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Mala Chicken: a Spicy Buttermilk Mala Chicken Curry and Dill Pickled Rice recipe - Jikoni

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Mala Chicken: a Spicy Buttermilk Mala Chicken Curry and Dill Pickled Rice recipe

Mala Chicken: a Spicy Buttermilk Mala Chicken Curry and Dill Pickled Rice recipe

This buttermilk chicken curry brings the brightness and spice any shared meal needs. Whether it’s a family gathering or catching up with friends, this will be the centerpiece of the occasion. Served with rice, chapati, ugali, pasta or mashed potatoes, your guests will all be catered for.

This fluffy, tasty, umami-packed rice is the perfect way to up your rice game. The recipe is simple but full of great aromatic flavors from the dill, pickles, and garlic powder.

After marinating tikka chicken in buttermilk, also known as maziwa lala or mala in Kenya, I got into the habit of adding my spiced and seasoned marinating mala into my side stews and curries. The result was this perfectly balanced chicken curry. It’s creamy and thick but also bright and spicy, with some ultra-tender chicken for a hearty fill. For me, this is Afro-fusion cuisine, with respect of the flavors and history behind our ingredients as the foundation, and then using that to adapt such a popular South Asian dish like curry and tikka, into a classic West and Central African ‘red sauce’.

A rice recipe that ticks all the boxes; fluffy, savory, and best of all, easy to make. Rice is a sponge, so it’ll soak up whatever flavor you give it, which makes it one of the best ingredients to work with when creating new personalized recipes. As one of the main ingredients eaten across the world, rice can taste different depending on the region the recipe has been influenced by. This recipe is inspired by classic Mediterranean flavors, and goes really well with deep, rich curries and roasted proteins.

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Mala Chicken and Dill Pickled Rice recipe

  • Author: Rumasha Beni
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes + 1 hr for marination
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 51 minute
  • Yield: Serves 4 1x



For the Mala Chicken:

500g chicken breasts

2 cups of buttermilk (divided)

1 cup of neutral oil (divided)

1 tbs of soy sauce

2 tsp nutmeg (divided)

2 tsp paprika (divided)

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp dana jeera, mixed spices, or garam masala

2 grated garlic cloves

1 medium-sized onion (finely chopped)

¼ green bell pepper (finely chopped)

2 tbsp tomato paste

½ a lemon’s juice

(Optional) 1 finely chopped jalapeno (replace with preferred chili)


¼ cup of chopped coriander


For the dill pickled rice:

2 cups of rice (preferably Jasmine rice)

3 ¾ cups of water

1 tsp of salt

1 tbsp of neutral oil

1 tsp of garlic powder

½ a cup of diced pickles

¼ cup of fresh chopped dill


For the Mala Chicken: 

  1. In a ziplock bag, marinate the chicken breasts with 1 tsp of salt, 1 cup of buttermilk, soy sauce, 1 tsp of paprika, ¼ cup of neutral oil, 1 tsp of nutmeg, 1 tsp of garlic powder. Allow to marinate for 1 hour or overnight for an even better infusion of the flavors.


For the dill pickled rice:


  • The curry keeps well in the fridge if kept in an airtight container.
  • You can replace chicken with tofu or fish, but reduce the initial cook time to avoid overcooking your fish.
  • The rice will stay fresh in the fridge for 2 weeks if covered in an airtight container.
  • It pairs best with a thick spicy curry or in a wrap.

Keywords: mala chicken, buttermilk chicken, curry, garam masala, Kenya, rice, pickles, gherkins, dill

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