African Chicken Curry (Kuku Paka)

Prep: 15 mins  ||  Cook: 45 mins  ||  Serves: 4 


Seasoned Chicken

4 chicken thigh fillets, skin-on and bone-in (~250g each)

4 chicken drumsticks (~150g each)

3/4 tsp cooking / kosher salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

The Curry

2 tbsp coconut oil (or vegetable, canola or other plain oil)

1 onion, finely diced

3 garlic cloves, finely minced

2 tsp ginger, finely minced

1 tbsp coriander powder

1/2 tbsp cumin powder

1/2 tbsp turmeric powder

1 tsp pure chilli powder or cayenne pepper, reduce or omit to taste

400g coconut milk, full-fat

400g crushed canned tomato

1 1/4 tsp cooking / kosher salt

2 tbsp lemon juice (sub apple cider vinegar)

1/2 cup (lightly packed) coriander/cilantro leaves (sub parsley or baby spinach, or omit)


Pat chicken dry using paper towels then sprinkle with the salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a large heavy based pot over high heat. Add the thighs, skin-side down, and cook for 4-5 minutes until golden brown. Turn and cook the other side for 1 minute. Transfer to a plate (it will still be raw inside). Then brown the drumsticks as best you can. Transfer to the plate.

Turn heat down to medium high. Add the onion and cook for 1 minute until softened. Add garlic and ginger, cook for 30 seconds. Add the coriander, cumin, turmeric and chilli. Stir for 30 seconds.

Add coconut milk, tomato and salt. Stir, then return chicken into the pot (including juices on the plate). Submerge chicken as best you can.

Once the sauce comes to a simmer, reduce the heat so it’s bubbling gently. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer for a further 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure the base doesn't catch.

Stir in lemon and half of the coriander. Ladel into bowls and garnished with the rest of the coriander. Serve with basmati rice and/or roti.