Godfrey’s Kuku Bizari Ya Pwani

By Erica Platter 14 June 2019

Godfrey's Kuku Bizari Ya Pwani. Photo: Clinton Friedman

Godfrey Chege Kinyanjui is the charming and gifted Nairobi-born sous-chef at Simbithi Country Club’s Fig Tree restaurant on the KZN north coast. Hence the name of this dish. In Swahili, it translates to “a chicken curry from the coast”, and it perfectly represents a “new wave” of food, and cultural influences which have broadened the traditional idea of a Durban curry.

Godfrey learned some basic dishes from his mother “when I was little; this got me used to the stove and oven, so from an early age I was never scared of them”. He remembers a primary school teacher’s advice: that cooking, especially for boys, was “a life skill we needed to have”.

Curry, a salad and chapatti (roti), Kenya’s most popular menu “for Christmas, wedding or any special occasion” is also his favourite; he presides over Simbithi’s weekly curry buffet.

His favourite ingredient is garlic: “roasting and toasting whole cloves until they caramelise and ooze off their paper skins reveals a hidden sweetness”. Even when exhausted, after a long shift, he likes to cook at home. Something very easy, very good, like this.

40g fresh ginger, grated

5 cloves garlic

1½ tsp turmeric (ground)

1 Tbsp ground coriander

½ cup lemon juice

½ cup vegetable oil

2 tsp garam masala

2 tsp cumin

1kg chicken fillets (cubed)

½ cup yoghurt

2 large chopped onions

2 tsp curry powder

2 cinnamon sticks

1 tsp paprika

2 tsp chilli flakes

3 x 250g cans crushed tomato

2 green chillis, finely chopped

400ml coconut cream

2 Tbsp honey

Fresh coriander, coarsely chopped

Halve the ginger, garlic, turmeric, ground coriander, lemon juice and vegetable oil and combine them in a bowl. Add all the cumin, garam masala, yoghurt and cubed chicken, mix well until all chicken is coated in marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 45 mins – 1 hour (sometimes I refrigerate overnight)

Heat remaining oil in a large saucepan. Add onion, curry powder, chilli flakes, cinnamon sticks, paprika, plus remaining ginger, garlic, ground coriander and turmeric. Stir until onions soften. Add marinated chicken, cook 10 mins. Add crushed tomatoes, green chillis and remaining lemon juice. Cover and simmer for about 8 mins, or until chicken cooks through.

Stir in coconut cream and honey, simmer uncovered for about 4 mins.

Remove from heat. Serve scattered with fresh coriander. DM


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