Ugandan Chicken Kuku Paka
Created by Kari Ray
Ugandan cuisine is a true blend of cultures. Even the most traditional foods have been influenced in some form or other to create a distinctively appetizing cuisine. With the building of the Ugandan railway came Indian workers who brought with them their food traditions and flavors. Kuku Paka is a deliciously creamy and coconutty Indian-inspired curry that serves as a great example of Uganda’s uniquely diverse food.
- 1 tsp green chili, finely chopped (jalapeño or serrano)
- 1 tsp fresh ginger peeled, minced
- 1 tsp garlic, minced
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 whole chicken legs, skinned, scored 3 or 4 times across both thigh and drumstick (see note for alternative)
- 3 tbsp olive oil, plus more for the chicken
- 2 small red onions, very finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1Tbsp fresh ginger peeled, minced
- 1 green chili, finely chopped (jalapeño or serrano)
- 2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 ½ tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp salt, or to taste
- 1 can coconut milk
- 2 limes, cut into 4, to serve
- 2 tbsp cilantro (coriander), chopped
- Mix all the marinade ingredients together and rub thoroughly into the chicken legs. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F(200°C). Place the chicken on a baking tray and lightly brush it with oil. Slide the tray into the oven and cook for 30–40 minutes, or until done. (To check: Pierce the thickest part of the meat. The juices should run clear with no trace of pink.) Remove from the oven and rest for five minutes.
- Meanwhile, add 3 tablespoons of oil into a medium-sized frying pan and set it over medium heat.
- When it’s hot, add the onion and sauté for about five minutes.
- Add the garlic, ginger and green chili and stir for an additional minute.
- Add the tomato and cook until soft, about three minutes.
- Add the ground cumin and coriander, the turmeric, chili powder and salt and mix well.
- Stir in the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Cook rapidly over a medium-high heat, stirring, until the sauce thickens a bit. Place the chicken in the sauce to heat through, spooning the sauce over it.
Place the chicken on a plate and spoon sauce over it. Squeeze the lime wedges over the sauce and garnish with the chopped cilantro (coriander).
For an alternative to whole chicken pieces, use 2 lbs (about 1 kilo) of cubed and browned chicken breast.