Cape Town Chicken Curry

This "Cape Town Chicken Curry" is influenced by African, Asian, Indian as

 well as the Cape Malay cuisine. Cape Town is a melting pot of people from different cultures from all over the world that have settled here since the mid 17th century 

and this shows in the food culture of the mother city of South Africa. The dishes on offer are so diversified that you will always find something new to explore and enjoy.

Preparation time: 20 minutes 
Cooking time: at least 65 minutes
Resting time: at least 5 hours
Total time needed: at least 6 H 25 minutes
Grade of Difficulty: standard


Serves 6

Cape Town Chicken Curry

  • 3 Chicken breasts, skinned and deboned, cut into bite sized chunks
  • 3 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 8 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped (optional - or to taste)
  • 5 cm / 2 inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped
  • 3 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin / jeera seeds
  • 1 tsp. garum masala
  • 10 heaped tbsp. plain full cream yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp. salt (or to taste)
  • 1 medium sized onion, cut into thin slices 
  • 10 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in water for at least 4 hours and then drained
  • 2 bamboo shoots, cut into thin lengthwise slices
  • 1 cob sweetcorn maize, cut into 2.5 cm / 1 inch thick slizes
  • 3 red African birds eye chillies, chopped fine (optional - replace with cayenne chilies instead)
  • 3 green cardamon pods, crushed
  • 1 black cardamon pod, crushed
  • 1 big ripe tomato, diced
  • 1 x 400 gram / 14 oz tin peeled tomatoes
  • 1 x 115 gram / 4 oz tin of tomato paste
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 cup fresh cream
  • 1 bunch of fresh coriander / cilantro leaves
  • Fine desiccated coconut to garnish


  • Add salt, turmeric, cumin / jeera seeds, coriander, garum / garam masala, garlic and ginger to a bowl and mix them well
  • Add yoghurt and half the spice mix to a separate bowl and blend them to a marinade
  • Add chicken to the bowl and cover it with the marinade
  • Cover chicken and remaining spice mix with lids or kitchen towels and place in the fridge for at least 5 hours
  • Heat up 2 tbsp. oil in a large pan, add the chicken and marinade and braise chicken for about 10 minutes, take chicken of the stove, cover and put aside for a while
  • Add 1 tbsp. oil to a large pot, set stove to medium heat and once the oil is hot add onion slices and braise for 3 minutes
  • Add remaining spice mix, cardamom, chillies, sweet corn slices, mushrooms and tomato paste and braise all for about 5 minutes or till tomato paste darkens and onions are beginning to turn golden brown, stirring regularly
  • Add diced fresh tomato, stir briefly, cover with lid and braise for 3 minutes
  • Add peeled tomatoes and juice, crush them in the pot, scrape bottom of the pot to loosen any pieces of browned onions, tomato paste and spices, close lid, reduce the heat and simmer the curry for 10 minutes
  • Add cream, coconut milk and bamboo shoots, stir, cover with lid and simmer for about 20 minutes or till curry begins to thicken
  • Move chicken from the pan to the pot with the curry, add coriander leaves, mix all ingredients, cover with lid and let the curry gently simmer for another 10 minutes
  • Serve "Cape Town Chicken Curry" with steamed rice of your choice and garnish with desiccated coconut

African Chicken Stew

African Chicken Stew in a white bowl

Chicken Tarkari

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