Cass Abrahams’ creamy chicken curry

August 18, 2010 Kate 7 Comments

After a brief reprieve, winter is back in Cape Town.  It’s clouding over, starting to drizzle and getting absolutely freezing!  I find there is nothing more satisfying on a “chilli” day than a hot, tasty curry.  I am not a massive fan of curries that are dark and rich, having spent hours cooking on the stove.  I much prefer the lighter tomato based ones.  I’d sell my soul for Bukhara’s Butter Chicken!

 This is a recipe that we do all the time at home because it is pretty healthy, takes twenty five minutes to cook and has a brilliant flavour.  I serve it with crispy poppadoms, a red onion, fresh tomato and chilli sambal and basmati rice.  It comes from ‘Cass Abrahams Cooks Cape Malay’ which is well worth having at home.  The book is a small paperback that is packed with really traditional Cape Malay recipes that do not disappoint.  It covers the spectrum of Cape Malay cooking, explained through the traditions, feasts and ceremonies of the community.  At just over R100 it is a must have.


for the chicken:
1kg chicken breast fillets, cut into quarters
1 tablespoon masala
½ cup flour
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil 

for the sauce:
2 large onions, finely sliced
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons fennels seeds
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 can (400g) whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
2 teaspoons masala
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 green chillies, seeded and finely chopped
2 cups of yoghurt

for garnish:
1 teaspoon garam masala
100g fresh coriander, chopped 


  • Season the flour with the masala and the salt and pepper.  Coat the chicken with the flour mixture, shaking off any excess.
  • Heat the oil and the butter in a pan and brown the chicken.  Don’t do it all together because the chicken will cook through and not brown nicely.  Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • In a saucepan, add a little more oil and butter, and gently fry the onions with the fennel seeds, cumin seeds and the bay leaf until soft.
  • Add the masala, turmeric, garlic and chilli. Cook for a minute and add the tomato.  Simmer gently until the sauce has thickened.  Add the browned chicken and simmer for about 5 – 10 minutes, or until the chicken has cooked through.  Add the yoghurt and heat through very gently.  Do not boil it or the yoghurt will separate!
  • Place in a serving bowl and sprinkle with the garam masala and the chopped coriander.  Serve with buttered basmati rice and some poppadoms.

Chicken, Quick & Easy, books

7 Comments → “Cass Abrahams’ creamy chicken curry”

  1. Chips 3 years ago  

    Hi Kate, where can i buy this book??

  2. Kate 3 years ago  

    Hi chips
    Try I get all my books from them, delivered to my door!
    happy cooking!

  3. helen george 3 years ago  

    hey, kate, just testing! by the way, a few comments about the above recipe…

    the recipe as it stands is delish, but a bit tame for my taste. so, to spice it up slightly, i ensure that the teaspoon measurements are as heaped as i can make them [and then i add a touch more of each ingredient for luck], i season the chicken with s and p AND marsala, before it goes into the flour bag, and i substitute a green chilli with a BIG red one! i also sometimes use 2 tins of tomato – makes it go further. [this does require a slightly longer cooking time.]

    the bliss of this recipe is that you can cook it up to the yoghurt stage up to a couple of days in advance [it actually improves] and then heat it up when you need it. The secret is not to overcook the chicken. it doesn’t have to be brown and must be barely cooked through. and check the seasoning – it’ll need quite a lot of salt at the end!

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