African Chicken (Macanese One-Pan Chicken Curry, 非洲鸡)

Juicy chicken with crispy skin, tender potato, and colorful peppers are brought together by a peanut butter and coconut based sauce. Sweet, savory, nutty, and spicy! And it all comes together in one pan, fuss-free.

African Chicken (Macanese One-Pan Chicken Curry, 非洲鸡) | One Pot | Recipes | Chicken | curry | Easy | Coconut | Healthy | Casserole | Thighs | Baked | Stew | Peanut Butter

African chicken (非洲鸡), or Macanese chicken curry, is an undiscovered treasure in Chinese cuisine. Although the name contains “African”, it is actually an African-influenced Portuguese cuisine that was adapted by Chinese chefs during the colonial era of Macau. The dish is a melting pot, indicated by its history and ingredient list – oyster sauce, curry powder, coconut milk, peanut butter, and olive oil, all in one pot.

African Chicken (Macanese One-Pan Chicken Curry, 非洲鸡) | One Pot | Recipes | Chicken | curry | Easy | Coconut | Healthy | Casserole | Thighs | Baked | Stew | Peanut Butter

I encountered African chicken when I traveled to Macau back in 2012. Before I put the first piece of chicken in my mouth, the tangy aroma of sweet nuttiness and smoked spiciness had whet my appetite. When I sliced the first morsel of chicken that lay in the creamy sauce, I found the edges of the chicken skin beautifully charred, with the grease seeping from within the tender meat. With the first bite, I felt my mouth burst with the sweet, spicy aroma and vibrant nutty flavor.

African chicken let me experience something new and different. The chicken has a crispy skin, smoky taste and juicy texture as a result of being grilled, yet it has so much flavor from the hearty sauce that is only achievable through braising. The sauce has a sweetness from the peanut butter and coconut milk, but it is balanced by the pungent flavor of the curry powder and fresh herbs. It results in a familiar, savory taste that is reminiscent of Chinese cuisine.

African Chicken (Macanese One-Pan Chicken Curry, 非洲鸡) | One Pot | Recipes | Chicken | curry | Easy | Coconut | Healthy | Casserole | Thighs | Baked | Stew | Peanut Butter

The most thorough and authentic recipe I’ve found is the African Chicken Curry recipe in The Adventures of Fat Rice: Recipes from the Chicago Restaurant Inspired by Macau. However, the recipe is not practical to replicate in your home kitchen. The recipe contains about 20 ingredients. And you have to make almost every one of those ingredients from scratch!

In order to make the dish possible to cook, even on a weekday evening, I’ve reduced the process to a minimum.

It takes 10 minutes to prepare and 10 minutes of active cooking time. Then you can lay back and let your oven work the magic.

The result? I finally experienced the delicious taste of Macau again, this time at home!

African Chicken (Macanese One-Pan Chicken Curry, 非洲鸡) | One Pot | Recipes | Chicken | curry | Easy | Coconut | Healthy | Casserole | Thighs | Baked | Stew | Peanut Butter

A Few Notes & Tips

I published this recipe back in 2014, and made some major changes in 2017. Here are some cooking tips and change notes that document the update.

(1) Choose whatever cuts you prefer.

You can use chopped whole chicken, chicken drumsticks, boneless thighs, or even chicken breast. My favorite cut is skin-on bone-in thighs, because they are easy to prepare, tender, and more flavorful. If you’re using boneless thighs or chicken breast, reduce baking time to 30 minutes.

(2) The dish is less spicy now.

I decided to skip the cayenne powder this time, so the dish will be more balanced without too much spice. However, if you love a spicier dish, consider adding 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of cayenne powder to the sauce.

(3) Choose how you’d like your peppers.

I’ve baked the peppers with the chicken, so they will be a bit overcooked at the end and will become very tender. It you prefer a fresh and crisp pepper, add the peppers 20 minutes into baking, or you can stir fry the pepper separately on the stovetop and add to the stew at the end of baking.

(4) Rice is a must-have!

Traditionally the dish is served with steamed white rice in Macau. My husband and I prefer a healthier meal, so we enjoy serving it over brown rice or mixed grains. It is so yummy!

(5) The ultimate way to prepare this dish.

Use a charcoal grill to sear the chicken to crispness before baking. It’s the real way to create that authentic smoky chicken!

(6) The leftovers taste even better.

I skipped the marinating process and made this dish easier to make even on a weekday evening. The sauce is so flavorful and the dish is ready once cooked. However, the leftovers will taste better because the spices in the curry will have had enough time to blend into the sauce.

Top the hot rice with crispy chicken, colorful peppers, and tender potato, ladle with a spoonful of the nutty creamy sauce. Dinner will be so comforting, healthy, and delicious!

