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

Kuku Paka:

  • 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



  1. Mix all the marinade ingredients together and rub thoroughly into the chicken legs. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
  2. 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.
  3. Meanwhile, add 3 tablespoons of oil into a medium-sized frying pan and set it over medium heat.
  4. When it’s hot, add the onion and sauté for about five minutes.
  5. Add the garlic, ginger and green chili and stir for an additional minute.
  6. Add the tomato and cook until soft, about three minutes.
  7. Add the ground cumin and coriander, the turmeric, chili powder and salt and mix well.
  8. 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.

To serve:

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.

15 minutes
1 hour
1 hour 15 minutes
1 chicken quarter
2-4 servings
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