Chicken Akhni

Akhni is a rice dish made from essentially an Aloo Ghost (Chicken & Potato curry) mixed with cooked rice. Akhni varies from province to province. I’m sure each family will have a different recipe depending on their heritage. For example the Cape Malay version is different to the one I grew up with as my family is from Durban and the Transvaal. How do you make your version? Tell me in the comments below!

Chicken Akhni


  • 1/2 chicken, cleaned and portioned. Breasts cut into cubes
  • 1 Tb red masala (or ginger & garlic paste + 2 tsp red chili)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 2 each cardamom pods, cloves, small cinnamon sticks
  • 2 small tomatoes
  • 1 cup mixed vegetables
  • 1 potato optional
  • 1 cup rice (basmati or bimri)


  1. Marinade chicken in masala and spices.
  2. While the chicken is marinading, pour a thin layer of oil into a large pot on medium heat. Add cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon sticks and sliced onion.
  3. Lightly brown the onion then add chicken pieces and brown.
  4. When the water from the chicken has dried up add 2 blended tomatoes, water to cover the chicken, mixed vegetables, potato if you are adding it, rice.
  5. Cover and continue to cook on medium heat until rice is cooked and all the liquid has cooked away.
  6. Take off heat and leave covered to steam.


If you would like to cook 1 whole chicken, double the remaining ingredients. If you have ready fried onions you can use them instead and it will save some time. If you prefer to use chicken breasts instead of bony meat use 2 breasts in place of half a chicken or 4 breasts for a whole chicken. Use mutton or beef if you want to make this with red meat. For a vegetarian version use butter beans.

Very important tip: If you are not comfortable cooking the rice with the chicken, make the curry up to the tomato/water/veggies separately and add cooked rice after.

Serve the Akhni with dhey:

  • 1 cup yoghurt or maas
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1/2 garlic clove
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • fresh coriander

Blend all ingredients, if you prefer a thinner dhey add a little bit of water. Add grated carrot and cucumber to it if you want a variation for salad.

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