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A traditional Cape Malay chicken curry recipe (that’s easy to make) from Zainie Misbach.

Serves four

  • 50ml vegetable oil
  • 2 medium-sized onions, chopped
  • 1 kg chicken, skinned and cut into portions
  • 15 ml turmeric
  • 15 ml ground cumin
  • 10 ml ground coriander
  • 10 ml fennel
  • 15 ml red masala (available at spice shops)
  • 30 ml garlic and ginger paste
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped finely
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 6 to 7 fresh curry leaves (available at spice shops)
  • 6 to 7 sprigs of fresh coriander
  • Salt

Heat a little oil in a pot, add onions and sauté until browned. Add chicken and stir well, and then add the spices, garlic and ginger paste, a pinch of salt and the chopped tomato. Pour in 250 ml of water. Cook, then stir for five minutes, and then cover the pot with a lid. Add the potatoes, another 250 ml of water, then cover and simmer on a low heat until the potatoes are soft. Just before serving add the curry leaves and coriander and stir gently. Serve with rice or homemade rotis.


Zainie’s top tip: Add a touch of lemon juice to soften the husks of the spices when simmering.


The Bo-Kaap Cooking Tour

Zainie Misbach offers cooking classes in the Bo-Kaap where she teaches small groups to cook traditional Cape Malay dishes such as curries, rotis, samoosas and dhaltjies. A three-hour tour and class costs R600 a person, cell 074 130 8124, email,

  • The Bo-Kaap Cooking Tour is so great for travellers wanting to get stuck into the area’s culture. Absolutely love and support the tour.

  • Tienie Oosthuizen

    Hi, when is your next tour? Tienie

  • Caren

    Hey I would just like to know how many this recipe yields.

    • Sarah Duff

      Hi Caren, this recipe serves four people. Enjoy!

      • Caren

        Thank you Sarah, I’m in chef school and I chose that recipe for one of my projects. Thank you 🙂

        • Sarah Duff

          Pleasure. Good luck with your project! 🙂

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  • I use Rajah curry powder for the spices and regulate the heat with chili. Been making this curry for my family for years and always loved by all