Chicken akni

Chicken akni

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  • 6
  • Medium
  • 2 hours 30 minutes, plus overnight marinating time
  • 1 hour 30 minutes

"This is my late mother's marinated chicken akni recipe that I always make when I have visitors. It's packed with flavour and there's over enough for seconds or to take home in a barakat. It's a dish that can be made for a casual or formal dinner. " – Fatima Sydow


  • 1½ kg kg free-range chicken pieces
  • ¾  cup buttermilk
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 t ginger
  • 1 t masala
  • ½ t salt
  • For the akni mix:
  • 2 T oil
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 1 t cumin seeds
  • 1 t fennel seeds
  • 1 allspice berry
  • 8 curry leaves
  • 1 t crushed chilli
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno (optional)
  • 1 green pepper
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 heaped T fresh ginger
  • 2 t salt
  • 2 t ground turmeric
  • 4 T masala
  • 4–5 potatoes
  • 600 g basmati rice, rinsed
  • fresh coriander

Cooking Instructions

1. Place the chicken, buttermilk, garlic, ginger, masala and salt in a large bowl, mix well and marinate for 2 hours or overnight.

2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, then add the star anise, cinnamon, bay leaves, cardamom pods, cumin, fennel, allspice, curry leaves and chilli.

3. Add the onions, jalapeno and green pepper and fry until golden brown. Add the garlic and ginger and ½ cup water and cook for 5–10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Add the salt, turmeric, masala and ½ cup water and cook over a medium heat for 6 minutes.
Add the marinated chicken and cook for 25 minutes.

5. Add the potatoes and 2 cups water. Cook until the potatoes are soft, then the rice and 3 cups water. Stir and cook over a medium heat, covered, until the water is completely absorbed and the rice has tripled in size. Sprinkle over the coriander.

Cook’s note: If you don't have buttermilk, use plain yoghurt. Serve with slaai – 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped tomato, fresh coriander, salt and pepper to taste, 1 cup brown vinegar and 120 grams sugar. Mix all the ingredients and allow to stand for 1 hour.

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Production: Khanya Mzongwana
Photograph: Jan Ras

Fatima Sydow Recipe by: Fatima Sydow
View all recipes

Fatima made her first 100-litre pot of curry at the age of 16 and has been sharing her popular recipes ever since. She built up a worldwide following with her Facebook page, Cape Malay Cooking with Fatima Sydow and is a cookbook author and TV cook.

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