Flavourful, finger licking and bone-crushing goodness….. Yup! It is all of those things and more….
There’s quite a number of English names given to this chicken i.e. traditional free-range chicken, homegrown chicken, indigenous chicken, chicken raised at home and my personal favourite…..the running chicken.
I grew up calling it Umleqwa which means it’s a running chicken and you chase it if you want to catch it. I’m not sure whether the chasing takes place before or after the slaughter. If you were lucky enough to grow up in a rural or farm setting you would remember the chickens roaming around and running if you try to catch it. I’ve also witnessed people chasing after a headless chicken quite a number of times…..it really runs!
Umleqwa is not like your typical retail chicken that cooks in 20 minutes. The meat is tough, the skin is thick and totally different as a result you boil it for 45 minutes to one hour.
One thing about indigenous food cooking is that less is more. Umleqwa is a typical example of a dish, not just any dish but a tasty dish that only requires minimal seasoning such as salt. At least our parents and grandparents cook it that way and it is so good.
Most people at this time of the year are going home to be with their families and of course to feast. Chances are umleqwa is going to be on the menu.
I’m presenting to you a recipe that won’t only have you and your family licking fingers and crushing bones but will also have your family asking for more and of course thinking you are Jamie Oliver! Enjoy!
Umleqwa / Free-range Chicken Recipe
1 whole chicken, plucked, cleaned and cut into 6 pieces
900ml boiling water
1 chicken stock cube
15ml olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, skin removed and chopped
30ml (2 tbsp) tomato paste
2.5ml (½ tsp) curry powder
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
- Transfer the boiling water to a saucepan and add the chicken pieces.
- Add the stock cube to the chicken and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until its cooked.
- In another saucepan, sauté the onion, green pepper, garlic clove.
- Add tomatoes, curry powder, sugar and tomato paste.
- Season with salt.
- Add the cooked chicken and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Serve with samp, steam bread, phuthu pap / umqa or rice and veggies.
If there’s remaining water from the cooked chicken, don’t throw it away just add it to the tomato mixture to make gravy.
Looking for a veggie salad to complement this dish? Look no further than this Curried Three Bean Salad. 👇