Tamu Sana Kuku Paka

"Tamu sana means "very delicious" in Swahili, the language spoken in Kenya, where I grew up. Kuku Paka is a hybrid dish coming from Swahili, Arab, and Indian influences. It is my husband's favorite dish, and my kids love to say the name of it when they ask me to make it. Kuku means chicken in Swahili, but nobody that I have asked knows what the Paka part is supposed to mean. It is a mild, creamy, and comforting dish."
photo by Artandkitchen photo by Artandkitchen
photo by Artandkitchen
Ready In:
1hr 45mins




  • Place the chicken thighs in a plastic freezer bag with half of the ginger (1 1/2 tbsp), half of the garlic (1 1/2 tbsp), half of the vegetable oil (2 tbsp) and a third of the kosher salt (1 tbsp). Leave to marinate in the fridge for at least one hour or even overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Farenheit.
  • Cover two cookie sheets with foil and spray each with a nonstick cooking spray.
  • On one sheet, place the chicken thighs, skin side up, in a single layer.
  • Peel the potatoes and cut them into quarters. Put them in a single layer on the second cookie sheet. Spray the potatoes and sprinkle with a third of the kosher salt (1 tbsp).
  • Roast the potatoes and chicken in the oven for 45 minutes.
  • While the chicken and potatoes are cooking, make the gravy: Finely dice the onion and fry it in the other half of the vegetable oil (2 tbsp) until the pieces turn a light brown color. Add the spices, the rest of the garlic and ginger ( 1 1/2 tbsp each), the rest of the salt (1 tbsp), the sugar, the serrano chili, and the tomatoes. If you like it spicy, pound on the chili with a mallet or cut it up into small pieces. If you like it mild, cut two slits into the chili, but do not split it open.
  • Cook, constantly stirring, for about five minutes, or until the tomatoes start sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  • Pour in the coconut milk and stir to combine. Heat until hot but not boiling. Add the lime juice, eggs, and some cilantro (leave some for garnish). Taste for seasoning and add more salt, sugar, or lime juice to taste.
  • When the chicken and potatoes are ready, place the potatoes directly in the gravy -- they should be slightly browned on the edges. Take the skin off the chicken and put the chicken in the gravy as well (leave the meat on the bone, or take it off if you'd like). Be sure not to boil the gravy or the coconut milk will curdle.
  • Garnish with cilantro and slices of limes.
  • Serve with fresh basmati rice or thick slices of a crusty soft French bread for dunking.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Artandkitchen
    Hello Ferial,<br/>thank you for your kuku paka. It is really tamu sana! I was surprised about the amount of coconut milk, but I followed your instructions...and it was a good hint. My family and especially my son took a lot of sauce ... he couldn't stop eating.<br/>We hope to see more of your recipes!
  2. bariadi
    will try it tonight .we dont use jeera powder the best part of your authentic kuku paka recipe is the chiken has to be grilled and aded to coconut gravy Good Recipe thankyou



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