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What is a Coxinha?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2016
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A coxinha is a type of fried food often found in Brazil and Portugal, usually served as a form of street food from vendors, though it can also be found in bars and restaurants as well. These snacks are often served as appetizers and are basically croquettes that consist of a small amount of shredded chicken salad surrounded by dough, which is then battered and deep fried until golden brown. A coxinha is usually shaped to resemble a chicken leg or drumstick, usually a cone shape, and originally consisted of chicken legs that were battered and fried.

While there are different ways in which a coxinha can be made, the basic approach typically begins with chicken breasts. These can be cooked by simmering the breasts in a pot of chicken stock or broth, to which carrots and onion can be added, as well as seasoning for increased flavor. Once the chicken is cooked through, it is removed from the pot and the broth or stock is strained from the solids and kept for use later in preparing the coxinha.

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The chicken for the coxinha can then be chopped, though shredding is often seen as a more traditional presentation. Diced onions are usually mixed with the shredded chicken, and these onions can be sautéed lightly in some oil to enhance their flavor. Some coxinha recipes also call for a type of Brazilian cream cheese to be added to the chicken and onion mixture, though standard cream cheese can be used, or left out of the filling mixture, depending on the preferences of the preparer.

Once the filling is prepared, it can be set aside and left to chill slightly while the dough for the coxinha is prepared. The broth or stock used to poach the chicken in earlier is brought to a simmer, seasoned to taste, and then an equal amount of flour is added to the liquid and stirred until a dough forms. This dough should be set aside to chill and can be refrigerated if necessary. Once chilled, the coxinhas can be assembled.

A small ball of the dough is formed, and a finger is used to press an indentation into the dough. Into this opening, the chicken salad filling is pressed in, and the dough is then closed around the filling. This dough ball is then traditionally shaped to resemble a chicken leg, usually a conical shape with the filling at the base.

These can then be set aside or even frozen, though if frozen they should be allowed to thaw before frying. Each coxinha is then dipped in an egg wash and rolled in seasoned breadcrumbs before being deep fried in hot oil until golden brown. They are then allowed to drain after frying and are served warm.

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