African Chicken Cooking Process

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African Chicken (Macanese One-Pan Chicken Curry, 非洲鸡) | One Pot | Recipes | Chicken | curry | Easy | Coconut | Healthy | Casserole | Thighs | Baked | Stew | Peanut Butter

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

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African Chicken (Macanese One-Pan Chicken Curry, 非洲鸡) | One Pot | Recipes | Chicken | curry | Easy | Coconut | Healthy | Casserole | Thighs | Baked | Stew | Peanut Butter

African Chicken (Macanese One-Pan Chicken Curry, 非洲鸡)


  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Stovetop, Oven
  • Cuisine: Chinese, Macanese

Description

Juicy chicken with crispy skin, tender potato, and colorful peppers are brought together by a peanut butter and coconut based sauce. Sweet, savory, nutty, and spicy! And it all comes together in one pan, fuss free.


Ingredients

  • 2 pound (1-kg) bone-in skin-on chicken thighs and/or legs (*Footnote 1)

Spice mix

Curry

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon paprika powder
  • 2 tablespoons Madras curry powder
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 (270-millimeter / 9 ounce) can coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup unsalted natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 (14 ounces / 400 grams) russet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • (Optional) Chopped parsley for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 C).
  2. Combine all the ingredients of the spice mix. Sprinkle on both sides of the chicken.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add chicken, skin side down. Cook until both sides turn dark brown and crispy, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken onto a big plate.
  4. Turn to medium heat. Add the rest of the 1 tablespoon of olive oil and onion. Cook until it becomes tender, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add ginger and garlic. Stir fry for 30 seconds, to release the aroma.
  6. Add paprika powder and curry powder. Stir until the ingredients are well coated with spices, 20 to 30 seconds.
  7. Add chicken stock, coconut milk, peanut butter, oyster sauce, and bay leaves. Stir with a spatula to dissolve the peanut butter until it’s well blended with the sauce. Bring to the boil.
  8. Add potato, peppers, and chicken to the curry. Transfer the pan to the oven. Bake until the chicken is cooked through and the skin crispy, about 45 minutes.
  9. Serve hot over steamed rice.

Notes

1. Boneless skinless thigh or chicken breast will work too. In this case, change baking time to 30 to 35 minutes, until the inner temperature reaches 165 F (74 C).

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 serving of the 6 servings
  • Calories: 579
  • Sugar: 8.6g
  • Sodium: 531mg
  • Fat: 44.1g
  • Carbohydrates: 26.7g
  • Fiber: 6.3g
  • Protein: 25.6g
  • Cholesterol: 56mg

Disclosure

Omnivore's Cookbook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
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Meet Maggie

Hi I'm Maggie Zhu! Welcome to my site about modern Chinese cooking - including street food, family recipes, and restaurant dishes. I take a less labor-intensive approach while maintaining the taste and look of the dish. I am originally from Beijing, and now cook from my Austin, Texas kitchen.

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14 thoughts on “African Chicken (Macanese One-Pan Chicken Curry, 非洲鸡)

  1. mira

    I’ve never tried African chicken Maggie, but this one looks absolutely delicious! I love the sweetness and other wonderful flavors in it! I’ll probably double the potato, since I love chicken with potatoes! Pinning!

    Reply
  2. [email protected] Eats

    Maggie! This is right up my alley – I love love LOVE the flavours you have used in this! I really like “flavour explosions”, as my family calls it! This is sensational! I literally want to make this RIGHT NOW! I feel that this will be a great one to try on the BBQ as well. Easy to prepare in advance then grill on the outdoor grill. Easy to make alot of too! I love this! Really love this, I am trying it soon!

    Reply
  3. Bam's Kitchen

    This dish looks amazing and browning it in the oven looks like the perfect way to obtain the flavors of this Macau dish. I think your recipe sounds pretty simple and can’t wait to try this at home. I know all Asian dishes have a long list of ingredients but it is everything we already have in our staples, so no worries. Have a super week.

    Reply
  4. Sarah

    This chicken looks so juicy and flavorful – I love the sauce over it. I haven’t eaten or heard of African Chicken as a Chinese dish before, but now that I know it exists I must try it next time I got o a restaurant — and try your recipe when I’m feeling ambitious! 🙂 Great pictures, I love the step-by-step!

    Reply
  5. Robyn

    Wow, Maggie, you hit a home run with this dish. Tenderness, flavour, juicy, and beautiful to look at! I will definitely be making this as I am eating more chicken lately and I love loads of interesting flavour – beautiful!

    Reply
  6. Stan

    Hi Maggie,
    I’ve made your African Chicken recipe twice in the past 2 weeks and it’s been a real winner each time! I served the chicken together with your Hong Shao Eggplant dish and the pairing worked beautifully. I really appreciate your advice and technique. You really know how to cook!

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Thanks so much for your kind word Stan! The African chicken is one of our favorites, and I’m glad to hear you enjoy it as well 🙂 Love the idea of pairing it with the eggplant dish. Yum!

      Reply