Swahili (Zanzibar Style) Coconut Chicken Curry With Parathas

I have so many fond memories from Zanzibar. We’d spend the morning swimming in the warm turquoise water and basking in the powdery white sand. Then, in the afternoon, we’d explore another part of the tropical island – the maze of coral bricked streets in Stone Town with something new and exciting on each corner; taking a boat ride out, cool seawater spraying us whilst on the lookout for dolphins in Kizimkazi; or photographing the cheeky monkeys tussling and tumbling whilst they play fought in Jozani Forest… [You can read more and check out the pics on my last post here.]

East African Style Chicken Curry With Parathas & Rice - Kay's Kitchen

At the end of the day, after slathering on the aloe vera (for a brown person, I burn surprisingly easily!) we’d sit down for a freshly cooked dinner. On one particular night, with the sand still between our toes, we stuck into a gorgeous coconut chicken curry at our hotel.

Recipe For Swahili Coconut Chicken Curry - Kay's Kitchen

I loved it so much I asked them for the recipe. They graciously invited me to the kitchen to watch along! I must have been such an odd sight, furiously tapping away on my phone to jot down the instructions in the steaming hot kitchen!

Rice For Swahili Chicken Curry - Kay's Kitchen

I’ve tweaked it a tiny bit, but honestly, it takes me right back…

Swahili Chicken Curry (Zanzibar Style) With Homemade Parathas - Kay's Kitchen

Mildly spiced, creamy coconut chicken curry with carrot and courgette chunks, served with fluffy rice and homemade flakey parathas.

Swahili Chicken Curry With Carrots And Courgettes - Kay's Kitchen

Swahili Chicken Curry With Parathas And Rice - Kay's Kitchen

Oh – and I highly recommend taking the extra time to knock up some parathas. If you make the dough and let it rest whilst you prep the curry, the timings should work out.

Swahili Chicken Curry With Rice - Kay's Kitchen

The perfect flakey flatbread for the occasion – ideal for mopping up the extra sauce!

Swahili Coconut Chicken Curry - Kay's Kitchen

^ I mean, just look at the flakey layers!

Swahili Coconut Chicken Curry With Homemade Parathas - Kay's Kitchen

I’ve got the instructions alongside some abysmal photos (the lighting in my kitchen is horrific) to help you along your way. They’re not too fiddley and very forgiving so don’t worry about precision.

Zanzibar Chicken Curry With Rice - Kay's Kitchen

You could also serve it up with some fluffy white rice.

Zanzibar Coconut Chicken Curry - Kay's Kitchen

But let’s be honest – the best outcome is double carb scenario!

Zanzibar Style Chicken Curry - Kay's Kitchen

Whatever you do, enjoy!

– Kay

Parathas (makes 4)

  • 300g plain flour + extra to dust
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 medium egg
  • 100ml water
  • 85g ghee– If you can’t get your hands on some, melt an equal amount of butter instead.


  • 500g chicken breast, cubed
  • 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 heaped tsp cumin
  • 1 carrot, diced (150g)
  • 1 courgette, diced (150g)
  • 1 small onion, diced (50g)
  • 4 tbsp curry powder I’ve linked to a Zanzibar blend but a medium curry powder ought to work just fine.
  • 1 tbsp amchoor
  • 100g coconut powder
  • 1 heaped tsp cornflour
  • 100g coconut cream – I use this one
  • 2 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 stock cube
  • Freshly chopped parsley/coriander to serve.

Tomato base

  • 350g tomatoes
  • 1 medium white onion (approx 150g)
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp pepper

Parathas (pics below to help guide you along – sorry, the lighting in my kitchen is horrific!)

  1. Add the flour, salt and sunflower oil to a medium bowl. Use your fingers to rub the oil into the flour until you no longer have any lumps.
  2. Add the egg and water, kneed till any large lumps have been worked out and the dough comes together before turning out onto a clean countertop. Knead for 5-6 mins to work the gluten.
  3. Shape the dough into a ball, leave in the bowl and cover with clingfilm. Leave to rest for an hour.
  4. After the dough has rested, divide into 4 equally sized balls.
  5. Place a frying pan on a medium heat to warm up.
  6. Dust the worktop surface with some flour. Starting with the first ball, using a rolling pin, roll out into a big circle, flipping over occasionally. Use a pastry brush to generously coat with ghee before sprinkling over more flour.
  7. Using a knife, make a cut from the centre outwards, like the radius of a circle. Using one of the flaps created, tightly roll the dough right round. You should be left with a dough sausage.
  8. Hold upright, and using your fingers spread out the spiral slightly to flatten before using the palms of your hand to squash into a rough flattened ball.
  9. Roll the dough back out using a rolling pin before transferring to the preheated pan.
  10. Cook for around a minute on the first side, brush with some ghee before flipping. Repeat every minute or so until browned and cooked through (4-5mins).
  11. Once off the heat – allow to cool for a minute or so before using your hands to scrunch the paratha up.
  12. Repeat with remaining dough.

Paratha - Step by step


  1. First, make the tomato base – add all the ingredients to a blender and blitz until combined. Pour into a bowl then set aside.
  2. Next, marinate the chicken cubes – add the juice of a lime, salt and pepper to taste, garlic, ginger and cumin, mix well to combine.
  3. Heat a large frying pan on medium before adding a drizzle of oil. Add the diced onions and cook until they start turning golden brown.
  4. Add carrots and courgettes and cook down for a few minutes until they soften a little. Stir every minute or so.
  5. Add the chicken, stir every minute or so until just sealed, the chicken shouldn’t be cooked through.
  6. Add the curry powder and amchoor. Stir well and allow the spices to toast for a minute or two, stirring every 30 seconds or so.
  7. Pour in the tomato base, 250ml water and crumble in a vegetable stock cube. Mix well to combine. Allow to bubble and cook down for 8-10mins.
  8. In the meantime, whisk together the coconut powder, cornflour and 150ml boiling water. Pour into the curry. Allow to cook for around 5 mins or until the sauce thickens up.
  9. Finally, add the coconut cream and garam masala, mix well to combine. Heat through for a final couple of mins before serving up with some parathas/rice. Top with freshly chopped coriander/parsley.

Zanzibar Style Swahili Chicken Curry - Kay's KitchenSwahili (Zanzibar Style) Chicken Curry - Kay's Kitchen

2 thoughts on “Swahili (Zanzibar Style) Coconut Chicken Curry With Parathas

  1. Zanzibar is a continental island where coconuts and fishes are abundant to its people.
    Coconut chicken curry is one of the famous dish for Zanzibaris with skate kumimina ,or mkate wa ufuta.
    Paratha is not zanzibari original bread
    And too much spices is not added to coconut chicken curry.
    Mkate wa ufuta is made with freshly squeezed coconut milk,white bread flour,ghee,yeast,and salt

    Be original be a zanzibari


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