South Africa Has A Lighter and Brighter Chicken Curry

We found a vibrant, one-pot chicken and vegetable recipe in Cape Town, South Africa. It was a riot of colors and smells. This Cape Malay curry looks Indian or Indonesian from afar, but closer inspection reveals that it is uniquely South African.

The potatoes are coated with distinct flavors, but the flavor is not there to coat them. There are tender bits of chicken and potatoes, so the dish has a lot more body than Indian curries. It is refreshing.

South Africa has a lighter and brighter chicken curry

Faldela Tolker, our teacher, pointed out that different ingredients can be used. For example, spices are not ground, but they are added whole to the broth. They are then often discarded right before being served. It produces a milder, lighter, and more flavorful curry than the ones we are used to, but it is still very aromatic.

This recipe is from “Milk Street Tuesday Nights” and it builds the flavor base for our Cape Malay curried on lightly browned onions. Whole fennel and cumin seed are also used, which adds both flavor and texture. The meat is moistened and richened by using boneless, skinless chicken legs.