Durban Chicken Curry

Durban chicken curry recipe

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 65 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. 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.


  • 2 tablespoons ghee (or butter)
  • 1 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
  • 1 to 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 inch fresh ginger (grated)
  • 4 cloves garlic (finely minced)
  • 8 pieces chicken (2.2 pounds or 1 kilogram, preferably thighs and drumsticks or wings)
  • 2 tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 2 potatoes (diced into half-inch cubes)
  • Optional: 1 small rutabaga (swede)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Garnish: fresh coriander leaves

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Durban chicken curry
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  2. In a heavy-bottomed pan, melt the butter with the vegetable oil over low heat. Add the curry powder, coriander, ground cumin, whole cumin, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon sticks and then cook for about a minute or until fragrant. Be careful not to sear or burn the spices.

    Spices added to melted butter in a pot
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  3. Turn up the heat to medium and add the onion, ginger, and garlic and then fry until softened. This should take about 3 minutes.

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

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

    Chicken and tomatoes in pot
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  6. Throw in the diced potatoes, rutabaga, chicken stock, and curry leaves. Allow to simmer for about 30 minutes on low to medium heat. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed.

    Add diced potatoes, rutabaga, chicken stock, and curry leaves
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  7. When ready, garnish with the fresh coriander leaves and serve.

    Durban chicken curry, ready to serve
    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.

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