African Chicken Curry Recipe (Kuku Paka): You Have to Try This Recipe by 30Seconds Food

Poultry Dinner
a year ago

African Chicken Curry Recipe (Kuku Paka): You Have to Try This Recipe

Kuku paka, or African chicken curry, is a recipe from Kenya, which is on the east coast of Africa. Kuku means "chicken" in Swahili and it is said that paka refers to any dish made with coconut milk. The African recipe is rich, flavorful and really simple to make at home.

Boneless chicken thighs are used in this easy African chicken curry recipe, but you could use chicken breast if preferred. Just remember that chicken breast tends to dry out if overcooked. In Africa, you'll find this recipe made with not only chicken, but shrimp and crab.

The rich curry is made with onion, garlic, a bay leaf, tomatoes, curry powder, ground cumin, chicken thighs, unsweetened coconut milk and lemon juice. There's no long simmering required for this curry recipe either. The curry cooks in less than 40 minutes on the stovetop.

You could add some vegetables to the dish to up the nutrition. Green peas, diced carrots, diced potatoes, cauliflower, mushrooms, spinach, kale or even green beans are good choices. If you don't have a can of coconut milk, evaporated milk or half and half is a good substitute. But to keep it dairy-free, go with the can of coconut milk. If you like a little sweetness in your curry, add a little brown sugar. You can also marinate the chicken before adding it to the pot in yogurt and turmeric to add even more tenderness and flavor.

Serve this chicken curry for dinner with rice or your favorite side dishes.

Cuisine: African
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 to 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 to 50 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) crushed tomatoes or 1 can (14.5 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes, drained
  • 2 - 3 teaspoons curry powder (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces 
  • 1 can (14 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 lemon, juiced (or to taste)

Here's how to make it: 

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet or soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and bay leaf. Cook until onion is soft and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes, curry powder and cumin. Season with salt, to taste. Cook about 5 minutes. 
  3. Add the chicken. Cook about 15 to 20 minutes or until chicken is just cooked through. 
  4. Reduce the heat to low. Gradually start stirring in the coconut milk and gently cook about 10 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice. 

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Elisa Schmitz
I love recipes from around the world. Makes you feel like you're experiencing a new culture, even when you're at home. YUMMY!
I love African food, so tasty.

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