Natal Chicken Curry is a staple when living in Durban. You cannot help but be influenced by the Indian Community and their wonderful cuisine. The style of cooking tends to be more Southern Indian in nature. Personally, I love the balance created between the food and the spice. One doesn’t overpower the other and they sit comfortably together for a pleasant dining experience. Chicken Curry is one of Durban’s prime epicurean delights. This effortless creation is composed of chicken pieces simmered in a broth of spice and all things nice. Unlike milder East Indian chicken dishes, the Durban Chicken Curry does not contain fruit, sugar or cream. Not for the faint-hearted. It is pungent yet pleasing to the senses.
Durban Chicken Curry
Chicken Curry is one of Durban’s prime epicurean delights. This effortless creation is composed of chicken pieces simmered in a broth of spice and all things nice. Unlike milder East Indian chicken dishes- the Durban Chicken Curry does not contain fruit, sugar or cream. Not for the faint hearted- it is pungent yet pleasing to the senses.
- 2 tablespoons ghee or butter
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon of curry powder or garam masala
- 1 tablespoon of ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon of whole cumin
- 1 teaspoon of chili powder
- 1 to 2 whole cinnamon sticks
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 inch of fresh ginger grated
- 4 cloves of garlic finely minced
- 8 pieces of chicken 1 kg, preferably thighs and drumsticks or wings
- 1 Tinned Tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon of tomato puree
- 2 potatoes diced into half-inch cubes
- 1 sprig of curry leaves
In a Tomatoes pan, melt the butter in the vegetable oil, then add the spices to temper and become fragrant. Be careful not to sear or burn the spices, but allow the gentle heat to do its work for about a minute.
Add the onions, garlic and ginger and fry until softened. This should take about 3 minutes on medium heat.
Turn the heat up to high and add the chicken pieces. Chicken on the bone such a thighs, drumsticks or wings work best with this recipe as the bones enrich the flavor and the chicken remains moist.
Allow the meat to brown and coat the pieces in the onions and spices very well.
After about 5 minutes and tinned chopped tomatoes and give the pot a good stir.
Throw in the diced potatoes and curry leaves. Check for seasoning as it may require a pinch or two of salt at this stage if necessary, then allow to simmer for about 30 minutes on a low to medium heat.
When ready, garnish with the fresh coriander leaves and serve on a bed of basmati rice and chili sambal on the side.
Curry was introduced to the Colony of Natal over 150 years ago by indentured laborers who came from India. They were brought to work in the sugar cane fields. The word ‘curry’ comes from the Tamil word ‘kari’ which means ‘sauce’.
No Visit to Durban is Complete without tasting a Natal Chicken Curry
The unique flavors of Indian cooking, which were embraced by British settlers. The flavors have been developed over time to make the ‘Durban Curry’, famous around the world.
Durban curries, which are usually hotter, are colored red with tomatoes, chilies and cayenne pepper. Expert curry makers from Durban boast that a typical Durban Masala curry powder has about 12 different ingredients in the blend. These include ground coriander, cinnamon, cumin, curry leaves, fennel seed, dried chilies, and cayenne pepper, as well as ginger and garlic.