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A Durban chicken curry recipe you would want seconds for!

By April 21, 2023September 27th, 2023FinGlobal, Newsletter

A Durban chicken curry recipe you would want seconds for!

April 21, 2023


There isn’t much that can compete with South Africa’s infamous braai-kos and win first place in the flavour department; unless you consider the Durban chicken curry! Think of succulent chunks of chicken infused with warm earthy spices, served on a bed of fragrant rice. But, of course, for it to be a proper Durban chicken curry, it has to be made with fresh masala and perfectly sauteed garlic and onions. Naan bread, anyone?

The history of Durban curry chicken

Like much of South Africa’s local cuisine, Durban curry chicken comes from another country entirely! In fact, the tasty Durban chicken curry many of us have grown up eating was first introduced to Saffa’s in 1860 with the arrival of South Indian labourers to the port of Natal. Many years later, the Durban chicken curry recipe is one dish many agree is synonymous with South Africa’s cultural heritage. As a result, the Durban chicken curry is often referred to as the South African chicken curry; it’s actually the same tasty dish!

Where to buy Durban curry around the world

As a Saffa based abroad, you’ve probably missed the tantalizing taste of Durban Curry, and who could blame you? We’re drooling, simply just talking about it!

So, where can you find your Durban curry fix while living across the pond? Thankfully the FinGlobal team understands that searching for a curry that vaguely compares to South African chicken curry can be frustrating when the curry pangs strike far from home. So, for this reason, we’ve done some investigating so you can get on with the important bits, like cooking and eating a delectable Durban chicken curry the South African way!

  • Amazon – UK and US
  • Online Wholesalers and suppliers
  • South African Shops – there’s bound to be one in your new neighbourhood.

How to make Durban curry powder

Of course, depending on where you live, getting your hands on some traditional Durban curry powder may not be as easy as purchasing some online. Unfortunately, some folks still have much to learn about curry! However, that doesn’t mean a lekker Durban chicken curry is off the menu. On the contrary, if you’re happy to delve elbows deep into your kitchen spice rack, you’ll find you have most of the ingredients you need to whip up some Durban curry powder of your own!

What you need:

  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp red cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp cumin (Jeera)
  • 6 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tbsp Methi (fenugreek)
  • ½ tbsp cinnamon
  • ½ tbsp cardamom
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder

What to do:

  • Using measuring spoons, carefully measure the ingredients mentioned in the list above and place them in a clean, dry glass jar.
  • Close the lid and shake well to ensure the spices blend completely.
  • Store in a cool, dry place until the Durban curry pangs strike!

The great part about making your own Durban curry powder is it allows you to tweak the ingredients to suit your unique taste requirements! Whether you prefer more ginger or a dash more cardamom, that’s up to you. Additionally, if heat is more the name of your game, then add extra chilli or cayenne pepper. Either way, we guarantee the aroma wafting from your kitchen window will fill the neighbours with dinner-plate envy!

Pukka South African chicken curry recipe

Now that you have a jar of lekker Durban curry powder in the cupboard, it seems like the right time to haul out a plate-licking South African chicken curry recipe! Yum.

What you need:

  • 8 chicken thighs (skin-on and bone-in)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp butter (ghee)
  • 1 tbsp Durban curry powder (or your own mix)
  • 1 large onion finely sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 potatoes diced (half-inch cubes)
  • Fresh coriander leaves

What to do:

  • Melt the butter or ghee in the vegetable oil over low heat in a large pan.
  • Next, add the curry powder and gently heat until the spices become fragrant without burning them.
  • Add the onions and garlic and saute on medium heat until soft and translucent. This part of the process usually takes about three minutes.
  • Now add the chicken thighs to the pan to brown, turning each piece regularly to ensure the spices are evenly distributed.
  • After approximately 5 minutes, add the chopped tomatoes and tomato puree and stir the mixture thoroughly before adding the diced potatoes.
  • Then season your Durban chicken curry liberally with salt and pepper and allow it to simmer for half an hour on low heat.
  • Top tip* Poke the potatoes with a fork to encourage gravy absorption.
  • Finally, when your delicious Durban curry is cooked, and the potatoes softened, serve on a bed of basmati rice and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

The Final slurp

Traditionally, Durban curry is served on rice; however, it’s so flavoursome and versatile you can also serve it stuffed in vetkoek (gourmet bunny chow), over lekker mielie pap, or in roti. Don’t forget to add tasty accompaniments like sambal, carrot salad, or freshly chopped tomatoes, cucumber, and onion; if you want to add more flavour!

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