Chicken Aku Paku

From Zanzibar, Paul Merrett's piquant chicken dish sings with coconut, cardamom and chilli
By Paul Merrett
Chicken Aku Paku
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 3-4
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 2 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 1 large chicken, jointed
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 green tomatoes
  • 1 fresh green chilli, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 300 ml chicken stock
  • 2 x 400 ml cans coconut milk

To serve

  • 2 tbsp coconut cream
  • 1 bunches basil
  • 1 handfuls green beans, blanched
  • steamed rice


1. Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the chicken pieces for 2-3 minutes until browned, remove and set aside.

2. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and fry for 5-8 minutes until soft. Tip in the tomatoes and chilli and cook for a few minutes more.

3. Using a pestle and mortar, pound the turmeric, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and cardamom pods to a fine powder. Add to the pan along with the chicken pieces. Add the stock and coconut milk and bring to a gentle boil.

4. Season well, cover and simmer for 1 hour.

5. To serve: stir in the coconut cream. Grind the basil to a rough paste using a pestle and mortar, and swirl this into the pan. Add the green beans and serve with bowls of steamed rice.

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