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Coxinhas (Brazilian Chicken Croquettes)

Brazilian chicken croquettes versus salt cod fritters
The second round of the TODAY culinary Olympics: Carolina Santos-Neves versus Paula DaSilva with Brazilian chicken croquettes and salt cod fritters.Samantha Okazaki / TODAY


For Dough
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 1/4 cups water
  • 10 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • For filling
  • 2 1/4 cups pulled and then chopped roasted or poached chicken
  • 2 1/4 cups of requeijao (a soft Brazilian cheese; or substitute cream cheese)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • For battering
  • 4 1/4 cups bread crumbs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • Canola oil for frying
  • Chef notes

    Stuffed with shredded chicken and cheese, these crispy and gooey fritters are a universal crowd-pleasing hors d'oeuvres and party snack.


    Make the dough: Put the water in a pan and add the butter. Set over medium heat until butter melts. When butter has melted, pour the mixture into a stand mixer, then slowly add the flour and mix until thoroughly combined. Set it on a smooth surface (such as a clean countertop) or a sheet pan for at least five minutes.

    Make the Filling: In a sauté pan over medium heat, heat oil and sauté garlic until golden, then add chicken and continue cooking, stirring to incorporate. Add salt and hot sauce bit by bit, stirring constantly. When chicken is warmed through and mixture is well combined, remove the pan from the heat and set aside. Once the chicken mixture is cool, mix in the soft cheese and the cilantro.

    To construct the coxinhas: In a small bowl, mix the egg and the milk. Grab enough dough to fill your palm an knead lightly so it remains homogeneous. Using your hands, spread and stretch the dough into a disk (similar to forming a small pizza). Place a small scoop (about 1 tablespoon) of the filling in the center of the disk. Pinch dough together at the top to seal, creating plump little teardrop-shaped pouches. 

    Bread the coxinhas by first dipping each pouch briefly in the egg and milk mixture, and then dipping it into a bowl of breadcrumbs. (Make-Ahead Tip: After breading the pouches, refrigerate them before frying. This dries them out a bit and allows for a more crunchy coxinha.)

    To fry the coxinhas: In a large pot, heat up canola oil to 350 degrees F, then carefully lower each pouch into the oil and fry until golden, about 5 minutes. Once fried, place in a bowl layered with paper towels.

    Serve plain or with hot sauce.