Malaysian Curry Chicken

4.76 stars

Curry chicken varies around the world. This easy curry chicken recipe consists of a splash of coconut milk making it creamy and delicious. Usually served with rice but is also delicious eaten with bread.

Preparation 20 mins
Cooking 60 mins


Kari Ayam

Malaysian, Singaporean

Nutrition per Serving

594 kcal
49 g
32 g
32 g

With the extra curry chicken from last night, I made curry chicken noodle! The curry goes so well with the noodle plus the fried tau kee and the condiments. The taste is really good!
Two recipes (and Roti Jala) from Nyonya Cooking combined to make a delicious meal on a wet and cold day!
Roti canai & curry chicken for lunch. Awesome 👍🏻Thanks for the recipe NC!
Curry chicken to accompany Nasi Briyani
Amazing recipe! Delicious with white rice. My family loves it 😃🙏🏻
Made some kari ayam for raya, and "repurposed" it for breakfast three days later. Does the job!
Curry chicken with curry fish ball
Apr 7th, 2020 : (MCO day 21) This time, I used pork instead cause I didn’t stock any chicken.
Oct 23rd, 2019 - yummy curry chicken. ;) I added pandan leaves to enhance the flavour.
Date: 15 Oct 2019 (Tue)
30th Main: Malaysian Curry Chicken/Kari Ayam [Score: 8.5]
Author: Nyonya Cooking [Grace Teo]
Cuisine: Malaysian, Singaporean
Dish Type: Side

1. As instructed I cooked the blended curry paste (over medium heat) until paste changed colour into deeper red and fragrant, but why didn’t it pecah minyak? On several occasion the curry paste got burnt during stirring. 
2. Regarding coconut milk, I was told (by a source) to dilute the can of coconut milk in the ratio of 1 coconut milk : 3 water. However, I diluted in the following ratio, 1 coconut milk : 2 water and ended adding 400ml (instead of 300ml for 4 serving) diluted coconut milk during the last stage of cooking the curry.

Grace or Mira please help me. What are your advices on the above matters? Thank you.
Grace’s recipe is easy to adapt and modified with more veggie and Tao ! 😊😋
The curry became a little too thick when I added more potatoes but it tastes great!

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.

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. 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.

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.


450 g
chicken meat
3 1⁄2 tbsp
curry powder
1 tbsp
light soy sauce
chilli peppers (dried)
garlic clove(s)
2 cm
3 tbsp
300 ml
lemongrass stalk(s)
yellow onion(s)
curry leaves stalk(s)
300 ml
coconut milk

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

8 Discussions

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9 months 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

9 months ago


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

7 months ago


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. :)

7 months ago


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.

7 months 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?

7 months ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

Could it be the curry powder?

7 months 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.

6 months 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.

7 months ago

Mandy Cheah

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

7 months 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.

6 months 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

4 months ago


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

4 months ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

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

4 months ago


Thank you!

3 months ago


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

3 months ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

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

2 months ago

Terence Ho

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

2 months ago


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.

2 months 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: Looking forward to the food snap!

a month ago


"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!

a month 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 ;)

a month ago


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