Cape Malay Chicken Curry

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Traditional Cape Malay Chicken Curry by Chef Tharwat Londt Sonia Cabano blog eatdrinkcapetown
Traditional Cape Malay Chicken Curry by Chef Tharwat Londt

Craving Cape Malay Chicken Curry?

No need to go out or even get take-out! Cook up this perfectly fragrant, easy recipe by Chef Tharwat Londt and make your taste buds rediscover life. Executive chef at Radisson Inn, Newlands, Tharwat has generously shared the spice magic of his Chicken Curry recipe with us.

Cape Malay Chicken curry chef Tharwat Londt Sonia Cabano blog eatdrinkcapetown
Cape Malay Chicken Curry by Radisson Park Inn Executive Chef Tharwat Londt

Follow the simple steps below to rustle up Cape Malay Chicken Curry in the comfort of your own home, safe and sound.

The recipe easily doubles up for that far-off time in the future, when you can have friends and family over again.

You know? Normal life.

Cape Malay Chicken Curry Sonia Cabano Blog eatdrinkcapetown
Cape Malay Chicken Curry

Cape Malay Chicken Curry

Serves 4

• 1 onion, medium, peeled and very finely chopped
• 4 tablespoons (60ml) sunflower oil
• 1 1/2 (7.5ml) teaspoons coriander seeds
• 2 teaspoons (10ml) dried chilli flakes or use 1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and very finely minced
• 2 teaspoons (10ml) ground fennel, or 4 teaspoons (20ml) whole fennel seeds
• 1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5ml) ground cumin
• 2 tablespoons (30ml) ginger, fresh, finely grated
• 1 teaspoon (5ml) turmeric
• 1/2 to 1 teaspoon (2.5ml to 5ml) black pepper, coarsely ground
• 15 cardamom pods (whole pods) crushed in mortar with pestle, keep seeds and discard husks
• 1/2 teaspoon (2.5ml) cinnamon
• 1 tablespoon (15ml) garam masala
• 1 x 400g can whole peeled tomato
• 2 kg chicken pieces (You could use chopped, deboned chicken thighs or chicken breasts here, adjust cooking time accordingly. 15 minutes for chicken thighs, no more than 10 minutes max for chicken breasts.)
• 2 teaspoons (10ml) fresh garlic, finely chopped
• 2 teaspoons (10ml) brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon (15ml) lemon juice
• ½ (60ml) cup Mrs Balls peach chutney (although any peach chutney will do)
• 2 -3 teaspoons (10 – 15ml) salt, to taste

chicken curry cape malay Sonia Cabano blog eatdrinkcapetown
Spicy, fragrant traditional Cape Malay Chicken Curry


  • Mix all the spices together; peel and chop/grate the ginger. Put the 10 spices – from the coriander seeds down to the garam masala – in a mortar and pestle and grind together until fine.
  • Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot, add the onion and ginger over fairly high heat, and cook, stirring now and then, for a few minutes.
  • Add the ground spices, stir thoroughly to blend. You might need to add more oil: spices slurp up oil as they fry. Don’t worry, you will be able to skim it off again later.
  • Stir and fry spices and onion together for about 2 minutes. Add can of chopped tomatoes and stir. The heat should be high enough so everything bubbles together.
  • Add the chicken pieces, stir to coat well, keeping heat medium until the sauce just begins to bubble. Cook this way for 5 – 7 minutes.
  • Turn heat way down until it just barely simmers with an occasional, gentle bubble. Put lid on pot and cook for 10 minutes, until chicken is tender but not falling apart.
  • Add garlic, sugar, lemon juice, chutney and salt. Stir well to combine.
  • Simmer with lid tilted at an angle to let steam escape (allowing sauce to thicken somewhat), until chicken is tender and cooked through. The cooking time will depend on which cuts/portions of chicken you use. Bone-in chicken portions = 20 minutes, deboned chopped chicken thighs = 10 minutes, chopped chicken breast = 5 minutes.
  • Stir through, taste the sauce, and adjust seasoning to taste. Serve with basmati rice, tomato onion sambal, roti and poppadoms.
  • Contact:
    T: +27 (21) 8226500

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Celebrating life with food, wine, friends & happiness! Writer, cook and blogger. Author of four cookbooks. Passionately South African, proudly Capetonian.