Durban Curry Recipe
By David Trafford

South African traditional Durban curry recipe by David Trafford paired with Sijnn Rosé wine.

©Mike Carelse
Durban Curry Recipe by David Trafford.


30 ml canola oil 
2 large onions, chopped 
45 ml garam masala 
15 ml mustard seeds 
15 ml paprika 
10 ml ground cumin (jeera) 
10 ml ground coriander 
45 ml cake flour 
5 ml salt 
15 ml hot curry powder 
12 skinned chicken thighs (or a combination of thighs and legs) 
125 ml water or chicken stock 
8 cm piece fresh root ginger 
6 cloves garlic 
1 x 410 g tin whole tomatoes 
30 ml tomato paste 
2 sticks cinnamon 
2 bay leaves 
3 fresh chillies, de-seeded and chopped 
1 apple, cut into chunks 


Serves 6

Heat the oil in a large saucepan with a lid. Add the onions and saute until translucent. Add garam masala, mustard seeds, paprika, cumin and coriander. Continue frying for a few minutes 'until it smells heavenly, and not burnt!' Remove from the saucepan and set aside. 

Combine the flour, salt and curry powder and use the mixture to dust the chicken pieces. Fry in the same saucepan until lightly browned, taking care not to let it burn. Return the onion mixture to the saucepan, add water or stock and stir in. Cover with the lid and cook gently for 15 minutes. 

Pound the fresh ginger and garlic cloves together and add to the curry. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, cinnamon, bay leaves, chillies and apple. Simmer until the meat is tender (about 1 hour). 

Serve with basmati rice, an atchar relish (or sambals) and poppadoms. 

Wine Pairing

Sijnn Rosé 

Wine Notes

'I feel our Sijnn Rosé is the perfect curry wine. It's an unusual barrel-fermented and matured rosé with low acidity and soft, velvety tannins, yet with intense red wine flavours and earthy spiciness to stand up to the strong flavours of the curry.' 

Cook’s Tip

'This is a moderate curry. Increase or decrease the chilli and curry powder to taste, but this strength works well with the recommended wine. · 

'This is from a 1970s book of favourite recipes compiled by my marvellous mom and her very "colonial" Durban friends, who had translated the recipes into Zulu to help their cooks and maids. This basic recipe can be adjusted: we often add tinned peaches and grated apple for a fruitier version and have done a venison version, which can be pretty intense, but delicious.'

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