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Galinhada is essentially a Brazilian dish made from rice and chicken. In its most basic and traditional form, the preparation is simply a stew made with both the ingredients mixed together. In the states of Minas Gerais and Goias, the stew is particularly popular and almost always an important food during celebrations and special occasions.

The name of the dish has been derived from the Portuguese word for 'chicken'. At times, the dish and its preparation methods are compared to some forms of Tex-Mex cooking and Cajun preparations like Chicken Paella and Dirty Rice. The rice and chicken stew is an important part of the Brazilian cuisine. In addition to being a must-have on menus of eateries, restaurants and cafes, the dish is a popular household preparation. Almost every family has a 'secret' recipe to make it and in traditional homes across Brazil, these recipes are handed down from generation to generation.

Galinhada Recipe: Common Ingredients Used in Preparation

Traditionally, galinhada is a simple recipe with only three main ingredients - chicken, tomatoes and rice, in addition to a few seasoning and flavoring agents like salt, garlic and basil leaves. Onion is also commonly added, although it is not strictly an ingredient of the basic, traditional recipe. Pepper is added sometimes to give the dish flavor and color.

While chicken breast is mostly used to make the stew, some recipe call for the use of legs and thighs, while others require the use of a full chicken. The rice type can also differ based on the recipe. Instead of the traditional long-grain, white rice, brown rice can be used. A few recipes even call for the use of sugar so that the chicken and be caramelized. This usually is done to increase the flavor of the dish and some sweetness to an otherwise very savory preparation.

Brazilian Chicken and Rice stew: Preparation Overview

Galinhada is generally categorized as a dish which is moderately-easy to prepare and it takes about 30 minutes to make it. The preparation is cooked in a large saucepan or pot in olive oil. Some chefs prefer to use a Dutch oven. The chicken, tomatoes, onions and other vegetables being used are diced and chopped. The ingredients are then cooked together, as required, and the preparation is ready to be served once the chicken and rice are done.

Serving and Eating the Brazilian Stew

The chicken and rice stew is served hot, straight off the heat, and it can be a whole meal by itself, a part of a major lunch or dinner meal or even a snack. While accompaniments are optional, the preparation can be served with a light, hot sauce on the side. Diced green onion is often sprinkled on galinhada before it is served.