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Aysha Bora’s Coconut Chicken Curry (Kuku Paka)

by The Hubb Community Kitchen from Together: Our Community Cookbook

This rich and comforting East African coconut chicken curry recipe is a real home-cooked favourite and is given added texture with the addition of hard boiled eggs. Perfect with rice or naan.


When I was growing up I hated cooking. My family is from India and preparing big meals for the extended family was part of our culture, but I used to beg for any job other than cooking. Then I got married and moved to Africa and suddenly everything changed – I began calling my mother and asking her for recipes. She told me: ‘Cooking for someone you love is what makes you a good cook.’ This curry is a particular favourite of my family in Tanzania.

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1 large chicken, jointed into 8 pieces, excess skin trimmed away
1 large ripe tomato, roughly chopped
1 onion, quartered
15g fresh root ginger, peeled
4 garlic cloves, peeled
6 serrano chillies, stems removed and de-seeded (use fewer if you prefer milder curries)
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 x 400ml tins coconut milk
3 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled and halved
juice of half lemon
salt and pepper
10g fresh coriander, chopped, to garnish
rice, chapatis or flatbreads, to serve

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Score each piece of the chicken in two or three places, slicing about 1cm into the meat.

Put the tomato, onion, ginger, garlic, chillies, cumin, coriander, turmeric and some salt and pepper into a food processor and blend to a rough paste. Rub one third of the paste all over the chicken, into the cuts and under the skin; reserve the rest of the mixture. Refrigerate the chicken for at least 1 hour, or up to 5 hours.

Preheat the grill to the highest setting, and line a large baking tin with foil.

In a large pan, melt the coconut oil on a medium heat; add the remaining paste and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until all of the moisture evaporates. Increase the heat slightly and cook for 3–5 minutes until the paste is thick and dark. Add the coconut milk and simmer for 25–30 minutes until the sauce is thick.

Meanwhile, put the marinated chicken, skin side up, in the lined baking tin and grill for 15 minutes, until well coloured and charred, then turn the chicken over and grill for another 5 minutes to make sure it is cooked through. 

Stir the chicken and any juices into the curry pan, bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 5 minutes until the flavours have combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Add the boiled eggs and the lemon juice to taste. Sprinkle with the chopped coriander and serve with rice, chapatis or flatbreads.

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