RECIPE | Butter chicken curry

This popular and delicious dish is ideal for occasions when you need to cater for a crowd

12 May 2019 - 00:00 By Fatima Sydow and Gadija Sydow Noordien
Butter chicken curry.
Butter chicken curry.
Image: 'Cape, Curry & Koesisters'

Serves: 6-8


1 kg chicken breast fillets, cut into bite-sized pieces

250ml (1 cup) plain yoghurt

30ml (2 tbsp) lemon juice

45ml (3 tbsp) oil

2 onions, finely chopped

30ml (2 tbsp) minced garlic

15ml (1 tbsp) minced ginger

45ml (3 tbsp) roasted masala

10ml (2 tsp) ground cumin

30ml (2 tbsp) paprika

10ml (2 tsp) turmeric

5ml (1 tsp) red chilli powder

30ml (2 tbsp) tomato paste

Salt to taste

2 whole chillies (optional)

250ml (1 cup) coconut cream

1 bunch fresh coriander, chopped


  1. Place the chicken, yoghurt and lemon juice in a bowl and marinate for a few hours or overnight.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pot on medium heat and fry the onions until golden brown. Add 250ml (1 cup) warm water and cook the onions until all water has cooked away.
  3. Next, add the garlic and ginger, spices, tomato paste, salt and chillies and cook for 10 minutes, adding a dash of water to prevent burning and also stirring when necessary.
  4. Add the chicken and yoghurt marinade and cook on medium to high heat, stirring occasionally. Whatever you do, do not add water to the curry.
  5. After 8-10 minutes, add the coconut cream and the chopped coriander. Cook for five minutes. Stir once and switch off the heat.
  6. Serve with white basmati rice or roti.

This recipe is extracted from 'Cape, Curry & Koesisters' (Human & Rousseau, R350). The authors, twin sisters Fatima Sydow and Gadija Sydow Noordien, like nothing better than sharing their Cape culture through their love of cooking and baking. The pair decided to publish a cookbook following the success of TV show, 'Kaap, Kerrie & Koesisters'. The book is a visual feast and includes some excellent ideas for Ramadan and the Eid celebration.