International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Kuku Paka

Kuku Paka Recipe (Kenyan chicken in coconut curry sauce)

(Kenyan chicken in coconut curry sauce)

Image Creative Commons by jeffreyw

Average: 4 (40 votes)

This simple dish, sometimes called kuku na nazi, is a fabulous coconut curry from the East African coast. It is a perfect illustration of how African, Arab and Indian influences meld in the coastal region.

4 to 6 servings


  • Chicken, cut into pieces -- 3 pounds
  • Onion, chopped -- 1
  • Hot chile peppers, chopped -- 2 or 3
  • Ginger, peeled and chopped -- 2 tablespoons
  • Garlic, chopped -- 2 tablespoons
  • Oil or ghee -- 1/4 cup
  • Curry powder -- 1 tablespoon
  • Cumin seeds -- 2 teaspoons
  • Chopped tomatoes or tomato sauce -- 2 cups
  • Coconut milk -- 2 cups, or 1 (15-ounce) can
  • Salt and pepper -- to taste
  • Cilantro, chopped -- 1/2 cup


  1. Add the onion, chiles, ginger and garlic to a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Add a little water if necessary.
  2. Heat the oil or ghee in a large pot or wok over medium flame. Add the onion puree, curry powder and cumin and sauté, stirring frequently, for 5 to 8 minutes, or until cooked down.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Then add the chicken, coconut milk, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through and tender, anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. Add more water as needed.
  4. Stir in the cilantro, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and serve with with rice or chapatti.

Kuku Paka Variations

  • For authentic flavor, grill the chicken pieces before stirring them into the simmering sauce. If you like, you can also use boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs.
  • Some recipes add potatoes or hard-boiled eggs to the curry. The potatoes can be cooked ahead, cut into chunks and stirred into the curry toward the end.
  • Eliminate the hot chiles for a milder dish. Or substitute a chopped sweet bell pepper.
  • Reserve some of the coconut cream that gathers at the top of the can and stir it into the sauce at the very end for extra silky results.


Okay, guys, this is one great recipe! I 86'd the tomatoes (girlfriend allergic) and used food processed red beans. Edna, L.A. Marathon winner, you are ABSOLUTELY AMAZING...KORI you too!! I am cooking up this Kenya dish today in celebration of you and your country. Kuku Paka, Kuku na nariz! We welcome them and congrats on Kori's marriage and big props to Edna's husband for encouraging and pushing her to the super talent that she is. You guys are a huge inspiration to us and the cuisine of Kenya is awesome! WE LOVE YOU, YOUR COUNTRY, AND YOUR CUISINE!!! GOD BLESS. Chef Arthur, Los Angeles

Within the list of ingredients Curry & Cumin are listed, but I was NOT able to find the correct area in which to add them.

The curry powder was listed in Step 2, but you are correct that cumin was missing. It goes in at the same time as the curry powder. I have added it to the steps. Thanks for pointing it out!

Where to add the cilantro?

Thanks for pointing it out.

Interesting... same recipe can be found at: Must be a good one! Can't wait to try it :)

I hate to say it, but it looks like they copied our recipe word for word. I guess imitation is the best kind of flattery, but flat out plagiarism isn't too cool. is mostly plagiarized recipes. It wouldn't be quite as bad if people gave credit when they do this (although the right thing todo is ask permission beforehand), but most of the time the posters infer that the recipes are their own. More than once I've contacted about this (and I'm not a food blogger), but they don't care. Maybe if the food bloggers started raising a stink?