Sunday, 7 June 2015

Corn Kuku Paka

Kuku Paka

Kuku Paka is generally  a chicken curry but can be made with pieces of meat (tastes best with bone-in meat). Goat and Mutton  are recommended. My version is made up of roasted pieces of fresh corn and  I am leaving the ''curry'' rather thick to coat these pieces of corn.

However when preparing Kuku Paka as an actual chicken or meat curry for a crowd adding pieces of corn to it also works rather well. This is instead of potatoes which every Parsi would be contemplating adding in a curry!

Kuku means chicken in Swahali and Paka is up for debate. It could mean delicious, cooked, even means cat in Swahali, yikes! This delicious curry sans cat, is rooted in East Africa and assimilates with the Ismaili community who lived there in droves over the past century. There are several versions of an authentic good Kuku Paka and East Africans of Indian origins claim it to be there dish. One of the names thrown into the mix is the word "nazi" which translates into coconut, this was dropped for obvious reasons.

Lets gather that it is safe to say that simply put  Kuku Paka is a chicken curry of East African, Arab and Indian influences brewed in a pot and served to all the nations of the world to enjoy.

Kuku Paka with roasted corn on the cob

                                                            Serves 6

5 ears of corn flame grilled , cut into 4 pcs each
 1 tbsp oil
2 tbsp chestnut flour
1 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 tsp crushed ginger
4 fresh green chillies
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 cup fresh corriander leaves
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of sugar
400 ml/ 14 oz coconut milk
 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Grind together the flour, garlic, ginger, green chillies, chilli, cumin, turmeric powders, coriander, salt and sugar. Add the lemon juice and some of the coconut milk to grind.
Heat the oil and fry the paste for a few minutes. Add the remaining coconut milk and stir it with a whisk until smooth. Bring it to a boil, cover, lower the heat and cook for 30 minutes. Now dunk all the roasted pieces of corn, cover and simmer for another 30 minutes. Taste for salt and lemon. Serve with bajra or makai roti.

Use gram/channa flour instead of chestnut flour.

Kuku Paka is generally a chicken curry but can be made with pieces of lamb or goat meat (tastes best with bone-in meat). Traditionally always ‘roasted’ on a fire before added to the curry pot.

Add fresh coconut water to loosen it. 

Roasted corn  cooked in a delicious KuKu Paka Curry
by Tanaz and Zareer

 Flame grilled corn on the cobs in Kuku  Paka curry

Read more about Parsi food its history, traditions and stories in my cookbooks The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders and The Art of Parsi Cooking;reviving an ancient cuisine.

For more delicious recipes from Niloufer's Kitchen click on
  Niloufer's Kitchen: Quick and Easy
or choose from any of the 10 e-cookbooks.

Photo courtesy Niloufer Mavalvala

Readers reviews

11th October 2017

Tanaz Behrana Congrats Nilou! there are quite a few I have enjoyed. To name a few that I make quite often is the Goat cheese Tart, corn kuku-paka, the khichri sauce which always turns out so good, the papeta nu gosh (delish). Keep posting to please our tummies 

September 07 2016

Sheeraz Y. Wania Got so tempted 😜 for dinner tonight. Niloufer Mavalvala
Sheeraz Y. Wania Niloufer Mavalvala it was so yummy ..all 3 boys loved it too


  1. Love it. Used to eat it when we were in East Africa, make it even now.
    I don't roast the corn. Put it in raw, n then suck the juice.🤪🤪

  2. Above comment is by Mehroo Karbhari.

    1. Thank you for sharing. Yes we can put it in without roasting too. Its a preference.