Makai Paka/ Corn Coconut Curry

March 6, 2013mayurisjikoni

Cuisine: Swahili 

Recipe: Makai Paka/ Corn Coconut Curry

Makai Paka/ Corn Coconut Curry is an easy to prepare, tasty and creamy Kenyan style curry in which corn is cooked using coconut milk. Usually, makai paka is enjoyed with mahamri, chappati or rice. Makai is the Kiswahili word for corn. Here, as such the coconut curry is not smeared on the corn as the name indicates but it is cooked in it. With influence from the Arabic, Indian and African cuisines, this curry comes together within 15 minutes if you’re using canned corn and coconut milk.

I think, that this version of makai paka was created by fast food restaurants to cater for the vegetarians.

Visit the coastal area of East Africa and you will not miss enjoying either Kuku Paka or Samaki Wa Kupaka. Kuku is chicken, samaki is fish. While paka in Kiswahili also means cat, don’t worry no cat cooking is involved here! Kupaka means to smear. So basically the chicken or fish is grilled and then ‘smeared’ with a coconut sauce or curry.  Nowadays, it is common to find that the grilled chicken or fish is added to the coconut curry base.

The coconut curry base is not too hot as Indian curries are. Here, the flavors of the spices and fresh ingredients used should have a subtle taste, thereby not overpowering the flavour of coconut.

My Family Loves Makai Paka/ Corn Coconut Curry with Mahamri

Whenever I make Mahamri at home, my family either prefers makai paka/ corn coconut curry or Mbaazi with it. As I mentioned above, makai paka/ corn coconut curry can be prepared in a jiffy while for the mbaazi a bit of planning is required as I have to soak the pigeon peas.

Memories

When I got married and came to Mombasa, it opened up a whole new world of cuisine for me – The Swahili Cuisine. My mother in law use to make mahamri and corn coconut curry at home. I also learnt from her, but hers was definitely a much ” Indianized ” version with extra spices. Over time I learnt how to make the Swahili version from my maid Salma. From where she comes, they do not add tomato at all. But she said that some add. I prefer this curry without tomatoes.

Dishes With Coconut 

THE GROUP FOODIES _ REDOING OLD POSTS 

The Group Foodies_Redoing Old Posts, started by Renu helps the members to make an effort to update old posts. This group has helped me so far to focus on posts that need redoing. Recently, I’ve been posting on a Facebook Group called Foodies+ …. your online Bistro, all about Kenyan Cuisine.It is a wonderful group where we learn about each others cuisines, share new recipes, try out recipes from etc others blogs and basically support each other.  So, that has been an incentive to redo my Kenyan recipes. So, here is Makai Paka/ Corn Coconut Curry, in the East Coast style.

Updated on 25/06/2021. First Published on 06/03/2013

Ingredients Required For Makai Paka/ Corn Coconut Curry

  • Sweet Corn – use canned, frozen or fresh. When I use fresh corn, I boil the corn cobs with a bit of salt till done. Then I allow the cobs to cool down. Run a sharp knife lengthwise to remove the kernel easily.
  • Coconut Milk – I prefer to use canned coconut milk as it is much more creamier and thicker than home made one. 1 can of coconut milk is about 400ml. If you make the coconut milk then you need about 400ml.
  • Onion – preferably red but can use white or yellow, finely chopped.
  • Garlic – peeled and minced.
  • Ginger – peeled and minced or grated.
  • Green Chillis – use either whole or crushed. If you use whole ones, slit them into half.
  • Salt – add according to your taste.
  • Cumin Seeds – jeera, jiru
  • Cinnamon – about 1″ stick
  • Cloves – just for flavour.
  • Pepper corns – for flavour
  • Oil – any vegetable or coconut oil.
  • Turmeric Powder – an optional ingredient, add very little if you’re using it.
  • Water – normal tap water. Don’t add any if you want a much thicker curry.
  • Cashew Nut Powder – mainly used as a thickener for the curry. If you don’t have any, replace it with chickpea flour (besan, chana flour).
  • Black Pepper Powder – add according to your taste.
  • Fresh Coriander – chopped, for garnishing.

