By Michelle Chaplow.

Curry in South Africa? Curry muffins?

It’s not something that I had ever thought about. As a Brit, curry is like our national dish; everyone has their own favourite curry house. I didn’t associate South Africa with curries, but they have some of most delicious curries that I have ever tasted.

It’s often said that Durban is home to the largest Indian population outside India. Back in 1860, indentured workers arrived in Durban and, after completing their contracts, large numbers of them settled in South Africa, many becoming successful traders and entrepreneurs. The Indians of Durban also invented the famous Bunny Chow, a popular takeaway dish of curry served inside of a small hollowed-out loaf of bread.

The Indian dish that struck me as most intriguing was Curry Muffins, served each day for breakfast at the Hilton Hotel in Durban.

Chef Noel Kanyemba creates the Durban Curry Muffins

Chef Noel Kanyemba creates the Durban Curry Muffins

Chef Noel Kanyemba from the Durban Hilton Hotel is responsible for making the famed curry muffins. The Hilton provided the recipe, but Noel confided that he adds “a touch of Love”. He went on to explain that he knows he “touches people’s lives each day” with his freshly-baked muffins.

If you want to make the Durban Curry Muffins/cupcakes, here is the recipe:

Fresher than fresh, Curry Muffins, straight from the oven.

Fresher than fresh, Curry Muffins, straight from the oven.


1¾ cup all purpose flour
1½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp salt
¼ cup melted butter
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 tsp curry powder (medium masala)
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 chilli, finely chopped
5 stems chopped thyme
150g sweet corn
100g peppers, skin off, finely chopped

· Combine the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, curry powder and salt
· Add the corn, peppers, chilli, and thyme. Mix well
· In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, milk and melted butter, ensuring the milk is not too cold or it will solidify the melted butter
· Create a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the milk mixture
· Fold together until lightly combined
· Fill muffin cups or a well greased muffin tray
· Bake at 180 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden

Well done to the Durban Hilton Hotel for Sharing the Muffin love!

Do you think curry cupcakes could catch on?