Malaysian Curry Chicken

Curry chicken varies around the world. This easy and authentic curry with potatoes is commonly found in Malaysia. With a splash of coconut milk and fresh spices, the curry is creamy and super delicious. Usually served with rice but is also delicious eaten with bread.

5 stars

Preparation 20 mins
Cooking 60 mins

Side

Kari Ayam

Malaysian, Singaporean

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Nutrition per Serving

594 kcal
49 g
32 g
32 g


This easy curry chicken dish is the standard curry chicken. No fuss, just yummy and creamy curry. Rich in coconut milk and spices, this dish is a must-try. As the chicken pieces are marinated in curry paste before cooking, the taste of the meat is enhanced.

Malaysian curry is made of fresh and dried spices. Along with a special curry powder that is premixed, this curry delivers the punch of flavours in the meat and also the gravy. It’s creamy and balanced in aromatics, making one crave for more at every bite.

How is Malaysian Curry different?

Malaysian curry is very special because it has the combines all three cuisine - Malay, Indian and Chinese. It’s not as thick as the common Indian curries. It uses aromatics that are usually used in Malay cooking. As for the Chinese component, you’ll see the use of ingredients like soy sauce.

Combining these cuisines in a pot, you’ll be guaranteed a wonderful curry experience.

Can onions be used instead of shallots?

Yes, they can. Shallots are generally more intense in taste and are also spicier compared to onions. The best substitute would be red onions.

What type of curry powder to use?

In Malaysia and Singapore, you may find curry powders specifically for meat, fish or seafood. The popular brands like Babas, Adabi or those made in Malaysia are the ones to go to.

For this recipe, meat curry powder is used. You may substitute it with any curry powder mixture which contains more chilli powder. Sometimes, dried curry leaves are also added to the curry powder mixture.

Malaysian curry chicken paste

Besides curry powder, you can also opt for Malaysian curry paste which are sold in bottles.

For authentic flavours, avoid substituting with Thai red curry paste as it includes ingredients like shrimp paste. Malaysian meat curry powder has additional ingredients like cumin and fennel seeds.

Adding more aromatics

With aromatics such as cinnamon stick and star anise, they will make the curry even more fragrant. You can add them into this recipe or give this tasty Malay Curry Chicken recipe a try. The other recipe goes really well with roti jala, roti canai or roti prata.

Easy Malay Curry Chicken
Easy Malay Curry Chicken

Can candlenuts be omitted?

Candlenuts are added to thicken the curry. You may omit them from this recipe, if you prefer. Otherwise, substitute candlenuts with macadamia nuts.

Milk or yogurt to substitute coconut milk

In the Southeast Asian region, milk and yogurt aren't a common choice to be added into curries. Instead, coconut milk is often used since it is easily available. If you do not prefer coconut milk, you may opt to substitute it with 300 ml milk or 250 ml yogurt. Note that it will not spoil the taste although it would be slightly different.

Reduce the spiciness

Generally, the curry isn't too spicy. The spiciness of the curry is highly dependent on the selection of curry powder and the dried chillies. You can also reduce the heat of the dried chillies by boiling them as explained here.

If the final result of the dish is still too spicy for you, add more coconut milk to reduce the heat.

Cooking curry chicken in slow cooker

Cooking curry chicken in a slow cooker is possible. Simply prepare the ingredients and put them into a slow cooker. Cook the dish for 3 hours on high heat or 5 hours on low heat for tender curry chicken.


Ingredients

Servings:  
450 g
chicken meat
3 1⁄2 tbsp
curry powder
1 tbsp
light soy sauce
5
chilli peppers (dried)
3
candlenut(s)
3
garlic clove(s)
3
shallot(s)
2 cm
ginger
3 tbsp
oil
300 ml
water
2
potatoes
1
lemongrass stalk(s)
1
yellow onion(s)
5
curry leaves stalk(s)
300 ml
coconut milk
salt
sugar

Steps to Prepare

Malaysian Curry Chicken Step 1

Step 1 of 7

Marinate chicken meat with curry powder and soy sauce for 15 minutes.

Malaysian Curry Chicken Step 2

Step 2 of 7

Soak dried chillies until soft and remove the membranes to reduce the spiciness. Blend candlenuts, garlic, shallots, ginger and dried chillies with curry powder.

