How to Cook the Best Kenyan Kienyeji Chicken Wet Fry

This is one of the favourite dishes in Kenyan households. Kienyeji chicken that is wet fried. Knowing how to cook the best kienyeji chicken wet fry is important especially if you are hosting parties and want to impress your guests. Another staple and kenyan favourite is our very tasty mukimo, mutura and nyama choma

Let me bring those of us who are not Kenyans up to speed on what kienyeji chicken is. This is organic free range chicken (also known as road runner). “True kienyeji chicken” are the ones that are left to roam free over the country side or within some of the city estates. They are let out very early in the morning and are left free to wander wherever they wish. Come to think of it chicken does not get lost! Strange I know but those of us who rear these chicken know that by sunset they will all come back to the chicken house.

It is always a remarkable sight when kienyeji chicken is on the menu. Young children have the unenviable task of chasing them everywhere (even on top of trees!). This always delights them because it provides them with an exciting avenue to expend their abundant energies.

Before starting the cooking process, it is very important to remember that after plucking the feathers, hold your chicken over a flame or hot coals. This will effectively singe off all the fine feathers that your fingers are unable to pluck out.

Kienyeji chicken is very different in flavour and texture from the broilers. It is tougher and hence requires more cooking time. In fact, it is not advisable to try and roast a kienyeji chicken. Unless it is a young one. Before cooking it, it is normally advisable to boil it for about 45 minutes to about an hour or if you have a pressure cooker 25 minutes will suffice. Kienyeji chicken wet fry has such intense flavour and this if you ask me is this recipe below is best way to cook it.


  • 1 large onion
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1tsp chicken masala
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • Bunch of cilantro
  • 1 whole chicken
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander seeds
  • Black peppercorn
  • Fennel seeds
  • Cumin seeds
  • Fernugreek seeds
  • Black mustard seeds
  • Cardamom pods


  1. Start by trimming off all the fat that you can see on the chicken and placing it in a heated saucepan over high heat. Let it melt to about a tablespoon. Do not add any more oil because kienyeji chicken tends to have a high amount of fat.
  2. As the fat is melting, take all your whole seeds, black peppercorns and cardamom, grind using a pestle and mortar.
  3. Throw the crushed seeds into the melted chicken fat and leave to cook for about a minute. Add the chicken masala powder.
  4. Add the onions and cook for about five minutes until softened before adding the ginger garlic paste and cook it for about a minute.
  5. Add the chicken and mix everything well. Put enough water or chicken stock to just cover the chicken pieces. Add the bay leaf and cover. Boil for about 45 minutes to about an hour depending on the maturity of your chicken.
  6. Remove the bay leaf.
  7. Keep checking and stirring to ensure the kienyeji chicken does not dry up and burn. By now the stew will have thickened. You can cook uncovered until all the stew evaporates and becomes a very thick syrupy consistency. This will intensify and concentrate all the flavours!
  8. Add the tomatoes and reduce the heat and cover to simmer. Once the tomatoes are softened and broken down add the coriander and serve with your favourite starch like chapati. Part of the “wetness” of the kienyeji chicken wet fry comes from the juice of the tomatoes.

Jikoni Magic’s Tips for Kienyeji Chicken Wet Fry:

  1. Using the trimmed fat from the chicken is guaranteed to intensify the flavour of your kienyeji wet fry.
  2. Always try and use freshly cracked seeds because they have a more intense flavour.



  1. julius ondigo

    i like how you have explained. good keep it up

  2. This recipe seems fabulous. I have beem given task to prepare food for V.I.P guests in Church. Are all the ingredients available in the supermarket(forgive my ushamba). Does it mean no boiling chicken before frying?

  3. hello.thnx a lot for your recipes they are really awesome.please advice me on a menu that can be prepared for 80 people (mostly youths) thanks in advance.

    • Hi, sorry for the late reply. Try and make foods fun instead of the normal run of the mill kind. For instance, instead of having just plain beef, make it into meat balls. You can stretch a small amount to fit many people because you will add breadcrumbs and other vegetables like onions etc to them. You can even opt to make chicken in the form of a salad and then adding potatoes and vegetable in it. Tasty and cost cutting. Then include fresh vegetables and fruits. Standards in Kenya are rice and chapatis.

  4. I like how you have done this…good job

  5. Please open something like a whatsapp group where you can be posting recipes and we ask questions oftenly

    • Hi, thank you for the suggestion. In as much as I would love to do this I’m afraid that I wouldn’t be able to give it as much attention as I should because of my many commitments. I do have a Facebook page where I am active and respond frequently to comments and questions.


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