Durban Chicken Curry

Durban chicken curry recipe

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 75 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
546 Calories
33g Fat
23g Carbs
43g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 546
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 33g 43%
Saturated Fat 10g 51%
Cholesterol 225mg 75%
Sodium 460mg 20%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 43g
Vitamin C 22mg 112%
Calcium 76mg 6%
Iron 4mg 23%
Potassium 1139mg 24%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This simple Durban chicken curry recipe is the perfect introduction to South African Indian cuisine. Durban is South Africa's third most populous city, and in addition to beautiful beaches, it's known for its Indian-style curries.

Full of warm spices, this chicken curry is a flavorful main dish. It may look like a long list of ingredients; however, many of these are common spices or items that you can easily find at any grocery store. The cayenne pepper adds a nice kick, but if you'd prefer a milder curry, you can reduce it to taste. Serve with steamed basmati rice and sambal on the side for a satisfying dinner.

"This curry is very easy to make and the payoff is huge. It's full of great flavor and is much lighter than curries made with yogurt or coconut milk. Don't let the long list of dried spices worry you. Once those are measured out the recipe is a breeze to complete." —Joan Velush

Durban Chicken Curry/Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 2 tablespoons ghee, or unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 1 tablespoon curry powder, or garam masala

  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks, about 1/2 ounce

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces, preferably thighs, drumsticks, and wings

  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 1 medium rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 1 cup chicken stock

  • 1 sprig curry leaves

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Fresh coriander leaves, for garnish, optional

  • Cooked basmati rice, for serving, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Durban chicken curry
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  2. In a large Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pan, melt butter with vegetable oil over low heat. Add curry powder, coriander, ground cumin, whole cumin, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon sticks. Cook, stirring frequently until fragrant, about 1 minute. Be careful not to burn the spices.

    Spices added to melted butter in a pot
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  3. Turn heat to medium and add onion, ginger, and garlic. Cook, stirring often until softened, about 3 minutes.

    Onions, garlic, and spices in the pot
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  4. Turn heat to high and add chicken pieces. Cook, stirring to coat the pieces in the onion and spices very well, about 5 minutes.

    Chicken with spices in the pot
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  5. Add chopped tomatoes and tomato puree, and give pot a good stir.

    Chicken and tomatoes in pot
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  6. Throw in diced potatoes, rutabaga, chicken stock, and curry leaves. Let simmer on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the chicken is cooked and the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Adjust the seasoning with salt, if necessary. Serve garnished with coriander leaves and rice, if desired.

    Add diced potatoes, rutabaga, chicken stock, and curry leaves
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck


  • 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.
  • Care should be taken to ensure there is enough heat to cook the potatoes through. You will notice they absorb much of the water and become fluffy when ready.

What Are the Best Spices for Curry?

Curries are known for their blend of fragrant spices. Exactly what spices are used depends on the type of curry being made. Common spices in Indian curries include coriander, cumin, turmeric, pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger.

Recipe Tags: