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A Brazilian favorite

By Joshua Dineen, Chef Specialist, Lincoln Land Community College

Recently I was scrolling through social media killing time and looking for inspiration. I came across a food item of which I was previously unaware. It’s a Brazilian dish called coxinha. I spent the next couple hours reading recipes, researching the history and watching videos about this fun food. I can’t help myself when I find a new food, I must know all about it!

Essentially this dish is shredded chicken mixed with onion, garlic, parsley, a little cream cheese and paprika. This chicken mixture is wrapped in a cooked dough like pate choux, without the eggs, but the method is basically the same. Once it is wrapped in the dough, it is chilled, then lightly breaded and deep fried. It is often served with a sweet chili sauce or flavored mayonnaise. From what I gathered in my reading, this is a staple at every family event. 

The origin of the coxinha, which literally means “little thigh,” is said to have been created by the chefs of Brazilian princess Isabel. Her son loved chicken leg meat but did not care for the bones. So, the chefs shredded the chicken and shaped it into a chicken leg shape, or teardrop, then breaded and fried them. They became the prince’s favorite food, and soon the favorite of the population of Brazil. 

In addition to chicken, there are many different fillings — beef, vegetables, cheese and fish. I am sure you could also make a sweet filling. This got me thinking about Thanksgiving leftovers. I am definitely going to make some turkey-filled coxinha. Maybe I will add a little dressing, fresh cranberry relish and a little turkey gravy to the filling. Or maybe I will cut up some baked ham and use that as a filling. Either way, I think it will be delicious!



  • 1/2 pound shredded chicken
  • 5 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups ap flour


  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Oil for frying


  1. Sauté the onion until tender. Add the garlic, and cook for 45 seconds. 
  2. Combine with everything else in the filling, and set aside. 
  3. Put the chicken stock, butter, paprika and salt in a pot, and bring to a boil.
  4. Add the flour, and stir over low heat until the mixture is smooth and no longer sticky.
  5. Let cool.
  6. Take a small piece of the dough, and flatten it into a disc.
  7. Place an appropriate amount of the filling in the center, and close the dough around it. 
  8. Shape it into a teardrop, or chicken leg, shape.
  9. Let cool in the fridge to firm up.
  10. Combine the milk, egg and salt. 
  11. Dip the coxinha into the milk mixture, and then into the breadcrumbs to coat.
  12. Heat oil to 350 degrees.
  13. Fry the coxinha until golden brown and crispy. 
  14. Lightly season with salt. 
  15. Use a sweet chili sauce and/or an aioli with a little cumin and chili powder mixed in. 



Lincoln Land Community College offers credit programs in Culinary Arts, Hospitality Management and Baking/Pastry, and non-credit cooking and food classes through LLCC Community Education.

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