This recipe from Mumtaz Rahemtulla, a fourth-generation Kenyan of Indian
(Gujarati) descent, is widely known by its Swahili name, kuku paka. It shows up
on Indian menus as well—not surprising considering the Swahili culture
combines African, Arab, and Indian influences. Rich and savory, kuku paka is
easy to prepare for a family meal or a casual dinner with friends. The sauce also
tastes great with boiled corn—on the cob or just the kernels—which is called
Time: 1¼ hours (45 minutes active) plus marinating
Makes: 6 servings as part of a multicourse family-style meal
Two 13½-ounce cans coconut milk, divided
2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves), divided
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger (from a 1-inch piece), divided
1½ teaspoons salt, divided
3-to 4-pound broiler-fryer chicken, skinned and cut into 12 to 14
pieces; or 3 pounds chicken parts (a combination of bone-in
thighs and drumsticks works well here)
¼ cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, chopped
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
3 red or green Thai chilies, cut into thin rounds
6 hard-boiled eggs
In a large bowl, mix 1 can of coconut milk, 1 teaspoon of the garlic, 1
teaspoon of the ginger, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Add the chicken and use your
hands to coat each piece evenly with the marinade. Cover and marinate in the
refrigerator for at least 6 hours, or preferably 12.
Position a rack 4 to 6 inches from the heat source and preheat the broiler.
Using tongs, pick up each piece of chicken and allow excess marinade to drip
off. Place the chicken pieces on a broiler rack set on top of a baking pan lined
with foil to catch the drippings. Reserve the leftover marinade.
Broil the chicken for 8 to 10 minutes on each side, or until nicely browned.
The pieces will not cook at the same rate so remove them as they are done to
avoid overbrowning. (The chicken does not have to be cooked through because
it will simmer for another 30 minutes.)
In a large and wide heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, mix together the
leftover marinade, the remaining coconut milk, garlic, ginger, and salt, along
with the cilantro, turmeric, and chilies. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add
the chicken and eggs and simmer over low heat, turning once or twice during
cooking to coat evenly, until the chicken and eggs have turned golden yellow
and absorbed most of the sauce, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately with
freshly steamed basmati rice.
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