Malaysian Curry Chicken Step 3

Step 3 of 7

    • 3 tbsp oil

Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Add blended chilli paste and cook until fragrant.

Malaysian Curry Chicken Step 4

Step 4 of 7

    • 300 ml water

Add chicken meat and mix well. Cook until the dish is slightly dry. Add water and cook over high heat.

Malaysian Curry Chicken Step 5

Step 5 of 7

Add potatoes, onions, lemongrass and curry leaves. Once it boils, lower the heat and allow to simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.

Malaysian Curry Chicken Step 6

Step 6 of 7

    • 300 ml coconut milk
    • salt
    • sugar

Add coconut milk and cook at high heat again. Once it boils, lower the heat. Add salt and sugar to taste.

Malaysian Curry Chicken Step 7

Step 7 of 7

Serve with bread or rice.

Published: April 25, 2014


12 Discussions

Jean Wong
6 months ago

Jean Wong

Location: Western Australia. I used A1 meat curry powder and followed recipe exactly. This recipe is so good it must be shared. This dish will get demolished because it's so tasty. If you're cooking for 4 people, I would recommend adjusting recipe to feed 8!

Helena Cheah
8 months ago

Helena Cheah

Sedap~

Dennapa
a year ago

Dennapa

I followed your recipe today and it turns out a bomb. I miss my Malaysian curry. Thank you for sharing Grace 😘

Mira - Community Happiness Manager
a year ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

I am happy to hear about your success with the recipe. Why not try out the the Malay Curry Chicken recipe too?

Maya Scott
a year ago

Maya Scott

Do you have a recipe for curry powder from scratch? I should have looked at the ingredients on our pack before I threw it, but with COVID we were not able to go back to Singapore as planned to get more! :( :(

Melanie P
a year ago

Melanie P

1 2-inch cinnamon stick, broken up 1 tbsp each, whole spices: green cardamom, cloves, fennel, coriander, cumin, dried mace 1 tsp each, whole spices: fenugreek, brown mustard seeds, black pepper, ground ginger or dried ground galangal 6 dried red chilies 2 star anise 1 nutmeg, broken up 2 tbsp turmeric Warm large frying pan over medium heat. Add all the spices except the ground ginger (or galangal) and turmeric. Toast whole spices until they darken slightly and smell aromatic, about 5 min. Cool spices, grind finely in a spice or coffee grinder reserved for this pupose. Transfer to a bowl and add turmeric and ground ginger (or galangal). Mix well, then store in an airtight jar in a cool, dry place.

Paul
a year ago

Paul

This looks like a great recipe, I’m going to pair it with the Nasi Lamak recipe also on this site. I’m having the same problem as others. I can’t seem to find anything in any store I’ve been to that sells curry powder that’s made specifically for meat. In fact, I had a lot of trouble finding any curry powder that even listed chili In the ingredients. I finally found one, that’s a very deep orange-ish red color and it does list both turmeric and chili in the ingredients. It’s called Caribbean Paradise, original style, Jamaican curry. It’s definitely the right color to be “chili dominant“ but I’m honestly not sure. To be frank, I’m done looking for curry LOL. If this brand/product isn’t good enough, can I simply add some chili powder, which I do have on hand? Also, I’m having a hell of a time finding certain of the ingredients you recommend. What can I substitute for Curry leaves stalks? I’m going to substitute macadamia for Candlenuts.

Mira - Community Happiness Manager
a year ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

Haha! The hunt for curry powder isn't easy. The thing is, every curry powder brand is different but from your explanation, I think that Jamaican curry powder you mentioned will work. Add more chilli powder if you prefer it spicier. To substitute curry leaves, check the listed ingredients here: https://www.nyonyacooking.com/ingredients/curry-leaf-stalks~HyU4IDswzqZ7 Looking forward to the food snap!

