Chicken fritters (Coxinha de Galinha)

Fritter may also apply to morsels of meat, fish, vegetable or fruits.

What you need to know:

Recipe. The term fritter may also apply to morsels of meat, fish, vegetable or fruit dipped in a batter and dried before deep fat frying. 

Coxinha “little drumstick” in Portuguese is a common and very popular street food wherein the dough is stuffed with shredded chicken and Catupiry cheese and then deep fried. The end result should be a crunchy and thin crust with a moist filling coupled with an elegant cheese sauce.

When I was growing up in New York during the early 60’s, my mentor, the late Chef Hawkins, taught us to believe that a true fritter was a delicately flavoured batter, heavy in egg and deep fat fried. Notwithstanding the fact that they are not called fritters, crullers and the ubiquitous doughnut are very closely related to them with the crullers usually richer in fat and the doughnuts heavier in flour.

Do not confuse the texture of any of the aforementioned fritters with certain pan or shallow fried mixtures such as corn fritters. The term fritter may also apply to morsels of meat, fish, vegetable or fruit dipped in a batter and dried before deep fat frying. In this last type, the fritter batter acts as a protective coating. Other examples of fritter like foods are deep fat fried vegetables as well as croquettes.


Makes 8 – 10 FRITTERS

For the filling

● 1 tablespoon good quality vegetable oil

● 2 shallots finely chopped

● 2 garlic cloves finely chopped

● Four or more fresh Jalapeno chili or more depending on your taste, finely chopped

● 150 g shredded chicken fillet or breast of chicken cooked and tightly packed

● 1 tablespoon mayonnaise

● 3 – 4 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

● 225 ml plus 2 tablespoons chicken stock

● ½ teaspoon good quality vegetable oil

Salt and pepper to taste

● ½ teaspoon turmeric

● 140g sifted Supreme wheat flour plus extra for dusting

For dredging

● 140g Supreme wheat flour

● 2 egg whites, lightly beaten

● 55g bread crumbs

● 500 ml vegetable oil for deep frying

For the cheese sauce

● 350 ml chicken stock

● 350 g Catupiry cheese which can be substituted with cream cheese or Greek yogurt

● Salt and black pepper

● 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives and vegetable oil for drizzling


1. Warm the vegetable oil in a medium frying pan over low heat then add the shallots and fry them, until they become soft and translucent. Add the garlic and sauté, until it is hot and then add the chilies then season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a plate and leave to cook for about 10 minutes.

2. Have ready a large bowl and place the shredded chicken and mix in the cooled shallot mixture along with the mayonnaise and the chives. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool. You may choose to prepare this filling a day ahead and store in the fridge in an airtight plastic container.

3. Prepare the dough. In a medium saucepan, place the chicken stock, the vegetable oil, salt pepper and turmeric and bring to gentle simmer over low heat. When the stock is hot, add the flour altogether while stirring. A light crust will form on the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring with vigor for another minute to dry the dough.

4. Transfer the dough to an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment and knead until it becomes soft and smooth, no than 5 minutes. Scrape onto a floured surface and finish kneading the dough by hand, making sure your hand and the work surface are well floured. Form the dough into a flat disc and leave to rest at room temperature for 5 – 10 minutes before you begin to assemble the fritters.

5. Roll out the dough until it is about 3mm (1/4 inch) thick. Place them on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. You will have some scraps that you can gather and roll again. Make 8 – 10 rounds.

6. To make the classic drumstick shape, fold the dough up and around the filling into a beggar’s purse and gently press. Pull the dough at the top out slightly so that it resembles a drumstick or an elongated chocolate kiss. Keep clean and ensure the dough is not cracked.

7. Prepare 3 different trays for the flour, egg whites and bread crumbs. Pass the fritters through each, shaking off any excess.

8. Pour the vegetable oil for deep frying into a heavy based saucepan or an electric deep fryer and heat the oil to a temperature of 190dC. Dip a corner of a fritter into the oil when you hear a sizzling sound, the oil is ready. Fry the fritters in batches and turn occasionally, making sure that all sides are evenly browned which take no more than 3 – 4 minutes.

9. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with a double thickness of kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil. Keep the finished batches in a warm oven until serving.