Skip to content

Regional Food Specialities (2) – Chicken Breyani

October 28, 2011

This is a traditional Cape Malay recipe is from my friend, Rose, who is 74 and lives in a tiny little house in the centre of Somerset West.  She is an excellent cook who believes very strongly in the importance of fresh ingredients and good home cooking.

 She is very excited about sharing her recipe with the wider world!


4 chicken breasts – use bone and skin  on for more flavour
500grams rice – basmati or normal
2 or 3 potatoes (optional)
200gram lentils – drained and washed
2 large onions sliced thinly
2-3 cloves garlic – crushed
thumb size piece fresh ginger – grated
2 sticks cinnamon
3-4 cardamom pods – just cracked to release flavour
2 star anise
1 tbsp  fennel seeds
1 tbsp dry coriander seeds
5-6 all spice
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp curry powder
1 cup of sour milk (or milk and lemon juice)
vegetable oil
sliced potato
about 1½ litres of  chicken stock or water
a bunch of fresh coriander

finely chopped tomato
a bunch of chopped coriander
chopped cucumber

fresh green chilli, vinegar and sugar to taste


Take the chicken, garlic, ginger and spices and mix with the sour milk. Leave to marinade for half an hour or so. Parboil the rice with the stick cinnamon and cardamom and the lentils in plain water in separate pans. If using, also parboil the potatoes in another pan.

Take the onion and fry in the oil until golden brown.  Put half the cooked onion with the chicken mixture and mix the other half with the rice.

Take a large casserole or similar and layer the ingredients: uncooked sliced potato at the bottom, then the drained chicken, lentils, cooked potatoes and rice. Pour the marinade over the top, then add the stock and sprinkle over the fresh coriander.

Simmer on the hob or in a moderate oven (180 0C) for 1 hour, then test by digging into the dish. Season with salt/pepper to taste. You may need to cook for a further half hour or so.

Serve with salad:

Place the finely chopped onion in a bowl; cover with boiling water and leave for a few minutes then drain. Add the cucumber and tomato.  Stir in lots of fresh coriander and a little finely chopped green chilli to taste.  Add a little vinegar diluted with water if you prefer and a touch of sugar.

 Rose hopes you enjoy her dish!



From → Food and drink

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: