frequent posts over the past two days. I did manage to shake this long enough to put down the glass of wine and UNO cards to get around to sharing this wonderfully easy and tasty recipe today: Chicken Cafreal.

I honestly don’t remember how I stumbled upon it. Pinterest? Diving through someone’s blog? I read the method somewhere and it had been sticking in my head, so I decided to give it ago.

Chicken Cafreal from A Duck's Oven. Chicken pieces marinated in bold flavors like ginger, chiles, cilantro, lime, cinnamon, and cumin. Incredibly easy and flavorful!

In the past year, I’ve come to really love bone in, skin on chicken pieces, namely drumsticks and thighs. I used to be a boneless, skinless chicken breast only kinda gal, but now they just seem so boring. Not that I don’t still totally use them on the reg. You could absolutely substitute breasts into this recipe, just reduce the cooking time a bit. It packs some seriously big flavors: green chiles, ginger, cilantro, lime, cinnamon, cumin, even more.

This recipe comes from Goa, a small state in India. The method actually got its start in Portuguese colonies in Africa and was introduced to the Goan by the Portuguese. You’re supposed to pan fry this chicken, but I wanted to go a healthier route so I baked it. I think it would also be excellent cooked on the grill, as most marinated meat is. I served ours with a very simple rice cooked in coconut milk and a little ground coriander, and it was perfect.

Chicken Cafreal from A Duck's Oven. Chicken pieces marinated in bold flavors like ginger, chiles, cilantro, lime, cinnamon, and cumin. Incredibly easy and flavorful!

You will love this super easy and flavorful chicken dish! Again, I super recommend bone in, skin on cuts of chicken, but use what you have on hand. This would even be a great way to prepare chicken wings if you want something a little different for game day!

You can also view this recipe as a step-by-step web story here. 

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Chicken Cafreal

Chicken cafreal is a spicy, flavorful, marinated chicken that's incredibly easy to make!


  • 3 bone in, skin on chicken drumsticks
  • 3 bone in, skin on chicken thighs
  • 2 1/2 green chiles
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 inch piece ginger, peeled
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 7 peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


  • Roughly chop the chiles and ginger into 1/2 inch pieces. Add all ingredients except chicken pieces to a food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Add the contents of the food processor to a gallon-sized plastic bag. Add the chicken pieces to the bag and work marinade under the skin of the chicken and toss until chicken is completely coated.
  • Refrigerate chicken in marinade for 3-24 hours.
  • When ready to cook, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Arrange chicken on a baking sheet skin side side down. Bake for 15 minutes. Flip the chicken and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until completely cooked and juices run clear.
  • Let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with coconut milk rice, if desired.


This chicken would also be great cooked on the grill!
To make coconut milk rice, follow package directions for your long grain, white rice but replace the water with coconut milk. Sometimes I do half coconut milk and half chicken stock. I also like to add a 1/2 tsp ground coriander.
Cuisine: Indian
Course: Dinner
Author: Chelsea Cole
Did you make this recipe?Mention @aducksoven on Instagram or tag #aducksoven.