The basic ingredients include chicken, rice or massa pevide. Common flavoring ingredients are olive oil, mint, salt and pepper. It is usually accompanied by slices of Portuguese broa bread on the side for dipping. This is only a variation of this recipe.
Canja de galinha is usually consumed by Brazilians, Portuguese and Cape Verdeans when they have a cold. In Portugal, Cape Verde, and Brazil, canja de galinha is widely believed to help a person overcome colds, digestive problems, and other mild forms of sickness. Interestingly enough, in Cape Verde, canja is sometimes served after the funeral, at the home of the deceased, perhaps because it "soothes" the heart. It is also served in that country during special occasions, such as New Year's Eve, birthdays, and other special family events.
Since canja de galinha is very simple and light, it is often consumed before a main course meal as well as a late supper.