Throwback Thursday: Chicken Akhni

Tony Jackman’s hen akhni. (Picture: Tony Jackman)

It at all times amazes me that there are so few ‘Cape Malay’ eating places within the Mom Metropolis. There are most likely extra Thai, Greek and Mexican eating places – it’s fairly absurd. Hen Akhni is my favorite dish of the delicacies, and it must be on restaurant menus far and wide.


I am keen on the delicacies generally known as Cape Malay. It sings of the origins of the outdated Spice Route and I think about the aromas of akhni and breyani, koesisters and boeber to be redolent of the outdated Cape kitchens. Dhania and borrie, koljander and jeera, that’s what the home will need to have smelt like when the prepare dinner who, regardless of being a slave or a descendant of slaves (till the abolition of slavery in 1834), held a sure energy over their “masters” and “mistresses” by dint of their prowess within the kitchen. The delicacies that got here our manner on the nice and evil ships gave us humanity and likewise a Cape Malay cooking custom that continued to sail proper by means of the higher nation’s delicacies and is a mainstay of it to this present day. It’s a delicacies to not be underestimated and it’s exceptional that it has remained largely intact over the centuries since. 

Hen Akhni is my favorite dish of the delicacies. Mutton breyani is a detailed second. I’m in awe of residence cooks, by no means thoughts cooks, who run up a five-star hen akhni between getting residence from work and meal time. In my newsroom days, a colleague would usher in a pot of akhni on her birthday to share with us. That’s my benchmark in making an attempt to tug it off myself with this recipe. The style, but in addition the feel of it, the best way the rice melds with the sauce, the best way all the pieces is part of the entire. I hope I’ve succeeded. It tasted proper to me. And if hen akhni is new to you, when you’ve by no means considered making it, flip a nook now and make this a part of your loved ones supper repertoire. Add just a few chutneys and sambals, a basket of samoosas and chilli bites as a starter and a bowl of boeber for dessert, and you’ve got a cocktail party. (When you use extra sago, boeber transforms from a spicy, milky drink right into a pudding.)

The predominant flavour of an akhni spice combine has at all times struck me as being turmeric (borrie), and I’m speaking about my senses and palate taking within the flavour and aroma of the akhnis I’ve eaten through the years. However most recipes I’ve discovered use an equal amount of turmeric with different spices reminiscent of barishap (fennel), jeera (cumin), koljander (coriander), cardamom, “stick cinnamon” (often cassia bark however might be cinnamon), chilli powder and naturally ginger and garlic. On the danger of taking my cooking life into my very own palms, I doubled the amount of turmeric in my recipe, and I additionally used a smidgen of saffron. If my Cape Malay cooking guru in Cape City is studying this (you already know who you’re), please be at liberty to place me proper. (I do know you’ll.)

I’m probably not a fan of potatoes in a curry, however they’re a traditi0nal a part of an akhni together with rice that’s cooked into the dish, moderately than being served individually, so I did use them.


4 hen breast fillets, sliced about 1 cm thick (or use 6 to eight complete hen thighs, pores and skin eliminated – most akhnis I’ve eaten in Cape City have used thighs)

2 medium onions, sliced

1 Tbsp canola oil

1 Tbsp ghee (clarified butter)

2 small cinnamon sticks or 3 or 4 items of cassia bark

3 complete cloves

3 allspice (or ¼ tsp floor)

2 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp floor turmeric (borrie)

1 tsp barishap (floor fennel)

1 tsp floor cumin/jeera

2 tsp floor coriander (koljander)

6 cardamom pods/elachi

1 bay leaf

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 cm recent ginger, finely grated

2 giant tomatoes, blitzed in a meals processor

1 inexperienced chilli, chopped

3 medium potatoes, parboiled for 10 minutes and lower into chew sized chunks

500 ml/ 2 cups cooked basmati rice, drained

A number of strands of saffron

A number of sprigs of curry leaves

A number of sprigs dhania/ coriander leaves, chopped


Salt to style


Cook dinner the rice in salted water till tender and drain.

Sauté the onions till caramelised, on a delicate warmth.

Add the hen items, stir to coat with the 0nion, and prepare dinner for five minutes, stirring so all sides of the meat are evenly browned.

Add all of the spices, cowl, and simmer gently on a low warmth for half-hour. Stir at times so it doesn’t catch.

Add the potato chunks, tomato, and canopy with water. Convey to a boil after which scale back warmth to a simmer and prepare dinner for about quarter-hour. Keep away from an excessive amount of stirring as you don’t need the potatoes to disintegrate.

Fold within the cooked rice. Don’t overwork it or the akhni will grow to be a large number.

Stir within the saffron and curry leaves, cowl and let the pot steam on a really low warmth for 20 minutes.

Garnish with chopped coriander. DM/TGIFood 

To investigate about Tony Jackman’s guide, foodSTUFF (Human & Rousseau) please e mail him at [email protected] 

SUBSCRIBE: Our Thank God It’s Meals e-newsletter is distributed to subscribers each Friday at 6pm, and printed on the TGIFood platform on Day by day Maverick. It’s all about nice reads on the themes of meals and life. Subscribe right here.



Check Also

Florida’s Lobster Mini Season Is Nearly Here – CBS Miami

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It’s the time of 12 months when individuals can head to the …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *