Jirra Chicken

This African/Indian fusion dish was taught to us by Bob Clark.  He learned to make this in Kenya where he served as a missionary for 10 years.  The word Jirra means “to bring along” in the native tongue, and the locals consider this dish medicinal.  The meat is tough in Africa because it is mostly “free range.”  As such, many of their dishes are designed to simmer all day to tenderize the meat.  The recipe was originally an Indian dish, but was adapted when the Indians relocated to Africa to fit the local ingredients.

We have substituted fresh for canned, and canned for fresh & adjusted about everything in the recipe.  It still turns out well.  I would say where there is not a measure that I typically use between 1 & 2 teaspoons – I don’t measure.  J

Jirra Chicken


  • 1 chicken, deboned (we use chicken breast)
  • 1 whole onion, diced
  • 2 tomatoes per person, diced (3 for Roma) – we have used canned in its place depending on what we had
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped without stems
  • Ginger (fresh), peeled & diced in small pieces, at least a silver dollar size (we use a finger sized piece)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • cardamom
  • cumin seed
  • 2-3 sticks of cinnamon broken into pieces
  • cloves (whole)
  • paprika
  • fresh diced chilies


  1. Take whole cumin seeds and heat in oil until seeds pop.  (We use olive oil.  If we don’t have cumin seeds, we add cumin).  Our friend suggested 3/4 cup of oil, but we don’t use nearly that much – just enough to do the sauteeing,
  2. Add onions and sautee until just soft.  Add chicken and fry in oil.  Add other spices except tomatoes and then turn down heat.  Add tomatoes.  Cook in covered pan and simmer the longer the better.  Add water as needed.


Collards Greens


  1. Add oil to pan.
  2. Add curry powder to oil.
  3. Add 1 onion cut into half-moons and saute until soft.
  4. ash 1 bunch of collard greens, remove stems, roll cigar style and cut like chiffonade style.
  5. Add collards to oil and sautee until wilted.
  6. Add rotel tomatoes (can add jalapenos at beginning and fresh tomatoes at this step instead).
  7. Add water as needed and let cook down.


Serve with Jasmine rice.