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Zambian Tongabezi:
Chicken Curry with Fried Sweet Potatoes

What's the big idea?

Spices from both the Americas and the Indian sub-continent have been used in East and Southern African cooking for a hundred years or more. While not as richly spiced as an Indian curry, for example, this Zambian version is certainly full of flavour. Serve with boiled rice by all means, but the fried sweet potato/squash makes a more authentic and unusual accompaniement.

Shopping List

Here's the list of what you need:

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 4 large chicken pieces (breasts, thighs, drumsticks)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, skinned, seeded and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh root ginger, finely chopped
  • 6 green cardamom pods
  • 1 heaped teaspoon curry powder or paste of your choice
  • ¾ pint chicken stock
  • 2 sticks lemon grass, bruised
  • 2 small red chillies, finely chopped
  • ½ pint natural yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)

What To Do

  • Parboil the sweet potatoes in their skins for about 10 minutes, then peel and cut into thick slices
  • Cut the flesh of the butternut squash into similar-sized pieces
  • Season the chicken pieces. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan and fry the chicken for about 15 minutes until golden
  • Remove the chicken from the pan and keep warm. Add the onions to the pan and cook gently until soft, then add the tomatoes, garlic, ginger, cardamoms, chillies and curry powder/paste
  • Cook for a few minutes, then return the chicken to the pan, add the stock and lemon grass, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through
  • Meanwhile, heat a little more vegetable oil in another pan and fry the pieces of sweet potato and squash over medium heat for about 10 minutes until slightly golden and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Keep warm
  • Stir the yogurt into the chicken curry and heat through without boiling
  • Sprinkle with chopped coriander and serve with the sweet potato/squash mixture

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