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Dietary Tips:

  • Gluten Free
  • Vegan
  • For a Jain version of this curry, omit onion, garlic and ginger

 

 

MAKAI PAKA/ CORN COCONUT CURRY

mayurisjikoni
Makai Paka/ Corn Coconut Curry is an easy to prepare, tasty and creamy Kenyan style curry in which corn is cooked using coconut milk. Usually, makai paka is enjoyed with mahamri, chappati or rice. Makai is the Kiswahili word for corn.
5 from 18 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course curry, Main Course, Main Meal
Cuisine Swahili
Servings 3 people

Ingredients
  

  • cup sweet corn cooked
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 tbsp cashew nut powder
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • ½ tsp green chilli paste or 1-2 whole ones
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • ¾ - 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 can coconut milk 400ml
  • ¼ cup water
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

Instructions
 

  • Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. When it is hot, add peppercorns, cloves and cinnamon.
  • Add cumin seeds.
  • Add chopped onion and stir fry till the it is cooked and soft.
  • Add garlic paste. Stir fry for a few seconds.
  • Add chilli and ginger pastes and stir fry for a few seconds.
  • Add the cashew nut powder and mix.
  • Add turmeric powder, salt and corn. Mix well.
  • Add coconut milk. Add about ¼ cup water if you want a thinner curry.
  • Simmer makai paka for 5 minutes over low heat.
  • Add chopped coriander and pepper powder. Mix and serve with mahamri, rice or chappati.

Notes

  • If you want a less liquidy curry, don't add water.
  • I use canned corn which gives about 1¼ cups of corn.
  • Don't allow the curry to boil on high heat as it may separate the fat from the coconut milk.
  • If you don't have cashew nut powder, replace it with any nut powder or chickpea flour. If you use chickpea flour, roast it a bit before adding the corn.
  • Can be prepared ahead and to serve, just warm it up.
  • The curry becomes a bit thick on cooling, so add water accordingly.
Keyword Kenyan Style Corn Coconut Curry, makai paka recipe

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If you do try this recipe then please either

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  • send a picture to my email mayuri.ajay.patel62@gmail.com
  •  tag me as #mayuri_jikoni on Instagram
  • or tag me on Twitter as #Mayuri1962

 

 

42 Comments

  • Jolly

    June 28, 2021 at 12:05 pm

    5 stars
    I have never tried corn with coconut milk, this sounds so delicious and lovely presentation. I am sure it will be a super hit in our family. I will try this recipe soon. beautiful share!

    1. mayurisjikoni

      June 29, 2021 at 5:31 pm

      Thank you so much Jolly, enjoy when you try out the recipe.

  • Preethi Prasad

    June 28, 2021 at 3:30 pm

    5 stars
    Makai paka sounds so flavourful. I love anything with coconut milk. So simple yet delicious. Best part is it can be put together on just 15 mins. I am love the Kenyan recipes you are sharing . Would love to try this sometime.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      June 29, 2021 at 5:31 pm

      Thank you so much Preethi and am so glad you’re enjoying the Kenyan recipes.

  • Maria

    June 28, 2021 at 5:32 pm

    5 stars
    With all those fragrant spices going in, this corn curry must be a treat for senses! It’s so easy to prepare with mostly pantry staple ingredients! I might add a few more green chillies to make it hotter. But I’m definitely trying this very soon.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      June 29, 2021 at 5:30 pm

      Thank you so much Maria, when we have it at the restaurants, they have do serve it with green chilis on the side.

      1. Lata Lala

        July 1, 2021 at 1:27 pm

        5 stars
        Since we all love corn in any form, this curry looks perfect to try Mayuri.
        With rains here I am already drooling while I look at the piping hot bowl of makai curry. Goes well with piping hot rice.

      2. mayurisjikoni

        July 1, 2021 at 5:07 pm

        Thank you so much Lata. Pease do try it and if you feel like trying out a new recipe, try mahamri as it goes well with it.

  • hem lata srivastava

    June 28, 2021 at 5:56 pm

    This makai paka curry looks so tempting, usually we make makai with spinach or mustard leaves. I am saving it to try it.
    Mast ekdum

    1. mayurisjikoni

      June 29, 2021 at 5:29 pm

      Thank you so much Hem lata.

  • Seema Sriram

    June 29, 2021 at 10:22 am

    5 stars
    I always have a stock of corn as it is one of the easiest ones I can whip up something with. With winters here and rains I will love to try this recipe.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      June 29, 2021 at 5:28 pm

      Seema, I too have always have sweet corn handy for the rainy days 🙂 Enjoy when you try out the easy to make curry.

  • Jayashree T.Rao

    June 29, 2021 at 7:12 pm

    5 stars
    Makai Paka looks delicious and full of flavours. The addition of coconut milk has given a good taste to it. Would love to try this one soon.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      July 1, 2021 at 5:12 pm

      Thank you so much Jayashree as I mentioned a lot of the dishes made at the coast have coconut in them.

  • Rafeeda – The Big Sweet Tooth

    June 29, 2021 at 10:29 pm

    5 stars
    This corn curry is an absolutely interesting recipe. I am drooling at the way the gravy looks – nice, thick, coconuty, full of flavor…

    1. mayurisjikoni

      July 1, 2021 at 5:12 pm

      Thank you so much Rafeeda and it is one of the easiest to make.

  • Archana

    June 30, 2021 at 10:47 am

    5 stars
    Makai Paka the name sounds so very exotic! I absolutely love the curry sweet corn and coconut milk the match is just yum. This is definitely a dish for me to try, especially now that we get some awesome corn with aromatic spices. Making it this Sunday Mayuri.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      July 1, 2021 at 5:11 pm

      Thank you so much Archana, and do share photos when you make the curry.

  • Priya Srinivasan

    June 30, 2021 at 8:48 pm

    5 stars
    Makai paka, love the name of the curry mayuriji! I too keep corn handy in my freezer. Love the creaminess of the curry and how simple it is to make! I will love to try this delish curry!!!

    1. mayurisjikoni

      July 1, 2021 at 5:09 pm

      Thank you so much Priya, please try out the simple curry.

  • Kalyani

    July 1, 2021 at 12:10 pm

    5 stars
    loving the cashewnut powder used here in this creamy Makai Paka.. such a flavourful dish with a bowl of steamed rice!

    1. mayurisjikoni

      July 1, 2021 at 5:08 pm

      Thanks Kalyani.

  • Vandana

    July 1, 2021 at 5:33 pm

    5 stars
    Wow Mayuri such a unique recipe and it sounds so delicious. I need to make it immediately and just by reading the recipe, I am sure my whole family will love it. Thanks for sharing this recipe with us.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      July 3, 2021 at 11:56 am

      Thank you so much Vandana. Please do make it.. easy and delicious.

  • Uma Srinivas

    July 1, 2021 at 8:42 pm

    5 stars
    Such an easy and delicious curry. I love both corn and coconut milk. I bet this will taste good with jasmine rice and roti!

    1. mayurisjikoni

      July 3, 2021 at 11:56 am

      Thanks Uma, it will taste equally well with normal basmati rice too.

  • Pavani

    July 3, 2021 at 6:48 am

    5 stars
    This is such a unique and absolutely delicious dish. Loved reading your memories. I will definitely try this Makai paka recipe soon.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      July 3, 2021 at 11:51 am

      Thank you so much Pavani.

  • Poonam Bachhav

    July 3, 2021 at 9:21 am

    5 stars
    Makai Paka with sweet corn cooked in a creamy coconut milk base curry sounds absolutely delectable ! Getting to know so much about different Cuisines through your posts.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      July 3, 2021 at 11:46 am

      Thank you so much Poonam. And yes, the curry is delectable.

  • Sasmita Sahoo

    July 3, 2021 at 2:50 pm

    Makai Paka Curry seems so creamy n delicious ! This Kenyan style curry using coconut milk seems to be an easy to prepare, tasty side dish. I would love to enjoy this with some hot chapati 🙂

    1. mayurisjikoni

      July 3, 2021 at 9:02 pm

      Thank you Sasmita, it is an easy recipe as one can easily use tinned or frozen sweet corn and tinned coconut milk.

  • Sapana Behl

    July 3, 2021 at 2:53 pm

    5 stars
    Makai Paka or corn coconut urry looks so creamy and delicious.I have tried sweet corn with spinach but never attempted to make it with coconut milk. Your recipe is quite tempting and I shall try making it soon.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      July 3, 2021 at 9:01 pm

      Thank you so much Sapana,please do try out the recipe, it is so delicious.

  • Renu

    July 4, 2021 at 8:05 pm

    5 stars
    This corn curry in coconut milk looks very rich and creamy and looks like a party pleaser for sure. I would definitely love to pair this with mahamari as that is another tempting recipe from Kenyan Cuisine.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      July 4, 2021 at 10:07 pm

      Thank you so much Renu. Funny you should mention party as that is what my MIL and I would make for huge dinner parties along with other dishes. Please do try out the recipes am sure your family will enjoy both.

  • Geetanjali Tung

    July 7, 2021 at 3:54 pm

    5 stars
    We make a similar curry with corn on the cob. We also don’t use tomato. Never knew there is a Kenyan version of it. Your’s curry looks truly delicious! Love it!

    1. mayurisjikoni

      July 8, 2021 at 9:10 pm

      Thank you so much Geetanjali. We too sometimes make it with corn cobs too.

  • HAYLEY DHANECHA

    July 8, 2021 at 5:15 pm

    One of my second favourites after Kasoli and Jugu is this Makai Paka, I love the mildness of this curry as coconut and cashews are used in this recipe. We too, do not add tomatoes to this recipe.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      July 8, 2021 at 9:03 pm

      Thank you so much Hayley. My family too loves both, the corn with peanuts and makai paka too.

  • Sowmya

    July 9, 2021 at 3:21 pm

    5 stars
    I have never tried corn and coconut combination. It looks wonderful and so creamy. Bookmarking this to try asap!!

    1. mayurisjikoni

      July 9, 2021 at 5:41 pm

      Thank you so much Sowmya. It is a delicious and easy curry to make, please do try it out.

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