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Cape Malay Chicken Curry

Cape Malay Chicken Curry
Cape Malay Chicken Curry

After my trip to South Africa, early this year, I have come back very inspired and with many cook-books, I can't believe it has taken me this long to finally cook something inspired by the trip. Anyways, Cape Malay cuisine is a fusion of South African, Indonesian, and Malaysian flavors and cooking styles. The cuisine is characterized by the use of aromatic spices, such as cinnamon, coriander, cumin, and turmeric, which are used to flavor stews, curries, and other dishes. In this recipe (as per usual with me), I added a twist to the traditional Cape Malay chicken curry by incorporating sumac, a spice commonly used in Middle Eastern and Arabic cuisine, and eggplant. The addition of sumac adds a slightly tangy and citrusy flavor to the dish, making it even more flavorful and delicious, at least for me it does. The addition of the eggplant was more out of necessity, as it was reaching its overdue date, nonetheless turned out just delicious.

This recipe yields 6 portions.


2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 large onion (chopped)

2 garlic cloves (minced)

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

2 tablespoons Cape Malay curry powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon sumac

500gr. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 eggplant (peeled & diced)

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can coconut milk

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 cinnamon stick

2 bay leaves

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

Saffron cooked rice, for serving


  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for another minute until fragrant.

  2. Add the Cape Malay curry powder, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and sumac, stirring until well combined.

  3. Add the chicken & eggplant pieces to the pot and stir to coat them in the spice mixture. Cook for 5-7 minutes until the chicken is browned on all sides.

  4. Add the diced tomatoes, chicken broth, cinnamon stick, and bay leaves to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened.

  5. Add the coconut milk and simmer on low for another 10 minutes.

  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  7. Serve the chicken curry hot over cooked saffron rice, garnished with fresh cilantro.



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