Quick and Easy Recipes

Cape Malay Chicken Curry

Start to finish: 1 hour
Servings: 6
Lemony and richly savory, Cape Malay curry is a chicken and vegetable one-pot from South Africa. Its ingredients are similar to those in Indian curries, but the techniques are different, creating a refreshingly light curry. Spices aren’t ground but are dropped whole into the broth and often discarded just before serving. We started our curry with a flavor base of lightly browned onions, then used whole fennel and cumin seeds to add texture and flavor.

Fresh ginger and lemon juice kept flavors bright. A whole chicken is sometimes used for this dish, but we liked the ease of boneless, skinless thighs, which stay moist and taste richer than chicken breasts.
Don’t forget to remove the ginger, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves and chili halves from the cooking liquid after removing the chicken. Also, don’t cut the potatoes smaller than 1-inch chunks; smaller pieces will overcook and break apart. Finally, don’t pull the chicken into fine shreds after simmering—the pieces should be bite-size.


1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
2 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
4-ounce piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into 5 pieces
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 serrano chilies, stemmed and halved lengthwise
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
Two 3-inch cinnamon sticks
2 bay leaves

Directions :

1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus lemon wedges, to serve ½ cup lightly packed fresh mint, torn
Cooked basmati or jasmine rice, to serve
1. In a bowl, mix the fennel, cumin, turmeric, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Using 1 tablespoon of this mixture, season the chicken on all sides.
2. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat the oil until barely smoking. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the ginger, garlic and chilies, then cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the broth or water, tomatoes, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves and remaining spice mixture, then add the chicken thighs, submerging them in the cooking liquid.
3. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for 25 minutes, adjusting the heat to maintain a steady but gentle simmer. Stir in the potatoes, cover and return to a simmer. Cook until the chicken and potatoes are tender, another 12 to 15 minutes.
4. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a large plate. Remove and discard the ginger, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves and chili halves, then continue to simmer over medium until the liquid is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, using 2 forks, pull the chicken into bite-size pieces. Return the chicken to the pot and stir to combine, taking care not to break up the potatoes. Stir in the lemon juice, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the mint. Serve with rice and lemon wedges.

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