RECIPE: Kenyan Kuku Paka (Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce)


It’s Africa Day on the 25th of May and I thought it would be cool to celebrate the day with a dish from a different part of the African continent.  What do you think of Kenya?


I’ve grown fond of Kenyan cuisine e.g. githeri, mukimo, chapati etc.  Kenyans are very proud of their food and while we busy planning to visit that beautiful country someday, why don’t we tease ourselves with one of their lip-smacking dishes…


Kenyan dishes have a lot of Indian influences and that’s what I picked up when preparing this dish, Kuku Paka, a chicken stew cooked in coconut curry sauce.  The flavours are so good, but again what can one expect from a combination of garlic, chillies, ginger!  These 3 ingredients are my trusted blood thinners – use them frequently in your cooking and you’ll have fewer chances of having blood clots.  The chillies also give the dish a little burn – it’s a good burn, even my 2-year-old niece enjoyed the dish.  Kuku Paka is a perfect one pot wonder – get all your ingredients in the pot then go chill or catch up on your favourite TV shows without worrying ukuthi amabhodwe azosha.


This recipe is adapted from cosmogirls recipe.  Initially, I thought it uses a lot of oil but realised that the oil becomes useful when frying the onion and garlic.  Serve this delicious Kuku Paka with Brown Lentil Rice and some roasted veggies. Your family will thank you for it!  Hope you try it this Africa Day.  Happy cooking!



Kenyan Kuku Paka with Brown Lentil Rice
Kuku Paka with Brown Lentil Rice



Kenyan Kuku Paka (Kenyan Chicken Curry) 


1 onion, roughly chopped

2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

Fresh ginger, about 1 – 2 Tbsp, roughly chopped

2 chillies, roughly chopped (don’t remove the seeds if you want it spicy)

60ml olive oil

5ml (1tsp) spicy and mild curry powder

10ml (2tsp) ground cumin (jeera)

2 bay leaves

6 tomatoes, quartered and pureed in food processor

400ml (1x can) coconut milk

1 chicken stockpot

1kg chicken pieces, feel free to remove the skin)

Black pepper, to taste

15ml (1Tbsp) cornstarch

Coriander / parsley, for garnishing



  1. Add the onion, chillies, ginger and garlic to a sustenance processor and blend until smooth. Add a little bit of water if necessary.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium fire. Add the onion mixture, curry powder and cumin and sauté for 5 to 8 minutes, or until cooked down.
  3. Mix in the tomatoes and stew for 3 to 4 minutes.  At this point include the bay leaves, chicken, coconut, stock pot, and pepper.  Allow to boil then reduce temperature to medium heat.
  4. Cook with a closed lid until the chicken is cooked through, for about 30 minutes to 60 minutes.
  5. Make a paste with cornstarch and the sauce then throw back into the saucepan to thicken.  Cook until sauce is slightly thickened.  Garnish with coriander or parsley.
  6. Serve with Brown Lentil Rice.


Thuli’s Tip:

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Tshohlo (Shredded Chicken) and Mango Atchar Mini Quiches with Pumpkin Seeds, paired with Nederburg Foundation Rosé

About Author


Thuli Gogela is a Food Technologist with 8 years of experience developing products in food manufacturing. She is dedicated to discovering wholesome traditional dishes and recipes with a distinctive taste from different parts of the African continent. Thuli is well known for her food blog, Mzansi Style Cuisine which was established in 2010. She saw a gap in the traditional food market that people were hungry for. From there, it didn’t take long to build her brand. In 2013, she started writing a recipe column for the Cape Times for and has collaborated with some of the biggest brands in South Africa namely, Knorr, Nedeburg Wines, First Choice and Spekko rice. Not only does Thuli feature traditional African dishes, she’s also open to developing recipes, food consultations and brand collaborations.

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