Memories of Zanzibar! Light Coconut Chicken Served With Kachumbari Salad

Zanzibar was our first stop on a crazy  adventure, that was MSC’s first cruise ship. So many ups and downs dealing with the teething problems of starting a spa on an old ship that had been purchased from the Disney Big Red Boat Cruises. But once we began sailing, from Durban, we visited some pretty cool places. Zanzibar is an enchanting island, very green with lots of trees. Beautiful clear water surround this exquisite archipelago. A place that is most famous for spices, (known as the Spice Islands) it is every cook’s or food lover’s dream! (Every beach lover’s dream too of course!)This dish with its spice blend and coconut base, is Zanzibar in a bowl for me. It reminds me of the warmth and vibrancy. I have paired it with a salad that is familiar throughout Eastern Africa and South Africa and reminds me of my trip from Durban to the Suez Canal! Fresh and zingy with lime juice, but simple to throw together, it allows you to focus on preparing the main chicken dish.

Make it lighter: I use light coconut milk and serve with cauliflower rice

WINE NOTE: I chose a fresh, dry and juicy Riesling to go with this, as I wanted the aromatics and fruits to stand to the aromatic spices of the dish and match the fresh lime in the salad.

2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 large chicken jointed into 8 pieces, skin on
2 onions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 green chillies, chopped
3 tomatoes, finely chopped
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp coriander seeds
4 green cardamom pods
2 limes, juice only
275ml/½ pint chicken stock
2 x 400ml/14fl oz cans light coconut milk
1 bunch basil
cooked basmati rice, to serve or cauliflower rice

Heat oil in a large skillet on medium heat, and when ready, place the chicken pieces in and brown on each side. Place on a plate and keep warm.

Put the onions, garlic, one of the chillies and the tomatoes and cook for about five minutes.
Place the turmeric, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and cardamom pods into a spice grinder or pestle and mortar and grind until fine.Then add to the onion and tomato mixture. Add the lime juice.
Add the chicken stock and coconut milk to the pan and bring to the boil.
Place the chicken in the skillet and simmer for 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through, reaching 170F with a meat thermometer.
Place the remaining chilli and the basil into a pestle and mortar and grind to a paste, then add to the skillet.Season the chicken to taste.Serve with the rice or cauliflower rice.

Kachumbari Salad

1 medium red onion chopped
A couple of good pinches of sea salt flakes
10oz/300g red cherry tomatoes (or 2 to 3 large tomatoes) chopped
1 ripe avocado chopped
1 handful cilantro/fresh coriander leaves chopped
1 chilli finely chopped
1 tbsp EVOO
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
Sea salt to season

Soak the onions in a bowl of water with the sea salt flakes for about 5 minutes. Remove and rinse in cold water, then pat dry with a j-cloth.
Combine the onions with the tomatoes, avocado, cilantro /coriander and chilli.
Toss the vegetables with olive oil and lime juice, then season with salt to taste.