Kuku wa Kupaka – Chicken in Coconut Sauce

kuku wa kupaka

This mouth watering authentic dish is a specialty at the Kenyan coast whereby chicken is cooked in a spicy coconut sauce. It is a perfect illustration of how the Swahili people intermingle with Arabs and Indians in terms of cooking in the coastal region… Hear is a simple recipe of how to enjoy kuku wa kupaka at Home!



8-10 pieces of chicken ( I personally suggest skinless chicken breasts or thighs)
Fresh ginger, peeled and minced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
3 green chilies, chopped (can be eliminated for a milder dish or substituted for sweet bell pepper)
Juice of one fresh lime
1/4 Cup vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 fresh tomatoes, washed and sliced
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon curry powder / turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 cups of thick coconut milk
salt and freshly grounded pepper to taste
fresh chopped Coriander for garnishing


Marinate chicken pieces in ginger, garlic, rosemary, chilies, Lime juice, salt and 1 teaspoon vegetable oil then set aside covered. (For better authentic results always leave the chicken for 1-2 hours before grilling it).Set aside the remaining marinade as you can use it later on the sauce.

Grill chicken pieces in charcoal or oven for 30 minutes
Heat vegetable oil in a large pan and saute finely chopped onions till light brown, add sliced tomatoes and on a medium heat simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in tomato paste for another minute then add curry powder/turmeric and cumin seeds, stir and mix thoroughly for 5 minutes
Add coconut milk and the remaining marinade you used for the chicken (If there’s any left). Lower the heat and stir the sauce for about 5 minutes till its very thick. Season with salt and freshly grounded pepper


Add grilled chicken into the sauce and simmer while covered for 30 minutes until the chicken is done and tender like i did on the photo above


Place grilled chicken in a serving dish (One that can be used in an oven) pour some of the thick coconut sauce over and put the dish in a pre-heated oven for 30 minutes. Check from time to time.
Garnish with fresh chopped coriander!
Serve with Rice, Chapati or Mahamri..


This method can also be used for Samaki wa kupaka (Fish in coconut sauce)
Some recipes add potatoes or hard-boiled egg to the sauce, simply boil coarsely chopped potatoes separately and add them to the sauce towards the end.

16 thoughts on “Kuku wa Kupaka – Chicken in Coconut Sauce

  1. I’ve done this receipe is very nice thanks for it. I eaten it also in Kenya but yours is much better congratulation.I will do it again even using fish.If you need any original italian receipe just ask Im italian and like you i love cooking.thanks patrizia from Rompe/Italy.

    1. admin

      Hello Patrizia,
      Thank you for your encouriging comments 😉
      Nice to have you here! Am Glad to you loved the Recipe…Hope you’ll enjoy it with Fish as well.
      Am a Big fun of the italian Kitchen, do you also have a cooking Blog?

      Best Regards, xx

  2. Hi, I love ur recipe for chicken in coconut sauce, and about the coconut milk 2 cups is equivalent to how many mls? Esp, if ur using coconut powder.

  3. Thanks for this reciepe! Due to inspiration issues my family is cooking once around the world – this will be it for Kenya. Thanks again. 🙂

  4. I made this for the first time and my guests loved it. It was all gone in a day! Very rich and delicious!

  5. I had this dish in Nyeri, Kenya yesterday and just had to find the recipe! Thank you! Will be sure to try it out when I get back home to Nigeria.

  6. I will be trying out this recipe today. I’ll get back here and report on how it was. Thank you for sharing. Quick question, can it be served with rice?

    1. admin

      Hello Gladys,

      Sorry for not getting back to you immediately!
      How was the Chicken? it pares perfectly with rice.

      Best regards and happy cooking!

  7. You make a website with recipes and refuse that anyone can copy it? You are crazy.
    For me no problem to get all pictures and text, but for many nice people a problem.

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