South African Recipe

I haven’t spent much time in my kitchen the last few days, it’s been light meals and rushing around. My middle son has started college, and yes he is studying at a culinary school, wants to become a chef so he can teach his mum a few professional tricks. Our home feels empty with 2 of my boys now almost out the house, my 17 year old is staying at the college residence. Although he drove me crazy when he was at home I miss him terribly. The only positive is that I got to cook a Spicy Durban Chicken Curry, only because I didn’t have to hear his moans about the fact that he hates Chicken Curry and even more so if it was chicken on the bone.

This Spicy Durban Chicken Curry will definitely tantalize your tastebuds with it’s robust flavours. There are many different versions of cooking a chicken curry but my favourite is this one, cooked the South African Indian way with no fancy frills, just plain old chicken curry.

If you have eaten a curry cooked in a South African Indian home you will know a lot of our meat dishes are cooked with meat on the bone. The bone adds loads of flavour to the sauce or gravy as we know.

We do cook our chicken curry very similar to the way we would cook a Durban Lamb Curry https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/recipe/durban-lamb-curry/ . There’s is no quick fix to cooking a delicious curry, you cannot achieve the same results if you just add all the ingredients to the pot and just cook it in a hurry. You do have to layer the flavours, saute your onion and garlic, roast your spices and let the curry simmer on a low heat. The longer it simmers the more flavourful it becomes. It’s even more delicious if you allow it to stand for a while before serving.

I remember my mum sometimes cooked the chicken curry and then popped it into the oven for a short while, this totally enhanced the flavour of the curry. Like I have mentioned in a previous post it is best to roast your spices and grind them, you can store them in an airtight bottle. I don’t grind a whole lot, just enough to last me a couple of weeks so that way I know it still maintains its freshness. Nothing beats freshly ground spices.

If you love curries then you may also want to try some of these recipes:

https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/recipe/mince-curry-potatoes/

https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/recipe/gadra-borlotti-bean-curry/


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Spicy Durban Chicken Curry
Spicy Durban Chicken Curry cooked with Indian Spices
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Instructions
  1. Heat ghee and add the whole spices, cinnamon, bay leaf, elachie, black elachie, star aniseed. When it becomes fragrant add onion, chilli and curry leaf
  2. Saute until onion is slightly brown
  3. Add ginger/garlic paste and saute for a further minute
  4. Add the ground spices, coriander, cumin, soomph, chilli powder, masala and turmeric
  5. Mix well, add a few drops of water to prevent scorching and fry for a minute
  6. Add the chicken and potatoes. Season with salt. Simmer on a low heat for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and simmer for another 5 minutes
  7. Add half cup of water and simmer until potatoes are tender and soft. The tomatoes and amount of water I've added creates enough gravy, however you can add more if required. Please note that your gravy should be thick, not runny
  8. Sprinkle in the garam masala and crush the methi leaves with your fingertips and add it in. Mix well. Turn heat off and allow your curry to stand at least half an hour before serving.
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I have fond memories of this dish growing up, Yellow Potato Curry with Cumin. You must wonder why the name Yellow Potato, well that name comes from the addition of turmeric that turns the potato into a beautiful hue of yellow.

My mum often made us sandwiches topped with this curry and a spread of grated mango pickle/atchar on top. It was the most delicious thing ever. I didn’t think my sandwiches were anything to rave about when I was at school. However, I had a friend that thought I had the most scrumptious food in my lunchbox and couldn’t wait for me to share my mum’s delicious sandwiches with her. Who would have thought sandwiches made with Yellow Potato Curry with Cumin would be such a hit.

Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory and has great health benefits, it’s why I love using turmeric in my cooking. The added bonus is that this dish is vegan and the addition of mint adds a new spin to the classic recipe. Mint may not always seem like the perfect herb to pair with potatoes but the flavour is amazing.

The best way to eat this dish is with freshly baked bread. Although my family prefers rice or roti. Do try it with some bread and let me know what you think, it may be an overload of carbs but it’s worth it. If you have some pickle/atchar in your cupboard even better, nothing beats the cumin potatoes with that hint of tanginess.

It’s not even suppertime and I’m already salivating. The best food is made with simple ingredients, it’s why I’m not into gourmet food, takes too much effort with way too many ingredients. I don’t have the time nor the patience for that. I will leave that to the experts. Well if you looking for a quick dinner then this is your recipe. You may also want to try some of my other great potato recipes.

https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/recipe/old-fashioned-potato-salad/

https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/recipe/indian-inspired-fried-potatoes/


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Yellow Potato Curry with Cumin
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Instructions
  1. Heat oil and add cumin seeds
  2. Once the cumin seeds start to burst add the onion, curry leaf and chillies
  3. When the onion is transluscent add the potatoes and turmeric. Season with salt
  4. Saute the potatoes for a minute. Add half cup of water and simmer on a low temperature until potatoes are soft and tender. During the cooking process you can add a little more water if it dries out before the potatoes are cooked
  5. Mix in the mint leaves and serve hot
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Mince Curry with Potatoes was often cooked by my mum when I still lived at home, all of my mums lamb dishes were out of this world, delicious. My kids always rave about her cooking and insist that I cook lamb dishes exactly like “Ma”.

Most South African curries are cooked in a similar way to this Mince Curry with Potatoes, my Durban Lamb Curry is one of them. Although most curries are cooked the same way it’s always about getting the balance of spices right to make an amazing curry. I sometimes mix my own masala but I find a store bought one is so much more convenient, especially if you don’t have all the spices to go into making your own masala. . I must also admit living in Johannesburg is not the same as Durban where you have a spice shop around every corner and sometimes it is a challenge when you run out of spices. However, even store bought masala can ruin your curry if it’s not a great tasting masala. Over the years I’ve tried many different brands and although I try and stick to the one’s I love, I’ve had my fair share of disappointments with this too. So you will find that you may need to change your brand from time to time, I wish store bought masala recipes could be consistent but trust me they never are.

I try and stick to a medium strength masala as I find the extremely hot ones really does ruin the flavours in a curry, I love hot but not so hot that all you can taste is chilli. It’s not that difficult to make your own masala but it is time consuming as I do love roasting and grinding my own fresh spices. I will soon post a recipe for my very own masala.  I use Kashmiri Chilli Powder more for the bright colour it adds to my curries, it’s a South African thing, your curry has to look the right colour.  Anything but a bright red colour is unacceptable by South African Indian standards.

This Mince Curry with Potatoes is spicy, with just the right amount of heat, and mouthwatering. My favourite way to eat it is with fresh, crusty bread and sambals. You can also have an Indian version of a sloppy joe using this cooked mince.

 


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Mince Curry with Potatoes

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Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a flat pot on medium heat and add cinnamon, bay leaf, star aniseed and black cardamom.

  2. Once it becomes fragrant add curry leaf and onion and sauté until onion is translucent.

  3. Add ginger/garlic paste and sauté for a minute. Add chilli powder, masala, turmeric, fennel, garam masala and cook until it forms a paste, about 2 minutes. Add a few drops of water to prevent scorching.

  4. Add mince meat and potatoes and mix well. Season with salt. Turn the heat to low and allow it to simmer for 5 minutes

  5. Add grated tomatoes and allow it to simmer until potatoes are soft. During the cooking time you can add a 1/4 cup of water or a little more if you feel the curry is drying out. I don’t usually require too much water.


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My kitchen is my sanctuary, people have places in their home that helps them relax, my kitchen is what helps me relax. It’s one of the reasons I started this blog, I wanted to share more than just my recipes and my passion for cooking. I want to share my story and how my kitchen, my hobbies and passion keeps me healthy, sane and fulfilled.

There are so many women out there that are stay at home moms and I hear them say they are bored or their lives are not fulfilled, trust me I’ve been there too. I wont exactly say I was bored, I was never bored as I’ve always kept myself busy but I also felt that my life lacked meaning and fulfillment after I left my corporate job. I made a conscious decision to resign from my full-time job and take care of my sons but I was never content just being home and taking care of my family,

I always wanted more to my life. It’s why I always had a hobby, learnt a new skill, worked part-time jobs, did a little catering from home.  I am a qualified nail technician, I did a few beauty courses  and I work from home now. Although I don’t earn as well as I earned in my corporate job it gives me some financial independence. This also keeps me sane and gives me the space I need, my duty is not only to be a mother and wife but I also have a duty to take care of myself.  I think a woman should always be independent and be skilled at something, Life is really unpredictable and you never know when you may need to use that skill or have your own money.  I was in my first relationship for 10 years and I never thought I will ever divorce but I had reached a point of choosing between sanity and staying alive or an unhappy, abusive marriage and I chose to rather save myself but I could only do that because I was financially independent. I could only walk away from a life of hell because I was able to survive on my own, I had a job, I owned my own home and I owned my own car. I know of women that are stuck in abusive marriages because they are not financially independent. They fear what life would be like when they step out on their own and yes it is a scary thought but imagine how easy it would be if you had money of your own. . Again, this is why your financial independence is a priority, above anything else a woman should be able to walk away from a bad relationship and should be able to take care of herself without depending on a man.

I’m lucky to have been given a second chance in life, I am now married to a wonderful man who takes great care of my boys and I, but I will never forget the struggles I faced and it’s why I’m determined to always learn, to always improve my skills and most importantly to always feel fulfilled. There’s an amazing affirmation written by Louise Hay and I think every woman should practice this “I love you, and  I am beginning to make positive changes in my life right now. Day by day I will improve the quality of my life.  it is safe for me to be happy and fulfilled”. Change always begins with you and if you start loving yourself, you will start taking better care of yourself.

I look forward to sharing my life in the kitchen and for now here’s my recipe that was created with love in my kitchen today. This is another fuss free recipe and I promise to bring you more fuss free recipes so you can have more time to love yourself. You can double the recipe if you cooking for a family!

 

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Indian spiced chicken with baby potatoes and carrots
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Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celcius. Cut up your carrots and your potatoes.
  2. Pop all the ingredients in a large bowl, mix them really well and rub the spices into the chicken. Place in an ovenproof dish, cover wiith foil and bake until the potatoes and carrots are soft. Remove the foil and cook further until the chicken is slightly brown. Serve hot with some crusty bread!
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Firstly, I’m not even sure what’s the correct word for this dish anymore, far too confusing for my brain. Pilaf or Pulao is supposed to be a dish with a touch of spice and the rice and curry is mixed together and then cooked. Breyani or Biryani on the other hand is supposed to be a layered dish, a little more spicy than a Pilaf. Even for an Indian this can be much too confusing at times. I love food and I love reading all of the history behind some dishes but at the end of the day if something tastes great, quite frankly does it really matter if it’s a Breyani or a Pilaf.

I tried to keep this dish as simple as I could, it can be a tedious task but so worth it so you really don’t mind putting in a bit of effort. It is great to marinate your chicken overnight but if you don’t have the time to prep in advance it’s perfectly ok not to. I decided to make this on the  spur of the moment so I didn’t have time to prep in advance but it still tasted divine. It is a beautiful piquant dish and so worth the effort put into making it.

I used a cup and a half of rice but you an always increase the quantity to two cups. I also used about 80 grams of butter but you can easily leave out the butter or add less butter. If you not eating Pilaf everyday you can indulge in a little extra butter. It’s also best to roast your spices and grind them yourself, nothing beats freshly ground spices, the aroma is nothing compared to a store bought one.

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Chicken Pilaf/Pulao
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Instructions
  1. Wash rice, season with salt and cook until it's half done. Sprinkle a little food colouring in, cover and set aside. Do not mix in the food colouring immediately. After a few minutes it will give the rice a few different tones, when mixed.
  2. Preheat oven to 180 deg celcius. Boil your potatoes until half cooked, season and shallow fry them, set aside
  3. Heat oil on low heat, add the 2 pieces of cinnamon stick, elachie, star aniseed and bay leaf. Fry until fragrant and add onion, curry leaf, chilli and thyme. Sauté the onion until it is a little brown
  4. Add the ginger/garlic paste. Fry for a minute. Add the chilli powder, masala, ground coriander, cumin, soomph, turmeric, ground cardamom and garam masala. Add a few drops water and fry for a minute, then add the yogurt, mix well
  5. Add the chicken and the mint. Season with salt. Cook for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes. Cover and simmer for a further 10 minutes
  6. Mix the curry, potato and rice together. Place the cubes of butter on top of the rice. Sprinkle a cup of water over the rice and cook in the oven for an hour. You can leave it in for a short while longer if it's not fully cooked and add a few extra drops of water, if required. Once cooked garnish with coriander.
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The only bean I ate whilst growing up was the red speckled beans, I hated anything else in a bean form. My mum cooked these beautiful pink beans and it was called Gadra beans, I have no idea where the name comes from but I discovered on Google that the real name for these white beans with pink hues is Borlotti beans. I remember when I still lived at home going to the market on a Saturday was a real treat, my mum and dad used to visit the Verulam market which is in Kwazulu Natal, where I was raised. They bought the freshest vegetables and although it was cheap, Indians had to always bargain with the farmers. Some still do. I wish I had that trait but I don’t, I’m better at giving away things for free and I suck at bargaining so I won’t even try.

Barlotti beans is not so easily found in the supermarkets in Johannesburg, however Food Lover’s Market and Checkers Hyper do stock loads of vegetables that are consumed by the Indian population. I get really excited when I see the vegetables I grew up eating, I didn’t love these beans but now it has become a firm favourite on my meat free days.

In South Africa there are literally hundreds of variations to cooking any one dish. My mum cooked this dish totally differently to the way my mum-in-law cooks it. My mum created a dish, almost like a dry curry and my mum-in-law cooks it like any other bean curry with potatoes and lots of gravy. I prefer my mum-in-laws method as I get to add my most loved veggie to it, potatoes. Once cooked the beans have a creamy texture and a nutty flavour. It is a good source of protein and can be served with roti or rice.

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Gadra (Borlotti) Bean Curry
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Instructions
  1. Heat ghee on a medium heat and add cinnamon stick and star aniseed. Once fragrant add bay leaf, onion and curry leaf. Saute until onion is slightly brown
  2. Then add the ginger/garlic paste. Fry for a minute and then add all the spices and fry for a further minute. Add a few drops of water if required.
  3. Add the beans, season with salt and mix well. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until all the moisture dries out
  4. Add half cup of water. Cover and cook until beans are soft. You can add a little more water during cooking time if it dries out
  5. Add the potatoes and cook for a few minutes. Add another half cup of water, cover and cook on a low heat. Please note the amount of water required depends on how much gravy you want and also depends on how fast or how soft your potatoes cook. Some potatoes cook really quickly and therefore you have to ensure your beans are soft before adding in the potatoes and be careful not to add too much water. If your potatoes are a more firm and takes longer to cook you may require more water as the longer the cooking time the more the gravy will reduce.
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Authentic South African Recipe

There is a perception that it’s the only those that live in Durban can make the perfect Lamb Curry. I was raised in Durban so I hope that counts. However, my mum who still lives in Durban makes the best “Durban Lamb Curry“.

I try my best not to use too much oil in my cooking and it’s something I take into account when cooking a lamb curry too. However, my 17 year old thinks it’s the reason my Durban Lamb Curry is not authentic enough. I definitely should add more oil and more masala, according to him that’s what takes the Durban Lamb Curry from good to great.

So here I was put to the test to replicate my mum’s Lamb Curry and I think I have done pretty well, This lamb curry turned out perfect with it’s robust flavours and melt-in-your-mouth potatoes. I think I have finally passed the test.

South African Indian dishes are a little rustic compared to dishes cooked in India, we do not blend everything into a smooth paste. You would also notice that we refer to the sauce in our curries as the gravy, somewhat confusing for those that don’t understand the South African Indian “lingo”. I think people are more familiar with seeing the gravy placed in a separate vessel on the side of the dish.

Lamb Curry was my absolute favourite dish until I had to quit eating red meat, nothing beats a good Lamb Curry. This recipe can also be used in a “bunny chow”. If you don’t know what that is, let me explain. It is a hollowed-out half or quarter loaf of bread filled with a curry of your choice and I think the Lamb Bunny Chow is one of the most popular bunny chows.

