Cape Malay Curry

Cape Malay Curry: This flavorful curry is influenced by the Cape Malay community. It combines aromatic spices with ingredients like chicken, lamb, or fish, creating a fragrant and mildly spiced dish. It is often served with rice and sambals (condiments).

Here’s a recipe for Cape Malay Curry, a popular South African dish known for its rich and aromatic flavours. This recipe serves 4-6 people.

Ingredients: Cape Malay Curry

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons Cape Malay curry powder (store-bought or homemade)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 cinnamon stick
2 green chillies, finely chopped (adjust according to your spice preference)
1 kg (2.2 lbs) boneless chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces (you can also use lamb or vegetables for a vegetarian option)
2 large tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
400 ml (13.5 oz) coconut milk
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
Salt to taste
Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped (for garnish)
For the spice paste (optional):
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon Cape Malay curry powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Note: The spice paste is an additional step that enhances the flavor, but you can skip it and directly add the spices to the dish if you prefer.


Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook until they turn golden brown, stirring occasionally.
Add the minced garlic and grated ginger to the pot and sauté for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
If you’re using the spice paste, heat the additional oil in a separate pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until softened. Then add the minced garlic and grated ginger, and cook for another minute. Finally, add the Cape Malay curry powder, turmeric, cumin, and coriander, and cook for a minute until fragrant. Remove from heat.
Add the Cape Malay curry powder (if you skipped the spice paste step), ground turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, cinnamon stick, and chopped green chillies to the pot. Stir well to coat the onions, garlic, and ginger with the spices.
Add the chicken (or your choice of meat/vegetables) to the pot and cook until it’s lightly browned on all sides.
Stir in the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste, and cook for 2-3 minutes until the tomatoes start to soften.
Pour in the coconut milk and chicken/vegetable broth. Stir well, bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and let the curry simmer gently for about 40-45 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and cooked through. If using vegetables, adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Taste the curry and season with salt according to your preference. Remove the cinnamon stick.
Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro leaves.

Serve the Cape Malay curry hot with steamed rice or warm naan bread.

Enjoy your homemade Cape Malay Curry!

Cape Malay curry

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