Kuhu Chicken: Zambian Pan Fried Chicken in Tomato Sauce

I had to honor this chicken recipe with a name. I could not bear the thought that this beautiful and delicious dish which has a unique method of preparation does not have a name with which it can be recognized. The first word which popped up in my head was Kuhu, which in my mother tongue Si Lozi, simply means chicken. I know the name is repetitive but I like the sound of it.

Pan frying chicken and finishing it off in a rich tomato sauce is the most authentic and contemporary method with which Zambian households prepare chicken. The choice of seasoning is always very simple but with slight variations from one household to another. Some people do not go beyond sprinkling the chicken with table salt before placing it into the hot oil. Others go a step further and use seasoned salt. In my recipe, I like to sprinkle my chicken pieces not only with table salt but also some garlic powder and a mild yellow curry. The end result is however, always the same; you get a seasoned dish which is well-balanced with the crispy fried chicken pieces placed in a reddish brown tomato sauce surrounded by crunchy and sweet peppers and onions.

Typically, every part of the chicken is used for this recipe. That means everything including the rib cage, the back, and the neck and yes even the gizzard and the liver. However, I have discovered that the red meat (thighs, legs and wings) makes the best pan fried chicken. These pieces tend to come out moist whereas using parts such as the breast meat results in a dry steak.


Note: If you are not familiar with pan frying foods such as chicken, I highly recommend that you use a splatter screen to avoid a cooking hazard. Another word of caution, if you decide you want to fry the liver take note that the liver can sometimes explode, the more reason why you should use a splatter screen.


Ingredients                                                                        Prep  & Cooking Time: 35 min      Servers:  4-6


For the Chicken

1/2 Whole chicken (Red meat; thighs, legs and wings)

1/2 cup vegetable cooking oil

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. yellow curry powder

For The Sauce

1(3-4oz.) medium size red onion (or yellow onion)

¼ oz. green onions

¼ red bell pepper

¼ poblano pepper

2 roma tomatoes

1 tsp. tomato paste

¼ cup tomato sauce

1 tsp. gravy powder

1 cup water

Salt (to taste)



(1) Lay out chicken pieces on a cutting board and sprinkle half a teaspoon. of salt first, then half a teaspoon. of garlic powder and half a teaspoon of curry powder. Turn the pieces over and repeat the process.

Massage the chicken pieces to allow the condiments to enter the flesh.



(2) Heat the cooking oil in the frying pan on high for one minute or until the oil is hot then reduce the temperature to medium heat and place the chicken pieces in the pan.

(3) Fry each chicken side for 10 minutes or until golden brown.


(4) While the chicken is frying, prepare vegetables by slicing onions and chopping the rest of the vegetables.


(5) Remove the chicken pieces from the pan when they are ready. Reduce the oil in the pan to ¼ cup (about half the quantity).

(6) Place the onions in the oil first and caramelize for  1 min. Add the green onions and peppers and caramelize for another minute.

(7) Add the roma tomatoes and  let them fry for 5 min then add tomato sauce and tomato puree. Mix well for 1 minute then add the gravy powder and the water. Mix the contents well.


(8) Waite for the sauce to come to a complete boil then return the chicken pieces to the pan and allow the sauce to boil for another 5 minutes.

(9) Server the chicken as a main dish accompanied by carbs such as Nshima, rice pasta or potatoes and a vegetable.






Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailby feather

6 thoughts on “Kuhu Chicken: Zambian Pan Fried Chicken in Tomato Sauce

  • December 16, 2014 at 5:08 pm
    This looks delish and I want to try it ASAP, but before I mess it up, it is tomato sauce as in ketchup or it's actual tomato sauce? Reply
    • December 19, 2014 at 11:47 pm
      Hey Samantha, It is the actual tomato sauce, the one that comes in the can. I usually use Hunt's tomato sauce( http://www.hunts.com/products/tomatoes/tomato-sauce) but any brand or home made should be fine as well. I hope you will still get round to making it soon. :-) Reply
  • Pingback: Ifisashi: Peanut Flour and Leafy Vegetables - Peri Peri Chef

  • Pingback: Smothered Chicken in Cream of Mushroom - Peri Peri Chef

  • May 4, 2018 at 11:22 am
    This looks so good. I can't wait to make it for my husband. For the gravy packet, is it like brown gravy or something else? Reply
    • August 16, 2018 at 10:22 pm
      Hello Nancy, Thank you for stopping by. I use brown gravy but you can also use all-purpose flour. Just make sure you roast it on the pan before adding it to the sauce. Happy cooking.  - Mundia Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *