When deciding to cover foods from different continents for Ramadan this year, I have to say that while I felt I was well informed about food in general, I really didn’t know what to expect about non Arab African food. I was familiar with North Africa food and as a coeliac I now know to remind any waiter not to put any free bread over or under my food. I just really didn’t know what to expect with Africa let alone Zambia.
I found this recipe in Floyd on Africa and pretty much all recipes of Tonzabezi Chicken Curry are variations of his. I have, however, made alterations to suit my palate. I’m sure the late Keith Floyd won’t mind. I’ve put the butternut squash in with the chicken as it adds taste and texture to the chicken. I can’t abide the taste of ‘curry’ powder and never use. I also feel that if you are cooking meat on the bone there really is no need to use stock. The chicken, as they cook, will create their own stock from real bones. I’ve also added cumin seeds because the dish lacked a certain je ne sais quoi until this was added. Finally a sprinkle of fresh coriander makes this perfect.
This dish is soothing, comforting and the dish that you just want to come home to. It really is. Serve with white rice, and the sautéed sweet potato on the side. With plantation banana custard for dessert this was simply perfect. Alhumdulilah.
Ingredients – Serves 4
2 sweet potatoes
1 butternut squash
4 pieces of chicken (I used legs)
½ a tin of tomatoes
2 inch ginger
2 garlic cloves
6 cardamon pods
½ teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1 teaspoon black pepper corns
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
4 teaspoons dried lemongrass or 2 whole bruised lemongrass
2 large red chillies chopped
4 tablespoon of yoghurt
1 tablespoon fresh corriander
1. Chop the butternut squash in to quarters and remove any seeds. Parboil the sweet potatoes whole, with the quartered butternut squash. When you can put a knife through the butternut squash and sweet potato remove from the pan but keep the water. Peel the butternut squash and cut into bit sized cubes. Leave the sweet potato whole.
2. Dice the onions and slowly cook in a pan until translucent before adding the ginger and garlic
3. Add the cumin, tumeric, lemongrass, salt and peppercorns. For the cardamom pods bruise before adding to pan.
4. Allow the spices to toast slightly, stir the spices for about a minute under a medium heat before adding the chicken to the pan and turning the chicken in the spices
5. Add enough water to cover the chicken
6. Add the tomatoes and leave to simmer for about 10 minutes on a medium heat.
7. Add the chopped chillies
8. Add a cup of the sweet potato/butternut squash cooking water to the chicken, along with the cubed butternut squash for about 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked and the butternut squash is soft but still holds its shape.
9. Peel and slice the sweet potato and sautee in pan with a little oil until the sweet potato is slightly crunchy
10. Just before you are ready to serve (ie just before you heat the food for iftari) mix in the yoghurt and heat gently, do not allow to boil otherwise the yoghurt will split. It will still be fine to eat but the sauce will look as if it has bits in.
11. Top with coriander
12. Serve with fresh rice and the sautéed sweet potato along side.