Stews and sauces

Kenya’s Chicken in Coconut Sauce (Kuku wa kupaka)

This Kenya’s chicken in coconut sauce is quite complex with its flavour combination. There is sweet, spicy, smoky, tangy and fantastic.Kuku wa kupaka shortened kukupaka is Swahili for chicken in coconut sauce. This is a specialty among the Mombasa people along the Kenya coast.

Kuku wa kupaka shortened kukupaka is Swahili for chicken in coconut sauce. This is a specialty among the Mombasa people along the Kenya coast. It is a simple dish with mostly grilled chicken paired with a spicy coconut sauce. It is sweet from the coconut milk, hot from the green chilli and spicy from the combination of turmeric, coriander and cumin from the sauce. It doesn’t end there. The dish is mostly finished with lemon juice that leads to a slight tanginess.

Kuku wa kupaka shortened kukupaka is Swahili for chicken in coconut sauce. This is a specialty among the Mombasa people along the Kenya coast.

Taste: There’s a rich tone from the coconut and subdue notes of barbecue from the grilling of the chicken over charcoal. Not forgetting hot. If you like spicy foods with hints of coconuts, this chicken in coconut sauce is worth the efforts put into making it.

If you want to have a truly Mombasa style of feast, pair it with Mandazi (fried dough) and rice, it is worth every bite.

If you in Ghana, you can get the spices ( cumin and coriander) in whole forms from the Hausa spice sellers between 50 pesewas to 1 cedi which is cheaper than the packaged grounded ones at the supermarkets. There are different brands of turmeric ranging from 5 cedis to 20 cedis. I am sure the price range is mostly due to packaging and brand.  The less priced ones comes in sachet.

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Kuku wa kupaka (Chicken in Coconut Sauce) Kenya
Prep Time
2 hrs
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
2 hrs 50 mins
 
Servings: 2 - 4
Author: Marianjules| BiscuitsandLadles
Ingredients
Chicken
  • 1/2 kg chicken
  • 1-2 green chilli
  • 2 coves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 tabespoon lemon juice
  • salt
Coconut sauce
  • 1cup/ 240ml thick coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon grounded cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon grounded coriander
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tomatoes chopped
  • 1/2 medium size onion chopped
  • 1- 2 clove garlic grated
  • 1 green chilli thinly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
Salt
  • Lemon juice and coriander leaves/ cilantro leaves to serve
Instructions
  1. Prepare the chicken by mixing all the ingredients under marinade and coat well onto the chicken. Marinate at least an hour or two, for an intense flavour overnight in the fridge.

  2. Light a charcoal grill or preheat an oven to 180°C/ 350°F. Lightly brush the chicken with oil, then place on  the grilling rack or the baking tray. Grill for 30 - 40 minutes, or until done.

  3. Meanwhile, put the 2 tablespoons of oil into a saucepan over medium heat. When its hot, add the onion, frying for about 5 minutes or until the barely caramelised. Add the garlic, ginger and green chilli, stirring till fragrant. Add the tomato and cook until soft. Add the ground cumin, coriander and the turmeric, and about 1/4 teaspoon of salt, stirring all the while. Add any remaining marinade(optional).

  4. Mix in the coconut milk, lower the heat and stir occasionally till sauce thickens a bit. Place the chicken in the sauce to heat through, spooning the sauce over it. If the sauce is very thick, splash in water.  Cover and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the flavors have melded. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning with salt and then garnish with coriander or cilantro. Just before serving, splash in lemon juice OR Serve with lemons, mandazi and rice.


Recipe Notes

You can substitute turmeric for curry powder, omit or cut down on the grounded cumin and add the coriander accordingly. For homemade Coconut milk

 

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