Zambian Chicken Stew Recipe


Recipe by Natasha at


One of Zambia’s comfort foods is chicken stew – cooked in a savory tomato and onion gravy, nicely seasoned to create a beautiful flavor. This Zambian chicken stew recipe requires very few ingredients, some of which are in your kitchen right now. So go look around your cabinets and you will find all you need to make this stew.

This chicken stew is very popular across the country and is mostly served with nshima, rice, potatoes or pasta. For maximum satisfaction, the chicken is cooked with skin on and bone in.

The skin gives a great crispiness of the outer part of the chicken which blends in well with the gravy. In the traditional way, a whole chicken is used for this recipe.

The chicken is cut according to its parts then cooked the same way I’m about to show you.

Start by boiling the Chicken

So the cooking process begins with boiling the chicken first to get rid of the raw chicken smell and to make it quicker to fry, since the inside would be cooked already.

A minimal amount of water is used for this process but enough to leave us with some chicken broth to use for the gravy at a later stage. Then after, the chicken is fried in some oil. The Idea is to get a crispy texture on the outside even though it will be stewed.

Making the Gravy

The gravy is then made by frying some onions and tomatoes and at this stage, it is important to let the tomatoes cook for about 15 minutes to get rid of the raw tomato smell that would not blend well with the tomatoes and seasonings.

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So after the tomatoes cook, the seasonings are then added to build the flavor. The broth that was left from the boiling of the chicken is then added to the gravy and then the fried chicken is added as well. The chicken is then left to simmer until all the flavors come together.

I am using chicken thighs for this recipe but any parts can work really. Just make sure they have the skin and the bone for you to achieve this great flavor. Whole chicken, even better!

I know in this recipe I blended my tomatoes but blending tomatoes is optional. It is not a very common practice in Zambia and in the traditional way of cooking this chicken, we use diced tomatoes.

Zambian Chicken Stew Recipe


7 pieces of chicken

1 whole tomato

½ large Onion

½ Cup Vegetable Oil

½ Cups water

1 t/spoon Garlic Powder

1 t/spoon Seasoned Salt

1 t/spoon Onion Powder

1 t/spoon Chicken Spice

1 t/spoon Chicken Broth (powder)

1/2 t/spoon Curry Powder



  1. In a medium pot, add the chicken and the water. Let the chicken boil on medium heat for about 30 minutes.
  2. Remove from stove and let it cool. Remove the chicken from the pot but don’t throw out the broth, we will need it later.
  3. Heat oil in a pan (I would suggest a non- stick pan).
  4. Once oil is heated, add the chicken and fry on both sides until golden brown.
  5. When the chicken is all fried, remove some of the oil from the pan and leave enough for the gravy. Then use the same pan to fry the onions and the tomatoes.
  6. Once those are cooked, add the gravy to the broth that you set aside. Then start adding the seasonings.
  7. Once the seasonings are mixed in with the gravy, add the fried chicken to the gravy and let it simmer on medium low for about 30 minutes or so. The chicken will be ready once the gravy is thick. Enjoy!
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