Paul
a year ago

Paul

"Add more chilli powder if you prefer it spicier." I do and I will! I am so glad you said this, Mira! I am looking at the Jamaican Curry that I ended up purchasing from a supermarket of all places, and I went through about 50 different curries before choosing that one. It occurred to me intuitively, that since you recommend "chili heavy" meat curry over the more "Tumeric heavy" standard curry, that even if I had chosen one that was not optimal, that I could simply add chili powder. But, ya know, its almost never that simple, right? I am very glad you confirmed what my suspicions told me, that I can sort of turn Jamaican Curry Powder, which already has chili powder, into what you are recommending by adding a teaspoon or so more of chili powder when I make this. Oh and I live in Brooklyn (not sure if you know the area) and there are a load of Asian supermarkets and Asian grocery stores here. Instead of driving, with parking so hard, I like to ride my bicycle, where I can simply go from store to store in Sunset Park or even near Sheepshead Bay to find some of the more exotic ingredients you recommend. I really need to find Candlenuts and curry leaves stalks. To be honest, when I read the "substitutions" for that, none of them seemed "complete" or appealing! lol I went into one store and managed to find Tamarind paste (for another recipe I want to pair this wit...yay!) and I think I found what may be galangal, because it looked a lot like fresh ginger, also for another recipe. But this was an all Asian store, and they didn't seem to like me very much, nor were they willing to try and answer questions in English. Still on the hunt for Pandan leaves kaffir lime leaves. Anyway thanks again! I will be in touch as I get closer to making this! I want to pair this Malaysian Curry Chicken with Nasi Lemak and coconut rice. And I want it as authentic as possible, which is why I need to wait until I am ready to make everything in a few weeks. I may actually take a ride into Chinatown, as they may be a lot more able to sell me all these exotic ingredients. But lol the catch-22 is I have to wait until I am ready to make the dishes, as some these are fresh ingredients. Thank you again and have a wonderful day!

Mira - Community Happiness Manager
a year ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

All the best. Looking forward to your final review. Just be careful and not make the curry too spicy. Bring a photo of the items you plan to buy. Helps the shop keeper to understand you better ;)

Paul
a year ago

Paul

Never thought of bringing a photo for items, thanks! :)

Terence Ho
a year ago

Terence Ho

Thanks for sharing! Love this recipe! Can I use substitute chicken with lamb or beef?

Pravin
a year ago

Pravin

Hi Grace, what make of blender are you using in this video. Looks powerful and does a great job. Thanks

Mira - Community Happiness Manager
a year ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

Hello Pravin. It's an old recipe, we don't have the brand of the tools Grace used. Sorry!

Woklifebalance
2 years ago

Woklifebalance

Hi Grace, may I know estimated amount of salt and sugar to add?

Mira - Community Happiness Manager
2 years ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

Hello! Start with half a tablespoon of salt and one teaspoon sugar. Taste and adjust according to your preference.

Woklifebalance
2 years ago

Woklifebalance

Thank you!

Morris Walton
2 years ago

Morris Walton

I find Ayam malaysian curry powder the best flavor, if you want more red but only slightly hotter buy Korean chilli powder its very mild so you can add quiet a bit, I also used coconut cream [275 ml can] plus wash out can with 150 ml water instead of the 300 ml as listed, gives much richer curry

Mandy Cheah
2 years ago

Mandy Cheah

Hi Grace, can i substitute the curry powder with Aachi Curry Masala powder?

Mira - Community Happiness Manager
2 years ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

Aachi has many types of curry powders. Check the ingredients to see if they have chilli powder listed. The curry powder should have a red shade.

Mona Sidd
2 years ago

Mona Sidd

I can’t see to get the red texture. I’m following the recipe, could I be using incorrect type of an ingredient?

Mira - Community Happiness Manager
2 years ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

Could it be the curry powder?

Mona Sidd
2 years ago

Mona Sidd

Thank you for your response. I wouldn’t have a clue, is it? I’m using Keens curry powder. Here is the link. https://www.mccormick.com.au/keens/products/curry/keens-traditional-curry-powder

Mira - Community Happiness Manager
2 years ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

That is a turmeric based curry powder. You can see it from the list of ingredients. Choose a curry powder mixture which contains more chilli powder as suggested in the guide above.

Peter Hale
2 years ago

Peter Hale

I live in the UK. Can anyone recommend a good Brand of Curry Powder to use on making Malaysian Chicken Curry? Thanks

Grace
2 years ago

Grace

I'm not sure with the selection of curry powder available in the UK. Opt for meat curry powder made in Malaysia, if any.

Ella
2 years ago

Ella

Hello, I am sorry to interrupt - but I can answer Peter's question. Re:curry powder, you can get Adabi curry powder for meat in some oriental supermarkets. :)

Ella
2 years ago

Ella

Also to add - please don't get any of the 'curry powder' from the local supermarkets like Asda or Tesco, they are not the same.

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