African Chicken Curry in Rich Palm Oil

Total Time
1hr 30mins
Prep 30 mins
Cook 1 hr

This dish is something I created inspired by my finding virgin red palm oil in a local gourmet store. It's a pretty basic curry but what makes it special is the richness of the palm oil. Make sure to get the unhydrogenated virgin palm oil. It looks creamy at room temperature - almost solid, and it is a deep red color. Don't try to cut the fat down by using less oil or skinned chicken as you will not get to appreciate the dish for it's incredible richness. If you do want to cut any fat out you can use a lighter yoghurt (ie 2%). Use whole spices and grind them - this makes a massive difference. You might want to have the windows open and the fan running during the cooking process.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Cut the potatoes into large bite size pieces and boil them in water for 7 minutes. Discard the water and set potatoes aside.
  2. Finely dice all the onions. Peel and mince garlic cloves (I toss them in the spice grinder and pulse but do not use a garlic press). Mince or grind ginger (again I use a spice grinder for this). Cut the green peppers into large bite size pieces.
  3. Set aside 1 tsp of cumin seed for later. Grind the whole spice mix minus the 1 tsp cumin seed and combine with the ground turmeric (you can also use whole turmeric and grind with the whole spices but it's a pain because whole turmeric is rock hard and probably makes no difference versus the ground turmeric). Do not use pre ground spices.
  4. Heat the palm oil on high in a wide, deep nonstick pan. It should quickly begin to sizzle and smoke. Add the 1 tsp of whole cumin seed you set aside. Add the saffron. After a half minute or so add the diced onions. Stir around giving the onions a chance to brown. While you are doing this add the ginger, garlic and then the spice mixture. Once the onions are browned add the tomato, lemon juice (optional) and the coconut milk. Stir it up and then slowly mix in the yoghurt. You should have a nice looking sauce by now. Taste for salt and if not enough then add more to taste (do not do this after you add the raw chicken). Add the potatoes and green peppers and then the raw chicken thighs. Mix it up real good and lower the heat to low. Cover the pan tightly and let cook on the stove on low for approximately one hour checking on it occasionally (it should bubble a bit – if not turn the heat up a little). After one hour look at the sauce. If it is soupy then remove all the thighs and set aside and leave the pan uncovered and turn up the heat to high. Stand by at this point and intermittently stir while the sauce boils. Reduce to a medium thick sauce. Lower the heat back to low, return the chicken to the pan and stir it up. When you are ready to serve the food turn off the heat and chop the cilantro finely and throw into the pan and stir. Your curry is done. Serve over basmati rice or with warm naan bread.


Most Helpful

This was the first recipe I found looking for recipes using virgin palm oil. I made it exactly as suggested and it got rave reviews from my guinea pigs :D It really came together easily, and although the amount of fat sounds dangerous, it doesn't taste at all greasy but extremely aromatic. For myself I had to make a lot of substitutions, but that was still excellent, so it turns out to be a versatile recipe at that, too. I'll sure make it again. Thanks for posting!

Mia in Germany September 01, 2009

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