Kenyan Kienyeji Chicken Recipe

This is the best ever Kenyan Kienyeji Chicken recipe you will find. Now I know food bloggers have a bad wrap for hurling around the

kienyeji chicken in a saucepanThis is the best ever Kenyan Kienyeji Chicken recipe you will find. Now I know food bloggers have a bad wrap for hurling around the phrase “best ever”  a little too much. Friends. Look me in the eyes… this recipe is the real deal.

Kienyeji chicken is a popular delicacy in East Africa. For those not familiar with the term, kienyeji chicken a.k.a free range chicken or organic chicken are chicken that are bred by being let to roam freely rather than being confined indoors. As such they eat freely from nature and are hit by sunlight unlike their confined cousins, the broilers.

Related : Maryland Fried Chicken

Many prefer eating the kienyeji chicken over the broiler. This is mainly because the former though tough packs great natural intense flavor. On the other hand the broiler is mild in flavor with some saying it tastes mushroom like.

In this recipe we will use the most traditional method (it is only fair to use a kienyeji method to prepare kienyeji chicken, right?) That means we won’t be marinating our chicken before cooking.  However I will soon be posting a chicken marinade recipe. So stay posted.

See also : Kenyan Beef Pilau (A Step by Step Guide To Making The Best Pilau)

Popular in Western Kenya

This Kienyeji Chicken recipe is popular in Western Kenya among the Luhya community. That I am part of FYI. My mother is Luhya. I was born and raised in Western Kenya. Kids there by the age of 8 are able to slaughter chicken (I am sorry if you find this sensitive), unfeather the chicken, remove the innards and chop it to pieces. So yes I have been doing this since I was 8 (drops mic)

You probably see why I started by saying this is the best ever kienyeji chicken recipe.

See also: Easy Pancake Recipe from Scratch

Kenyan Style Preparation of Kienyeji Chicken

Because the meat is usually tough, it first has to be boiled for usually 1-2 hours. However it is crucial that the meat doesn’t overcook as it will disintegrate. And trust me you don’t want to have porridge chicken. After one hour of simmering check for tenderness by poking with a fork. If not ready check every after 20 minutes.

When cooked till tender, the chicken is then stir fried in a rich tasting sauce of tomatoes, onions, green bell peppers (hoho), garlic and dhania (coriander)

See also : Nigerian Jollof Rice and Chicken

Swap-stitutes (Swaps and Substitutes)

This is a very basic recipe so feel free to add whatever your heart desires

  • Want a more refreshing and vibrant taste, sure toss in fresh herbs and mint leaves
  • Want to take things to the next level, pour in some coconut cream
  • Prefer things really hot,  throw in some chili 
  • Want things creamy, pour in some yogurt

You do you the chicken is still going to be amazing then come back share what worked for you.

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Let’s get cooking shall we?

Kenyan Kienyeji (Free Range) Chicken Recipe
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Kenyan
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 - 6
Delicious Kenyan kienyeji chicken prepared in a rich tasting sauce of onions, tomatoes, bell pepper, garlic and ginger. You will love it.
To boil chicken
  • A whole kienyeji chicken chopped (1.5 - 2.5 kgs)
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger grated
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Water
For the sauce
  • 2 medium sized onions chopped
  • Cooking oil
  • 2 Tbsp original royco
  • 4 large ripe tomatoes diced
  • 1 large green, red or yellow bell pepper (hoho) chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves grated/minced
  • 1 tsp ginger grated/minced
  • 2 cups chicken stock (that remains after boiling)
  • 2 handfuls dhania (coriander) leaves roughly chopped
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  1. Mix all the ingredients in the 'to boil chicken' list in a large pot, bring to a boil and let simmer for 1-2 hours until the chicken is tender. Check after one hour by poking it with a fork. If not ready check every after 20 minutes. Once ready set aside.
  2. In a saucepan heat the oil and saute the onions till soft
  3. Add in the ginger and garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Do not brown.
  4. Add in the bell pepper stir and let cook for a minute
  5. Toss in the tomatoes, give a stir and cover to let the tomatoes cook till soft (between 5 to 10 minutes)
  6. Mix in the royco
  7. Mix in the chiicken pieces and stir till all coated
  8. Add the remaining stock, bring to a boil and let simmer for 10 - 15 minutes. If necessary add in more water.
  9. Throw in the coriander(dhania)
  10. Taste for seasoning and adjust appropriately
  11. Serve hot with rice, ugali, chapati or bread.


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