A Malawian Feast: Chicken Curry, Nsima & Nkhwani

by Maurice Muchene
Malawi Country Director, buildOn

Here is the recipe to a dish that I enjoy a lot. You could say it is a fusion of Malawian and Indian food. The Nkhwani (pumpkin leaves cooked with groundnut flour) and the Nsima are traditional Malawian dishes but the chicken curry, while widely eaten here in Malawi and a testament of the heavy Indian culture in Malawi cuisine, is not traditionally Malawian. The recipe is from Kay Jay Pees Restaurant. buildOn staff who have been to Malawi have enjoyed this meal several times!

Chicken Curry

2 tbs oil
I chicken breast
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbs curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tbs turmeric
1 green pepper, chopped
1 tbs lemon juice
2 medium onions, chopped
I cup tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp salt
4-5 small potatoes, cubed

1. Cut chicken into pieces and boil until cooked.
2. Separate chicken from the stock.
3. In a large saucepan saute the onions, green pepper, garlic and potatoes for about 5 minutes.
4. Add in the curry powder, turmeric, and cummin and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid sticking to the pot.
5. Add tomatoes and cook until the sauce has a thick paste like consistency.
6. Add chicken until the all the pieces are covered in the paste.
7. Add salt to taste. Then pour in the desired amount of stock back into the pot and lower heat.
8. Simmer for about 3 to5 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked.
9. If the mixture seems too dry, you can add in more stock.
10. Add lemon juice 15 minutes before serving.

Nkwani (Pumpkin Leaves in Groundnut flour)

5 cups of pumpkin leaves
Salt to taste
1 cup groundnut* flour
1 cup water
3 medium tomatoes, chopped

1. Bring water and salt to a boil in a saucepan.
2. Add chopped pumpkin leaves and simmer for about 3 minutes.
3. Add tomatoes and sprinkle the ground nut flour on top, then cover. Do not stir immediately.
4. Cook for about 3 to 5 minutes, then stir and serve.

1.5 cups water and 1 cup of corn flour (maize meal) per person

1. Heat the desired amount of water in sauce pan to a half-boil..
2. Stir in enough flour to to make a porridge like mixture. Stir frequently to avoid the mix from getting lumpy.
3. When the mixture starts to boil, or when you can smell the maize meal start to cook, stir in the rest of the flour.
4. Add in enough flour at a time and stir continuously to avoid the mixture getting lumpy
5. Add in enough flour until you get the desired consistency (which is comparable to grits) but can be made to be as runny or solid as one desires.
6. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
7. Remove from the stove top and form patties of desired size and then serve hot with your pumpkin leaves and chicken curry.

*We think garbanzo bean flour would be a good substitute if you can’t find groundnut flour.