Arroz de Galinha

Arroz de Galinha
Renata of Testado, Provado & Aprovado! was our Daring Cooks’ April 2011 hostess. Renata challenged us to think “outside the plate” and create our own edible containers! Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 17th to May 16th at!

When I saw that we were having a challenge that involved a competition for the most creative edible container and filling, I immediately got to work thinking of something to do. I love being creative in general and doing it with something food related makes it all the more fun for me.

I wanted to do a Portuguese dish in anticipation of my move to Portugal at the end of this month. The Portuguese have a wide variety of foods, but many of them are saucy or soupy or are a sweet dessert.

The thing was, we were to make a savory item, not sweet, so that cut out quite a bit of containable foods. The other was that the soup in a bread bowl thing is great but had been done before, and I wanted something different. I even asked my mother-in-law for some help on ideas (thank you Lena!), but unfortunately they weren't quite right for what I had in mind.

After a few hours (and a couple of days) of looking, I came across a chicken and rice dish called Arroz de Galinha. It's fairly common in Portugal, and the marido (Portuguese for "husband") knew what I was talking about when I showed him. He, however, was skeptical about this dish because it's not one he was ever very fond of.

I told him to trust me, as I needed to do some deconstructing and that the cooking of it would be different than the traditional version.
Arroz de Galinha
Arroz de Galinha

Marinade for chicken
  • 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • oregano
  • cumin
  • paprika
  • pepper
  • salt
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
Slice the chicken breasts into strips and place in a bowl. Wash hands and cutting surface thoroughly.

Crush and mince the garlic cloves in another bowl. Add in a pinch or so of each herb/spice and the vinegar and mix well with a fork. Put the marinade in the bowl with the chicken and stir to coat the chicken.

Wrap with plastic wrap and place in the fridge until ready to use.

While this marinates, I suggest getting to work on your edible container.

Arroz de Galinha

Rice Bowl
  • 2 cups uncooked short grained rice (sushi style rice works great)
  • 2 cups water, plus more for rinsing and soaking
Rinse the rice about 5 - 7 times, or until the water is clear of any murkiness. Drain.

Place rice in a pan and fill with water and allow to soak about 30 minutes.

Drain and fill with the 2 cups of water.

Place the pan of rice on the stove and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and place a lid on top. Do NOT lift lid while rice cooks for 12-15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let stand 10-15 minutes to finish the cooking process. Again, do NOT lift the lid.

After the 10-15 minutes, turn the rice out into a shallow dish that is long enough for you to spread the rice out evenly. Take a wooden spoon/spatula and fan the rice to allow it to cool.


Pre-heat oven to 275-300F

Take a bowl and line it with plastic wrap.

Dampen your hands and fingers (if you don't, the rice will stick to your fingers) grab a small handful of rice and press it into the bowl. Press it evenly around the bottom and up to the sides, wetting your fingers before each scoop of rice. Make sure the rice is thick enough to hold fairly well.

Grab a smaller oven safe bowl (I used a small ramekin) and line the outside with parchment paper, folding the edges into the top.

Place the smaller bowl into the rice bowl and press down, wiggling and swirling it around to press into the sides and make then even.

Turn the large bowl upside down onto a baking sheet and wiggle to release the outer bowl from the plastic wrap and pull it off. Remove plastic wrap around rice bowl.

Rice Bowl

Rinse and repeat with more bowls.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and allow to bake lightly for about 30-40 minutes. It shouldn't be long or hot enough to give the bowl color, just dry the rice out so it can hold it's shape.

  • marinated chicken
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • pinch pepper flakes
  • pinch salt & pepper
  • cilantro
  • 1 small lemon (or lime)
  • 1 choriço (chorizo) sausage
  • 1/4 cup white wine or chicken stock or water
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • handful of cilantro
In a large skillet over medium high heat, add in the olive oil. Next, add onion and red bell pepper, sauteing until the onion is translucent, about a minute or so.

Add in the chicken and cook until browned on the outside. Reduce heat to medium.

Toss in the pepper flakes, salt & pepper, zest of the lemon, half the cilantro and stir. Remove the chicken/onion/pepper mixture from the pan and place in a bowl, cover with foil and set aside.

Slice the choriço at an angle and place in the hot skillet and allow to cook until it gets crispy bits around the edges. Remove from pan and add to the chicken bowl.

Pour the wine into the pan to de-glaze it, lightly scraping the yummy bits off the bottom of the pan as it cooks. Add in the tomato sauce and bring to a simmer and allow to cook 5 minutes or so.

Toss the chicken/choriço/veggie mix back into the pan along with the juice of the lemon. Stir well and again allow to simmer for about 5 minutes or until you're certain the chicken is cooked through. Remove from heat.

Spoon the chicken mixture into the rice bowls and top with cilantro.

The flavors meld so well with this dish, I can see why it's common. It's meaty and savory with a tang from the citrus juice.

Arroz de Galinha

In the original recipe, however it's usually a stewed type of whole chicken. This alone would be one reason why the marido wouldn't be thrilled with the traditional dish. This version, however, got praise. He said he actually liked it and was surprised by how well my rice bowl idea came out. I too was thrilled :D.

I also realized as I was photographing the outcome that I managed to capture the red, green, gold and white of the Portuguese flag in my dish as well as reinventing something from my soon to be new home!
Portugal Flag

(Portuguese Flag photo by L.A. Cavaca)

Oh and please, don't forget to check out the other Daring Cook's creations and vote for your favorite over at!