Simple Chicken Casserole Recipe - Malay Braised Chicken

This simple chicken casserole recipe comes from my cooking Bible simply titled "South African Cookbook". I love the smell of the ginger, garlic and spices used in the chicken recipe as it wafts through the house while the casserole is cooking.

The cuisine of a region always contains its history and South Africa is no exception. The Dutch East India company needed a midway refreshment station on the long sea route between Holland and the spice-rich East Indies. In 1652 this halfway station was established at the Cape of Good Hope and it was not long after that the first of my ancestors arrived in Africa.

Of course to build a prosperous colony, the Dutch needed labourers and skilled artisans and since the indigenous Khoisan were nomadic and had no interest in the European ways, slaves were brought to the Cape. The most prized and expensive slaves were the Malays and they were employed almost exclusively in skilled positions as artisans, seamstresses and fishermen. They brought with them also their wonderful cuisine and love of fine food and many of them were employed as cooks.

Today still the Cape Malay community retain their own culture and traditions and of course their sublime cuisine. This chicken caserole recipe is typical of the unique cuisine of the Cape Malay community.

I hope that your family will love this simple chicken casserole recipe as much as mine does.

Preparation Time: 30 min
Cooking Time: 40 min
No. of Servings: 4-6
Pre-heat oven to 150°C (300°F, gas mark 2)


  • 1kg (2 pounds) chicken portions
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 2 potatoes peeled and diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 4cm (about 2 inches) fresh green ginger pounded or ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 4 cardamom seeds or 1 cardamom pod, bruised
  • 1 green chilli, seeded and chopped
  • a pinch of ground cloves
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Wash and dry the chicken portions.
  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan or casserole that can be used on the stove top and gently fry the onions until golden brown.
  3. Remove the onions and reserve.
  4. Add the potatoes to the saucepan and brown slightly.
  5. If using ground ginger it is best to add it to the other spices; stir in the garlic, fresh ginger and onions.
  6. Mix the cumin, cardamom, chilli and ground cloves with the lemon juice and water.
  7. Add the liquid and spice mixture to the saucepan.
  8. Transfer to ovenproof casserole if needed.
  9. Cover and casserole in the oven until the chicken pieces are browned and cooked through.
  10. Serve with a steamed rice and a green salad.

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