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Soweto Chicken

Soweto Chicken is a heart-warming chicken casserole dish that is spicy, and you can make it as hot or mild as you prefer. The original recipe came from Soweto in Johannesburg and was published in Peter Veldsman's excellent cookbook, "Kos van die Eeu" (Food of the Century). New Zealanders love this adapted version of Soweto chicken:


  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2 medium or 3 small onions, sliced into rings
  • 1 can of chunky tinned tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) turmeric
  • 1 whole red chilli pod, fresh or dried
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) mild curry powder (if at all possible, use South African Rajah curry, often available on the South African shelf of your supermarket's international section)
  • Freshly grounded black pepper
  • Salt


  1. Add crushed garlic to the canned tomatoes and pour into an ovenproof casserole dish.
  2. Rinse chicken under cold water and pat dry with kitchen paper.
  3. Combine spices, salt and pepper and rub into chicken.
  4. Place chicken in the casserole dish and arrange onion on top.
  5. For a very mild dish, simply slip the chilli pod into the side of the casserole and remove it before serving. If you prefer your chicken hot, slice the chilli along its length, remove the pips, chop, and scatter over the chicken.
  6. Cover the casserole dish and pop it into the oven.
  7. Set the temperature to 180°C and cook for 1½ hours if it's a small chicken, or 2 hours for a large one.

Serve with stampmielies, stywe or krummelpap, or rice.

In the unlikely event that you end up with left-over sauce, you can refrigerate or freeze it, as it makes a pretty good chakalaka sauce.