Culture Food

Why Tanzania’s Sekela Chicken Should Be A National Food

Sekela chicken in dar es salaam tanzania
Avatar of Teresa Mwangi
Written by Teresa Mwangi

Food is one of the cultural identifiers across the world and sekela chicken Dar es Salaam is turning into a national dish in Tanzania.

So loved is this chicken menu that the streets of the beautiful Dar es Salaam have in abundance. Chicken is loved in Tanzania due to its cultural significance, versatility, and affordability. It holds a special place in Tanzanian cuisine and is commonly featured in traditional dishes and celebrations. The ease of rearing chicken and the economic opportunities it provides also contribute to its popularity. All these factors coupled together gave rise to sekela chicken which people love immeasurably.

What Is Chicken Sekela?

Sekela chicken Dar es Salaam is a special delicacy due to its unique preparation. In Tanzania, “Sekela” means roasted in Gujarati, and Sekela Chicken is a must-try dish. This crispy, juicy chicken, similar to South Asian tandoori chicken, is roasted with spices and served on a skewer. Historically, Stone Town is East Africa’s hub for spices with huge tracts of land always in full throttle on spice farming.

Thus, the availability of different spices adds to the beauty of sekela whose sumptuousness has to do with the flavors used.  While the chicken is often a main dinner dish, it becomes irresistible when paired with spicy, sweet, and sour chutneys. You can roast it over a charcoal grill or in the oven depending on your preference.

You can enhance the experience by having it with chips, Ajam (naan), or salad. Sekela chicken is readily available at roadside pit stops and sit-down restaurants outside Dar es Salaam.

Most Tanzanian homesteads delight in this dish often paired with Swahili pilau, another favourite dish that Tanzania is known for.

Sekela Chicken Dar es Saalam Recipe

Here are the ingredients you need to prepare sekela chicken

  • A whole chicken
  • Lemon juice
  • Plain yogurt
  • Tamarind paste
  • Ginger powder
  • Turmeric powder
  • Coriander powder
  • Cumin powder
  • Chili powder
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Cooking oil

How to Cook Seleka Chicken Dar es Salaam

Follows these steps:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, lemon juice, yogurt, tamarind paste, garlic powder, ginger powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, chili powder, salt, and black pepper.
  2. Mix well to coat the chicken evenly.
  3. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
  4. Heat the oil in a large skillet or oven over medium heat.
  5. Add the chicken pieces to the skillet and cook until browned on all sides.
  6. Reduce the heat to low and cover the skillet.
  7. Simmer the chicken for 20-30 minutes, or until cooked through.
  8. Serve the chicken hot with your favorite sides.

Additionally, do the following to ensure you get the right results.

  • Marinate it overnight
  • Grill or bake the chicken instead of frying it
  • Garnish the chicken with chopped fresh cilantro and red onions.

Serve the chicken with rice, potatoes, or vegetables.

What Are The 3 Types Of Chicken Meat?

Sekela chicken Dar es Salaam has an interesting composition when broken down into three types of chicken meat unknown to many. They include the following

White Meat

This comes from the breast and wings of the chicken. It is leaner and has a milder flavor than dark meat.

Dark Meat

Dark meat is comes from the thighs and legs of the chicken. It is richer in flavor and fat than white meat.

Ground Chicken

It is a product mixture of white and dark meat. Ground chicken is a versatile ingredient that used in a variety of dishes, such as meatballs, tacos, and lasagna.


Ideally, each type of chicken meat has its unique flavor and texture. White meat is typically drier and tougher than dark meat, while dark meat is more juicy and tender. Ground chicken is somewhere in between in terms of flavor and texture.

The best type of chicken meat to use for a particular dish depends on the desired flavor and texture. For example, white meat is often used in dishes where a milder flavor is desired, such as salads and sandwiches. Dark meat is used in dishes where a richer flavor is desired, such as stews and curries. Ground chicken can be used in a variety of dishes, such as meatballs, tacos, and lasagna.


  1. What is sekela chicken?

Sekela chicken is a spicy grilled or oven-baked chicken dish that is popular in Tanzania.

  1. What is the difference between sekela chicken and other grilled chicken dishes?

Sekela chicken has a smoky-spicy flavor since it is cooked on an open fire after marinating with different spices.

  1. What are the health benefits of sekela chicken?

It is a great protein source and rich in nutrients such as zinc, and iron as well as Vitamins A and C.

  1. Is sekela chicken popular in Tanzania?

It is very popular and many people say that it is a national dish in Tanzania.

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About the author

Avatar of Teresa Mwangi

Teresa Mwangi

Teresa is a journalist with years of experience in creating web content. She is a wanderlust at heart, loves travelling and telling stories about tour and travel in Africa by every angle.

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