Cape Malay Chicken Curry

January 16, 2017 (Last Updated: June 29, 2020)
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This delicately spiced South African Cape Malay Chicken Curry will simply warm your soul. It’s easy, fast-cooking, and seriously crave-worthy. This rendition hailing from Tusker House Restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will quickly win over any curry-lover’s heart.

Bowl of South African Cape Malay curry with basmati rice

I hate to say this, but A Cooking Safari with Mickey is one of my least favorite Disney cookbooks. It’s relatively short, and lacks depth. It does, however, contain some recipes of dishes I love from Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. I can’t recommend the book because I think it’s way overpriced. The book contains a paltry 26 recipes, thus it’s the least robust of any of my Disney cookbooks.

a bowl of South African Cape Malay chicken curry with basmati rice

One of my favorite dishes from the buffet at Disney’s Tusker House Restaurant is the Cape Malay Chicken Curry. It’s a South African dish of stewed chicken with spices and tomatoes. Fortunately for me, this recipe is one of the 26 in that cookbook. Although there are many recipes for Cape Malay Curry on the internet, this one is extra magical as it comes directly from Disney. It brings back a wonderful food memory from a magical trip. Even if you’ve never eaten at Tusker House, or never even been to Disney, rest assured that this Cape Malay Curry is truly fantastic.

a bowl of Tusker House\'s Cape Malay chicken curry with basmati rice

How to make Cape Malay Curry

Don’t blink. You might miss it. This recipe is a breeze to make! Cube up some skinless boneless chicken. The original recipe calls for thighs, but I prefer white meat. Breasts and tenders are both fine. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Heat up some vegetable oil in a large skillet. Add the chicken in batches, and brown. Set the partially cooked chicken aside, and in the same pan add a couple diced onions. Cook until the soften and start to brown, and then add minced garlic, fresh ginger, and some green chiles. Follow that up with 1 to 4 tablespoons of Madras curry powder. I recommend about 2. Your kitchen will smell AMAZING.

Next, add a little flour for thickening, and then slowly add in some chicken broth, chopped tomatoes, and if you desire some cream of coconut and tomato paste. The cream of coconut is in the original recipe, but I’ve made it with and without. It adds some creaminess and another layer of flavor, but you can do without if you choose. The tomato paste is my own addition. It adds a bit more tomato flavor. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes give or take. The length it takes your chicken to cook will depend on the size of the pieces, and whether you are using white or dark meat. When it’s finished, garnish with chopped fresh cilantro and serve! Voilà!

overhead closeup view of a bowl of Cape Malay chicken curry with cilantro garnish

If your sauce feels thin (it may depending on the juiciness of your fresh tomatoes), cook it for a few minutes uncovered toward the end. This will help the mixture reduce and thicken to the perfect consistency. That optional teaspoon of tomato paste will also help slightly thicken and intensify the tomato flavor.

I like to serve my Cape Malay Curry with jeera rice, an Indian cumin-scented basmati rice. It’s simple to make: just toast some cumin seeds in oil or ghee prior to adding your dry basmati rice and boiling water or broth. It adds a bit of fragrance and flavor and elevates the rice to something worthy of pairing with this curry.

overhead view of a bowl of Cape Malay chicken curry with a scoop of rice

Other recipes you may like

closeup of a bowl of Cape Malay chicken curry inspired by Tusker House

There are so many delicious and interesting curries throughout the world! I love discovering new-to-me variations. What are your favorite kinds of curry? Have you ever tried an African curry before? Share your curry-related thoughts and experiences in the comments below! And please don’t forget to rate this recipe and share with friends on social media. Thanks!

Cape Malay chicken curry in a small white bowl with a scoop of basmati rice

Cape Malay Chicken Curry

This delicately spiced South African Cape Malay Chicken Curry will simply warm your soul. It's easy, fast-cooking, and seriously crave-worthy. This rendition hailing from Tusker House Restaurant at Disney's Animal Kingdom will quickly win over any curry-lover's heart.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine African
Servings 4 to 6 servings
Calories 449 kcal


  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, breasts, or tenders cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Coarse salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions diced
  • 2 green chilies seeded and finely sliced (I suggest mincing 1 to 1 1/2 seeded jalapenos)
  • 1 tablespoon crushed or finely minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon crushed or finely minced fresh ginger
  • 1 to 4 tablespoons Madras curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3 to 4 large vine-ripened tomatoes chopped (seed before chopping if tomatoes are especially juicy)
  • 3 tablespoons cream of coconut optional for a slightly creamier curry
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste optional for more tomato intensity
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro for garnish
  • Rice pilaf or couscous for serving


  • Season chicken with salt and pepper.
  • Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken (in batches if necessary) and sear until browned, stirring often. Remove from pan and add onions, cooking until lightly brown and tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add chilies, garlic, and ginger; cook 2 minutes. Add curry powder and cook 1 minute.
  • Whisk in flour and stir over medium heat until mixture slightly thickens. Stir in tomatoes, cream of coconut (if using), tomato paste (if using), and chicken stock; return chicken to pan. If sauce is too thick, stir in more chicken stock.
  • Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through (white meat will take less time than dark meat). Stir occasionally to avoid burning. (If the sauce seems too thin, simmer for about 10 minutes covered and then remove the lid and simmer uncovered for the remaining time so it can reduce and thicken).
  • Taste and adjust seasonings. To serve, garnish with cilantro and serve with rice pilaf or couscous.

Notes & Nutrition

  • All curry powders range in flavor and spiciness because they are spice blends–I typically use 2 tablespoons for this recipe.
  • If tomatoes aren’t really in season, you may either replace the fresh tomatoes with canned tomatoes (diced or crushed will both work) or just add a little bit of crushed tomatoes to your fresh to intensify the tomato flavor and color.
Adapted from A Cooking Safari with Mickey
Servings 4.0 * calories 449 * Total Fat 18 g * Saturated Fat 4 g * Monounsaturated Fat 1 g * Polyunsaturated Fat 2 g * Trans Fat 0 g * Cholesterol 190 mg * Sodium 730 mg * Potassium 467 mg * Total Carbohydrate 28 g * Dietary Fiber 5 g * Sugars 14 g * Protein 42 g
*All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.*

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Bowl of South African Cape Malay chicken curry

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