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Durban Style Lamb Curry
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MAIN COURSES LAMB
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MAIN COURSES LAMB
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Instructions
  1. Heat oil, add cinnamon stick, black elachie, star aniseed and bay leaf. Fry for a few seconds until it is fragrant. Add onion and curry leaf.
  2. Once onion is translucent and slightly brown add the ginger/garlic paste. Saute for a minute.
  3. Add masala, turmeric, soomph and garam masala and fry for a further minute. It will form a nice thick paste. Add a few drops of water if required.
  4. Add the lamb and mix well. Cover and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes, Add tomatoes, season with salt and cover and cook until sauce starts to thicken
  5. Add the potatoes to the meat and allow it to cook for 5 minutes, be careful not to let it burn. Add a cup of water. Here you can add less water if you do not want too much gravy and if you are using very soft cooking potatoes. Sometimes the potatoes cook quite fast and your gravy would not have thickened by then, leaving you with a watery curry. Turn the heat down to a low setting and allow your curry to cook until gravy is thick and potatoes are soft.
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This is another Indian classic dish. It’s made with veggies and basmati rice or any long grain rice.  It is healthy and delicious with whole spices that makes this dish so fragrant. I wish you could smell my home whilst I was cooking this breyani, smelled divine. With my picky eating family I normally  think twice before making a veg breyani, I think the fact that it has veggies  in it is enough to put my two boys off dinner but they eat or they starve.  I always try and make dishes to please everyone in my family except me but today I thought I will be selfish and make something I can enjoy too. Breyani, I know can be a tedious process but trust me this breyani is cooked in one pot with no fuss and can be ready in just over an hour. I used green beans, carrots and peas with potatoes. Please try and use vegetable that remain firm, you really don’t want your vegetable getting all mushy in your breyani.  I bought a bag of basmati rice which cost me a small fortune but it was the worst rice I’ve ever cooked, I usually buy the Maharani Basmati rice, which is of excellent quality but the store that I normally get it from was out of stock. I settled for another brand and was highly disappointed. Therefore I had to use normal long grain rice for this breyani. But rest assured it is still delicious. You can double the recipe if you feeding a larger crowd but this was enough for my family of 4, with leftovers.


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One Pot Vegetable Breyani

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Instructions
  1. If you are using Basmati rice you can soak it for half hour, add the spices as in STEP 1, season with salt and give it a quick boil for about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside. If you have some egg yellow food colouring you can add some to the rice but this is optional. If you are using long grain rice, such as Tastic (which I've used), you can soak it for half hour, season and cook until it's half done. Here too you can add some food colouring should you wish and fluff with a fork.

  2. Boil the potatoes until they are half cooked and set aside. Pre-heat the oven at 180 deg celcius. Heat oil in a flat pot, add the cinnamon, bay leaf, star aniseed and black cardamom. Allow it to fry for a few seconds, once itl becomes fragrant add the onion.

  3. Add thyme and chilli and let it saute with the onion until the onion is slightly brown. Remove half the onion and set aside.

  4. Add the ginger/garlic paste and fry for a minute. Add the green beans, carrots and peas. Fry for 3 minutes. Add masala, chilli powder, cumin, coriander, fennel, garam masala and turmeric, mix well and let it saute for 3 minutes. Add tomato and mint, season with salt. Cover and allow it to simmer until tomatoes are cooked.

  5. You can now add the potatoes and rice. Give it a little mix. Pour in a cup of water. Sprinkle the onion on top. If you are using butter you can add that on top too. Cook in the oven for an hour. If you think it needs to cook for longer you can add a little more water and cook until it's fully cooked.


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I love potatoes, I can stay away from lots of carbs but just not potatoes.  You give me potatoes in any shape or form and I will devour it, when I was much younger I couldn’t let a day go by without crisps so I think that’s were my addiction to potatoes started. But I promise I don’t eat it everyday although I could. This recipe is a lovely way to have fried potatoes without it being bland, has just a hint of spice with a soft centre and crisp on the outside, it’s really yummy!

 

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Indian-inspired Fried Potatoes
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Instructions
  1. Heat oil. Add fenugreek seeds and dry chilli. Fry for a minute
  2. Add potatoes and thyme. Saute for a minute.
  3. Sprinkle the masala, chilli powder and salt over the potatoes. Mix well and saute for 2 minutes. Cover with a lid and allow it to cook on a very low heat until potatoes are soft. Remove the lid in the last 5 minutes and allow the potatoes to get crisp. Drain excess oil and serve.
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