Cape Malay Chicken Curry. South Africa

Cape Malay Chicken Curry is a famous dish of curry in South-Africa. It’s been brought and locally adapted when Malaysians have been forced by the Dutch to immigrate as slaves in South-African colonies in the 16 and 17th centuries, when the needs for building the country’s infrastructure were not met by the locals, and more workers were needed.


I don’t know Cape Town yet, but I’m dreading to go someday. Cape Malay is the name of a district of Cape Town, were the Malaysians settled down – and stayed ever since. The last couple years, I got the chance to read my friend Sue’s blog posts about her travels to South Africa and Zimbabwe, and this reading opened up my eyes to a culture that I barely knew, hence I felt like digging a bit more into it, starting with the local food.


Served either over white rice or South-African yellow rice if you fancy more flavors to accompany an already super flavorsome dish, this chicken curry often comes with roasted banana bites. I have opted for white rice, but here are the ingredients that can be found in the yellow rice: turmeric, raisins, ginger, sometimes cinnamon, sometimes curry powder.


I can’t say what I am most attracted to when I think of travelling to South-Africa. My imagination flies over vineyards and wine-tasting afternoons; wild animals watching; rugby games (though I am not a huge fan of the Springbox at all); windy wavy oceans meeting at the Southern tip of the continent. And of course, tasting anything local that would implicitely explain to me something about the locals culture, history, way of life and so on. Dear friends, à table !



  • Chicken thighs and drumsticks
  • 1 banana (cut in half, lengthwise)
  • 250 ml of coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp of mild curry paste
  • 1 yellow onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 tsp of fresh ginger (peeled and minced)
  • 1 small red chili (remove the seeds and wash your hands with soap before touching your eyes)
  • 1 can of tomatoes (about 400g)
  • 1/2 tsp of sugar
  • a dash of cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp of ground coriander
  • 1 tsp of cardamome
  • canola oil
  • salt to taste


  1. Heat a bit of oil in a high-edge cast iron pan. Start grilling the chicken, skin down. Grill on both side.
  2. Before chicken pieces are cooked through, remove from the pan.
  3. Keep the fat and start frying the onion. When it gets soft, add the garlic and ginger, and the dry spices.
  4. Keep stirring and let the aroma develope.
  5. At the same time, roast the banana halves on both sides. Immediately remove from the pan and set aside.
  6. Add a bit more oil and the curry paste. Let develope for a minute or so on medium heat.
  7. Pour the can of tomatoes, the sugar and a bit of hot water.
  8. Stir well and put back the chicken on top of the sauce.
  9. Cover with a lid, decrease the heat to low, and let it cook for 20 minutes at least.
  10. When the time is up, add the coconut milk, adjust the taste with salt.
  11. Put the banana pieces into the pan. Let simmer a couple more minutes.
  12. Serve over white rice with a few leaves (coriander or parsley) for decorating.

Created and Written by Sophie Rebibo-Halimi. © 2020 All Rights Reserved.


  1. Yes all those things about South Africa you would / will love Sophie. I haven’t heard of chicken with banana before but it looks very good. I think I could replace the chicken with tofu and it would be superb.

    Liked by 1 person

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