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The Coxinha (Portuguese: [koˈʃĩɲɐ], little chicken thigh) is a popular food in many countries in South America. The drumstick is a snack Brazilian originally from São Paulo, but also common in Portugal, and based on dough made with wheat flour and chicken broth, which is filled with spiced chicken meat. The filling consists of chicken, and tomato sauce, onion, parsley and scallions (and occasional catupiry cheese), that is coated in wheat flour – variants including potato or manioc are also commonly sold – batter, and deep fried. It is shaped to roughly resemble a chicken leg.
Coxinhas were originally made with a chicken thigh, which its traditional shape is meant to resemble. The dough used to coat the filling is often prepared with the broth of the chicken, enhancing the flavor of the coating.
Coxinha literally means "little thigh", and it is how deep fried chicken legs are informally named in Brazil (coxa frita means a deep fried chicken leg, while sobrecoxa frita stands for a deep fried upper drumstick; It is not uncommon for people having a strong preference for certain poultry cuts over others). Battered and deep fried chicken breast, for example, are generally called by a name of English influence, nugget.
Different variations of the original are becoming more prevalent today – for example, the coxinha mineira, for which the filling includes maize, named so because maize is deemed as a culinary tradition in the state of Minas Gerais, as well as areas where the caipira and sertanejo dialects are spoken. Cheese coxinhas are also very common in snack bars. To mark the cheese coxinhas they usually have a toothpick where the bone would be in a chicken coxinha.
Other unconventional ingredients, generally used for home-made coxinhas made by aficionados, include peas, chopped button mushrooms, palmheart, carrot, as well whole-wheat flour batter or even a vegetarian version of either textured vegetable protein (soy meat) or falafel with appropriate seasonings so its taste resembles a traditional coxinha more closely . Nevertheless, these variants are rarely to be found in snack bars.
In the book Stories & Recipes, Nadir Cavazin says that the son of Princess Isabel of Brazil and the Count D'Eu, a child who lived in seclusion for having mental problems had a favorite dish, chicken, but only ate the thigh. One day, not having enough thigh, the cook decided to turn a whole chicken into thighs, shredding it and making the filling for a flour dough shaped into a drumstick. The child endorsed the results and Empress Teresa Cristina when she was visiting him, could not resist the tasty delicacy, she liked it so much she requested that the master of the imperial kitchen learn how to prepare the snack. So coxinha won the nobility and became history.