Coxinhais a popular Brazilian street food that consists of a dough shaped into a little drumstick filled with well-seasoned shredded chicken, breaded, and then deep-fried until crispy and golden brown. They are the most famous Brazilian chicken croquettes (a national culinary marvel)!
3cupscooked chickenfinely shredded (you can use skinless baked chicken breast, or rotisserie chicken
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
1pinchof red pepper flakesoptional and only if you enjoy the heat
3tablespoonsmayonnaiseor if available, Catupiry cheese or Brazilian cheese spread - also called requeijão. Room temperature cream cheese is also a good substitute
3tablespoonsminced green onionsor chives
For the Coxinha Dough
A pinch of saltenough to taste
¼teaspoonannattoor turmeric, optional
8large egg whitesdivided
Enough vegetable oil to fully immerse the coxinhas for deep fryingCanola oil is a great option because it has a high smoking point and a mild flavor
Prepare the filling
Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add the oil and then cook the onion, stirring now and then, until soft and translucent (about 2-3minutes). Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute.
In a large bowl, place the finely shredded chicken and stir in the cooked onion and garlic mixture, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes(optional), the mayonnaise or Catupiry cheese, and green onions or chives. Set aside! NOTE: If desired, the coxinha filling can be prepared 1 or 2 days ahead and refrigerated in an airtight plastic container.
Prepare the coxinha dough
In a large, non-stick saucepan, place the chicken broth (liquid), salt, annatto or turmeric (optional), and olive oil, and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. When the stock is hot, add the sifted flour all at once while stirring very well. It will get more and more difficult to stir but continue to stir vigorously for about 1 minute or so until obtaining a uniformly lumpy dough.
Remove from the heat and transfer the dough to an electric mixer fitted with a hook attachment. Knead the dough at speed "2" for about 5 minutes or until it becomes soft and smooth (NOTE: If you don't have a mixer with a hook attachment, let the dough cool enough to handle and knead by hand very well).
Scrape the dough from the mixing bowl onto a well-floured surface with a dough scraper or spatula, and knead the ball of dough a little bit more by hand. Shape the savory dough into a flat disk and let rest for 5 to 8 minutes at room temperature.
Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough onto a well-floured surface until it is about ¼ to ⅛-inch thick. Using a 3¼-inch round cookie cutter, cut out disks of dough and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (a metal spatula can be useful to help pry the disks from the rolling surface).
Aggregate the dough leftovers, re-roll, and cut out more disks. With the ⅛-inch thick dough, I was able to cut about 34 disks.
Scoop about 1 tablespoon of the chicken mixture onto the center of each disk.
Shape the coxinha dough and filling into a drumstick shape
Lightly oil your hands and shape the filled disks into drumsticks. First, fold the dough up and around the filling to form a U-shape like a taco.
Next, bring up the dough along the two open sides to enclose the dough in a beggar's purse shape.
Now form the neck of the coxinha between your encircled index finger and thumb, and gently press the filling down into the center as you close.
Pinch and seal the edges. Pull the dough at the top out slightly so that it resembles a drumstick without the bone (that is, like a pear or tear drop shape).
Use a moist towel to clean your fingers off each time they touch the filling. Make sure the dough has no cracks; if it does crack, wet your fingers in water and pinch the dough together. Flatten the rounded bottom of the coxinhas very minimally with the palm of your hand (just enough that they will be able to rest upright), and place shaped coxinhas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Prepare 3 separate bowls for the all-purpose flour, half of the egg whites(i.e. 4 egg whites mixed with 1 teaspoon of water), and half of the breadcrumbs (i.e. about 1-½ cups of breadcrumbs).
Pass the fritters through each bowl (flour, egg whites, and then breadcrumbs), shaking off any excess. The egg whites and breadcrumbs are divided for use in half-quantities because eventually, the bowl of whites will accumulate excess flour and the crumbs will accumulate excess whites. Both will need to be replaced to maintain an effective coating of the coxinhas as they are dredged.
Pour enough vegetable oil into a frying machine or heavy-bottomed pot. Heat to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). If you don't have a thermometer to measure the temperature, dip a small piece of the dough into the heated oil. If you hear a sizzling sound, the oil is ready.
Fry the fritters in batches. Please, do not place too many coxinhas or chicken croquettes in at the same time because this will lower the temperature, making the fritters oily. Make sure to turn all sides while frying the fritters so that they will brown evenly.
Transfer each coxinha to a baking sheet lined with a double sheet of paper towels to absorb any excess oil. To serve coxinhas warm, keep the finished batches in a warm oven until serving.
STORAGEAfter frying each coxinha, let them cool and then store them in Ziploc bags (small batches) in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. How to Freeze Do not freeze fried coxinhas because they will become mushy!Instead, freeze raw coxinhas (small batches) in a freezer bag for up to 3 months. The best way to freeze them is by placing raw coxinhas on a lined parchment paper baking sheet, keeping a little distance between them, covering with plastic wrap, and then placing them in the freezer for about 2-3 hours, or until solid. Transfer them to freezer bags and put them back in the freezer. Fry them frozen right before serving. It will take more time to cook (about extra 1-2 minutes). They may become a bit darker than fresh coxinhas. How to ReheatINDIVIDUAL PORTION: To reheat, you can wrap each chilled coxinha individually in a wet paper towel, place onto a microwave-safe plate, and heat it in the microwave for about a minute or until hot.BATCH: Or you can place a batch onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and reheat in the oven at 350 F for about 5-8 minutes, or until hot.
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