Ideal Spices for Making a Delicious Cape Malay Curry

In this article

  • What is Cape Malay Curry?
  • Spices needed for making a Cape Malay spice mix
  • Cape Malay Curry recipes

What is Cape Malay Curry?

A combination of fragrant Indonesian spices like cinnamon, turmeric, cardamom, and coriander, and the dried fruits and sweet notes of African cuisine, South African Cape Malay curry came to fruition when Indonesian immigrants settled in the cape during the 17th century.

Cape Malay, located in Cape Town South Africa, is known for its diversity in cuisines and flavours. The curries of this region carry a unique blend of taste and aroma that comes from the fragrant spices and sweet dried fruits and vegetables used. The typical Malay-style chicken curry is the characterised by the combination of these sweet and savoury tastes.

Spices needed for making a Cape Malay spice mix

A prominent part of making a delicious, authentic Cape Malay Curry are the spices. Here is a rundown of all the spices it takes to make the perfect Cape Malay Curry:

Coriander – Coriander seeds add a sweet and aromatic to taste to the curry with a warm, citrus-like undertone. The seeds are dry-roasted and ground into a fine powder before being seamlessly blended in.

Cardamom – A versatile spice used in cuisines worldwide, Cardamom has a delicate fragrance and warming flavour. Carrying notes of eucalyptus and pungent camphor, the seeds are gently dry-roasted and ground.

Chilli Powder – An integral ingredient for any curry – a variety of dried and ground chillies. Adding not only a hum of heat, but a beautifully fruity, peppery flavour, chilli powder is added to give the characteristic small kick of Cape Malay Curry.

Cinnamon – An absolute staple when it comes to a Cape Malay Curry spice blend, Cinnamon adds the characteristic sweet, toasty, savouriness of a Malay curry. Cinnamon perfectly rounds out the sweet flavours of the fruits and punchy flavours of the spices.

Cloves – Due to their high intensity of flavour, cloves are used in small quantities when creating spice mixes. Their unique sweet and fiery taste adds a perfect aromatic hint of flavour and aroma to the curry mix.

Fennel – Used extensively in many cuisines over the world, particularly South Africa, Fennel seeds add a liquorice-like aniseed flavour to its dishes. Used in its whole form or gently ground, the seeds are dry-roasted after harvesting to lock in their unique, sweet aroma and flavour.

Turmeric – Known for its health and healing benefits, Turmeric adds a bright yellow colour and earthy flavour.

Cumin – Made from freshly-ground Cumin Seeds, this adds a fragrant, peppery, nutty flavour with slight citrus overtones.

Fenugreek –

To make the ideal Cape Malay Curry, you don’t only need the right spices, but the perfect balance. To take out all the tricky spice-balancing work for you, we’ve made the ideal blend – South African Cape Malay Curry Spice Mix.

Cape Malay Curry Recipes

Here is our catalogue of Cape Malay Curry recipes:

Baked Cape Malay Chicken with Spiced Golden Rice

Cape Malay Vegetable Curry

South African Cape Malay Lamb