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This recipe is classed as easy

Rating 3.32 / 5 (37 votes)

Prep time:
20 min, plus marinating
Cook time:
1 hr 15 min

Take your time with Peter Kuruvita’s marinated chicken cooked slowly in a deliciously spiced coconut sauce


1. Cut the chicken into five pieces. Then, place in a pot with the onion, garlic, pandan, chillies and curry leaves. Toss to coat the chicken. Then add the ground mustard, pepper and a pinch of salt.

2. Massage the mixture into the chicken. Set aside to marinate.

3. Meanwhile, make the turmeric paste. In a mortar and pestle, crush the turmeric with the mustard seeds to form a paste. Set aside.

4. Heat the oil in a pot. Remove the chicken pieces from the spice marinade, reserving the spices. Once the oil is hot, place the chicken in the pot, skin side down. Leave to cook until the skin has crisped.

5. Meanwhile, heat some more oil in a separate pot. Add the reserved spice marinade and sandalwood and fry until fragrant.

6. Turn the chicken to cook the other side. Add the vinegar and stir to combine. Leave to cook.

7. Add the cloves and the cardamom pods to the onion mixture and continue to fry.

8. Add the turmeric paste, black pepper, salt and the curry powder. Then add the chicken.

9. Add enough water to the pot to just cover the chicken and leave on a gentle simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, checking the pot regularly to ensure the water level doesn’t drop too much.

10. Once cooked, add the coconut cream and bring to the boil. When boiling, immediately remove from heat.

11. To serve, remove pieces of the chicken from the pot and pile high on the plate. Garnish with the dried red chillies and the pandan leaf.


  • large chicken, or wild fowl
  • 100 g sliced bombay onions, or shallots
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 pieces pandanus leaf (rampe), roughly torn into pieces
  • 2 red chillies, chopped
  • 4 green chillies, chopped
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1 knob fresh turmeric root
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 small piece sandalwood
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 6 cloves
  • 4 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp dark roasted curry powder
  • 500 ml coconut cream
  • dried red chillies, to serve
  • pandanus leaf (rampe), extra, to serve

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