3.0/5 rating (21 votes)

Cape Malay Chicken curry

South African chicken curry

  • Heat Mild
  • Serves 4
  • Prep 20 mins
  • Cook 45 mins
Cape Malay Chicken curry

Sweet and sour chicken curry from the Cape

Hari says

This is a delicious one pot curry I picked up from a recent trip to South Africa, It's known for a delicate sweet and savoury twist that everyone needs to try. It's a simple dish to cook with the sweetness coming from sugar but I have made a few changes and added a some sweet spices to enhance the depth. I don’t usually use curry powder but I think with this dish the curry powder adds the unique South African feel making it a truly Malay dish. The sweet, fruity flavour can also be enhanced with apricots or mango chutney.

The dish comes from the Cape region in South Africa where it originates from Indian and Indonesian people who were brought to work the farms in Cape Town back in the 17th century. These workers were called Cape Malays and due to their influence curries are very common across the region. Some people like to add potatoes to it which helps to thicken the sauce. It is usually served with yellow rice, roti’s and a selection of lentil sambals. I hope you like it.

  • Ingredients
  • Method
  • 800g chicken thighs diced or 8-10 chicken drumsticks and thighs, skinned
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 cardamom pods lightly crushed
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds, crushed
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp apricot chutney
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 2-3 red chillies, chopped (optional)
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks (optional) 
  • Handful fresh coriander, chopped<li>


  1. Place the chicken into a bowl and sprinkle over the curry powder.
  2. Heat a pan over a medium heat and add the vegetable oil followed by the cinnamon, cloves and cardamom pods.
  3. Once sizzling add the sliced onions and fry until they turn golden brown.
  4. Add the chopped garlic, salt and saute until fragrant.
  5. Add the diced tomatoes, grated ginger, chillies, tomato puree, ground cumin and coriander seeds, turmeric and chilli powder.
  6. Stir and cook until the tomatoes start to break down and the masala starts to thicken to a paste.
  7. Stir in the apricot chutney. Turn the heat up and add the chicken, (and potatoes if you are using them) stir to coat for a few minutes then reduce the heat and leave the chicken to simmer for 30-45 minutes until it’s cooked through. If using bonless pieces it will take less time to cook through.
  8. Mash a few of the potatoes into the sauce to thicken the sauce add the coriander and service with yellow rice. /li>

Served with

Goes with any side dish, rice, naan, parantha, pilau...

Foodies100 Index of UK Food Blogs

Nutritional information

Typical values* per Serving
Fat (g)5.8
of which saturates (g)1.7
Carbohydrates (g)2.8
of which sugars (g)2.1
Fibre (g)0.5
Protein (g)9.5
Salt (mg)0.59
*Based upon calculated values, supplied by myfitnesspal.com. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated.

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