Cape Town Chicken Tarkari

Chicken tarkari is a spicy curry that is popular in South Africa, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Caribic Islands. One of the things my wife loves about it is the fact that it is cooked in a sauce of 

fresh tomatoes with fragrant herbs and spices. Although I enjoy all kinds of curries I made this tomato based tarkari because I had a few very ripe tomatoes at home that were perfect for this tarkari.

Preparation time: 15 minutes 
Cooking time: at least 50 minutes
Resting time: 0 minutes
Total time needed: at least 1 H 5 minutes
Grade of Difficulty: standard

Cape Town Chicken Tarkari

  • 3 chicken breasts, deboned, skinned and cut into bite sized cubes
  • 3 ripe medium sized tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bunch of spring onions
  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 small red onion (optional - use yellow onion instead)
  • 5 cloves of garlic (optional - use more or less according to your taste)
  • 5 cm / 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 tsp. granulated chicken broth or 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1 cup of green beans, both ends cut off
  • 1 cup of fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbs. dried curry leaves
  • 1 tbs. dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. black mustard seeds
  • 1 tbs. Red masala paste (optional - or 3 seeded red cayenne peppers, chopped fine)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Spice chicken cubes on all sides with salt, pepper and turmeric powder
  • Add olive oil to a large pan on the stove
  • Switch plate on to high heat
  • Add the chicken pieces, cover with lid and braise chicken for 5 minutes stirring it regularly till the cubes are beginning to brown
  • Add onion, spring onion, ginger and garlic, mix with chicken, cover with lid and braise all for another 5 to 8 minutes or till onions become soft and translucent
  • Add tomatoes, turmeric, bay leaf, curry leaves, fenugreek leaves, cumin powder, black mustard seeds, red masala paste, chicken broth, salt and pepper
  • Mix all ingredients well, cover with lid, reduce the heat to low and let the tarkari gently simmer for 15 minutes
  • After 15 minutes, remove the lid, add the green beans, mix all ingredients well, cover again with lid 
  • and simmer for another 25 minutes, stirring tarkari twice during this time.
  • Once the time is up all ingredients should be cooked, and the liquids reduced
  • Switch off the stove, add coriander leaves, cover with lid and let the Chicken tarkari rest for another 5 minutes

Serve hot with steamed rice.

Durban Chicken Curry 

Doro Wat - Ethiopian Chicken Stew

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