Creole Chicken Curry


While on holiday in Mauritius a few years ago, my brother-in-law and I used to skip the tourist traps and head to the eateries the locals favoured to eat some proper traditional Mauritian curry called cari poule. Although authentic Mauritian curry powder isn’t readily available in South Africa (or anywhere else but Mauritius for that matter), you can substitute it with any mild curry powder with added fennel and cardamom. Best practice is to marinate the chicken for a few hours before you start, or even overnight. Serves 6.


For the marinade:

  • 4 cloves garlic (crushed or chopped)
  • 1 tot fresh ginger (crushed or chopped)
  • 1 tot fresh thyme leaves (finely chopped)
  • 1 tot fresh parsley (stems included, finely chopped)
  • 2 tots medium curry powder
  • 1/2 tot ground fennel (just grind or pound fennel seeds)
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tots vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup water

For the rest of the curry:

  • 2 kg chicken pieces (bone in, remove skin from some of the chicken pieces or the meal will be very fatty)
  • 1 tot vegetable oil
  • 2 onions (chopped)
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • fresh coriander leaves (to serve)


  1. Mix all the ingredients for the marinade together in a large marinating bowl, then add the raw chicken pieces and toss to coat on all sides. Cover and let them marinate in the fridge for a few hours, or preferably overnight.
  2. Heat the oil in a potjie and fry the onions until they are soft.
  3. Take the chicken pieces out of the marinade and add them to the potjie. Fry until the chicken starts to get a golden colour (don’t add the rest of the marinade that is left in the bowl just yet). You don’t need to cook the chicken completely; at this point you just want to give it some colour.
  4. Now add the rest of the marinade and simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes.
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 1 hour, until the chicken is tender and would start to ‘fall from the bone’ if you manhandled it. So work carefully, or it will actually fall off the bone. Now remove the lid and let the potjie simmer until the sauce has reduced to your liking.
  6. Take the potjie off the fire and serve with white rice, topped with fresh coriander leaves – just tear them off the stalk or chop the whole lot up if you prefer.


In my experience, you’ll enjoy this curry best with a view of the sea and a side of white rum and coke. Then round it off with an afternoon nap in the shade of a tree.