Chicken makhani, coconut and okra curry

Also known as butter chicken, this rich, fragrant curry is glorious served with piping hot naan breads. Creator Peter Ayub recommends using thigh meat as it is more succulent and moister than other cuts. Also known as ladies' fingers, okra is sold at some neighbourhood markets and certain delis. Make sure it is firm and bright green in colour.

Serves: 4-6


500 g fresh washed and roughly chopped green serrano chillies
150 g roughly chopped garlic
1 heaped T (20 ml) salt
11⁄2 t (7.5 ml) white pepper
1 C (250 ml) lemon juice
1 C (250 ml) canola oil
1⁄4 C (60 ml) white wine vinegar
1 C (250 ml) chopped okra salt
1 T (15 ml) canola oil
1⁄2 C (125 ml) finely diced onion
1⁄2 T (7.5 ml) cumin seeds
1⁄2 T (7.5 ml) mustard seeds
1 t (5 ml) turmeric
1⁄4 t (1 ml) chilli and garlic paste
2 T (30 ml) desiccated coconut
700 g boneless and skinless chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces salt to season
2 T (30 ml) Rajah medium curry powder
2 T (30 ml) canola oil
1 cinnamon stick
4 cardamom pods
150 g chopped unsalted roasted peanuts
2 T (30 ml) chopped fresh garlic
1 T (15 ml) white wine vinegar
1 x 400 g tin whole peeled tomatoes
2 T (30 ml) honey
1 x 175 g tub plain yoghurt
1⁄4 C (60 ml) chopped fresh coriander
1–2 t (5–10 ml) Chilli and garlic paste


Chilli and garlic paste
Place the chillies and garlic in a blender or food processor. Blend together slowly, adding the salt, pepper, lemon juice, canola oil and white wine vinegar as you go.

Allow the blended mixture to rest overnight in the refrigerator.

Sterilise your jars or bottles and lids in rapidly boiling water for 10 minutes. Dry at a low heat in the oven and then cool. Fill with the chilli and garlic sauce and seal.

Okra and coconut mixture
Season the okra with salt.

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion for 1 minute.

Add the okra and pan-fry for about 5 minutes.

Add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, turmeric, and chilli and garlic paste.

Add the coconut and continue cooking until the okra is ready, which will take about 2 minutes. Set aside and keep warm until the chicken is ready.

Chicken curry
Season the chicken with salt and the curry powder.

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the seasoned chicken and cook for 8–10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Add the cinnamon, cardamom and chopped peanuts.

Cook for 2 minutes, then add the garlic. After 30 seconds, add the white wine vinegar. Add the tinned tomatoes (crushed with your hands), honey and yoghurt, and cook for 5 minutes.

Reduce the heat to low and add the chopped coriander, and the chilli and garlic paste. Continue to cook for another 2–3 minutes.

Stir in the okra mixture and cook for 2 minutes so that everything is nicely combined and warm.

Serve either with plain basmati rice or Naan Bread.

Recipe extract from Peter Ayub’s Sense of Taste, published by Human & Rousseau. 

Peter Ayub’s Sense of Taste

Leave a comment

Promoted Restaurants