Characteristic of the region's curries, this intensely spicy one from chef Kevin Joseph of Durban's The Oyster Box hotel gets its heat not from chiles, but pastes made of fresh garlic, ginger, and onions, plus lots of curry powder. Though not cooked long, the sauce is rich and thick thanks to heaps of ground spices and unsweetened coconut cream.
Featured In: Eating Bunny Chow in Durban
- 5 medium cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1⁄2 medium white onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 medium tomatoes
- 6 oz. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. ground turmeric
- 1⁄2 cup mild curry powder
- 1 1⁄4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt, divided, plus more as needed
- 1 1⁄4 lb. large prawns shelled and deveined
- 2 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 2 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. ground fennel seed
- 1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. ground cardamom
- 1⁄4 cup honey
- 1⁄2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
- 2⁄3 cup unsweetened coconut cream
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for garnishing
- 2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh curry leaves
- Cooked rice, for serving (optional)
In a small food processor or mortar and pestle, add the garlic and ginger and pulse or pound until a paste forms. Transfer to a small bowl, then repeat the process with the onion. Transfer the onion paste to a separate small bowl. Add the tomatoes to the food processor (no need to clean out the bowl) and process well. Strain through a sieve and reserve the juices (discard the pulp). You should have about 3⁄4 cup juices.
In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion paste and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons of the ginger and garlic paste and cook, stirring occasionally, 4 minutes (reserve any remaining paste for another use). Stir in the turmeric, curry powder, chicken, and 3⁄4 teaspoon salt and let cook 5 minutes. Stir in the prawns and tomato juice and simmer 4 minutes. Stir in the cumin, ground fennel, and cardamom and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and coconut cream and bring to a simmer; let cook, uncovered, 5 minutes. Stir in the honey, cilantro, curry leaves, and remaining 3⁄4 teaspoon salt. Cover and let cook until the prawns are pink and firm, about 3 minutes.
Garnish with cilantro leaves, and serve with a side of rice if desired.