Durban Chicken Curry Recipe

Durban chicken curry recipe

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  • Total: 65 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 45 mins
  • Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
673 Calories
30g Fat
51g Carbs
52g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 673
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 30g 38%
Saturated Fat 9g 45%
Cholesterol 150mg 50%
Sodium 252mg 11%
Total Carbohydrate 51g 19%
Dietary Fiber 9g 34%
Protein 52g
Calcium 194mg 15%
*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.

I feel very fortunate to have grown up in Botswana, which is the country directly north of South Africa. Although it is a relatively small country, I was still able to experience diverse cultures within my community. One of these was the South African Indian culture, as many of my Indian friends that I grew up with actually identified themselves as purely South African and called Durban home.

Birthday parties and events were the best things to attend as this is where I got exposed to flavors I still feel nostalgic about. Hot curries and ​samosas were an absolute favorite. Try this simple recipe I have created inspired by these memories. 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.


  • 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 cayenne pepper
  • 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)
  • 2 tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato puree
  • 2 potatoes (diced into half-inch cubes)
  • Optional: 1 small rutabaga (swede)
  • 1 cup of chicken stock
  • 1 sprig of curry leaves

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Durban chicken curry
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  2. In a heavy based 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.

    Butter and brown sugar
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  3. Add the onions, garlic and ginger and fry until softened. This should take about 3 minutes on a medium heat.

    Add onions and garlic
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  4. 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.

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  5. After about 5 minutes, add the tomato puree and chopped tomatoes and give the pot a good stir.

    Add chicken
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  6. Throw in the diced potatoes, rutabaga, chicken stock, 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.

    Throw in broth
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  7. When ready, garnish with the fresh coriander leaves and serve on a bed of basmati rice and a sambal on the side.

    Add coriander
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck


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

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