After leaving Africa, Ahmed Obo found that curry-based dishes nurtured memories of home. “That’s the spice that I came to America with, in my head, in my memory,” says the Jambo Café chef. “When I had people over, I would cook chicken curry.”


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ large yellow onion, diced small
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ginger powder
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup finely diced Roma tomatoes
  • 13.5-ounce can coconut milk
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock


  • 3 pounds boneless chicken thighs and breasts, cut into 1½-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Olive oil, for cooking

Serves 6-8

1. Make the sauce first. In a deep-bottomed skillet or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, until soft. Add curry powder, cayenne pepper, coriander, cumin, and ginger, mixing well and cooking for 3 to 5 minutes until spices start sticking to the pot. Stir in the tomato paste until incorporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat if needed. Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Stir in the coconut milk and stock, mixing thoroughly. Turn up heat to medium-high and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. While the sauce is cooking, sprinkle the chicken with curry powder, turmeric, and salt. In a large frying pan, heat some olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Cook the chicken in batches until the flesh is firm. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Transfer the chicken to the curry sauce.

4. You can serve this dish immediately, but for best results, cover and place it in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight, so the flavors can marry. Reheat over medium-low.

Read more: This recipe originally appeared in "Jambo Joy" by Johnny Vee.