RECIPE: Coconut chicken curry (Kuku paka)

'This curry is a particular favourite of my family in Tanzania,' says Aysha Bora, one of the contributors to 'Together: Our Community Cookbook'

07 October 2018 - 00:00 By Aysha Bora/'Together: Our Community Cookbook'
Coconut chicken curry (Kuku Paka).
Coconut chicken curry (Kuku Paka).
Image: Jenny Zarins

Serves: 4


1 large chicken, jointed into 8 pieces, excess skin trimmed away

1 large ripe tomato, roughly chopped

1 onion, quartered

15g fresh root ginger, peeled

4 garlic cloves, peeled

6 serrano chillies, stems removed and de-seeded (use fewer if you prefer milder curries)

10ml (2 tsp) ground cumin

5ml (1 tsp) ground coriander

5ml (1 tsp) ground turmeric

30ml (2 tbsp) coconut oil

2 x 400ml tins coconut milk

3 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled and halved

Juice of ½ lemon

Salt and pepper

10g fresh coriander, chopped, to garnish

To serve:

Rice, chapatis or flatbreads

'Together: Our Community Cookbook' (Edbury Press/Penguin Random House).
'Together: Our Community Cookbook' (Edbury Press/Penguin Random House).
Image: Jenny Zarins


  1. Score each piece of the chicken in two or three places, slicing about 1cm into the meat.
  2. Put the tomato, onion, ginger, garlic, chillies, cumin, coriander, turmeric and some salt and pepper into a food processor and blend to a rough paste.
  3. Rub one-third of the paste all over the chicken, into the cuts and under the skin; reserve the rest of the mixture.
  4. Refrigerate the chicken for at least 1 hour, or up to 5 hours. Preheat the grill to the highest setting and line a large baking tin with foil.
  5. In a large pan, melt the coconut oil on medium heat; add the remaining paste and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until all of the moisture evaporates.
  6. Increase the heat slightly and cook for 3-5 minutes until the paste is thick and dark.
  7. Add the coconut milk and simmer for 25-30 minutes until the sauce is thick.
  8. Meanwhile, put the marinated chicken, skin side up, in the lined baking tin and grill for 15 minutes, until well coloured and charred, then turn the chicken over and grill for another 5 minutes to make sure it is cooked through.
  9. Stir the chicken and any juices into the curry pan, bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 5 minutes until the flavours have combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Add the boiled eggs and the lemon juice to taste.
  10. Sprinkle with the chopped coriander and serve with rice, chapatis or flatbreads.

• Recipe and photo extracted from 'Together: Our Community Cookbook' (Ebury Press/ Penguin Random House). All the proceeds from the sale of this cookbook will go to the Hubb Community Kitchen, a charitable initiative championed by the Duchess of Sussex. The hardcover cookbook will be available in South African book stores from November 12, for R455.