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


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

Nutrition per Serving

594 kcal
49 g
32 g
32 g

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 is an absolutely stunning recipe.  I managed to follow it and came out marvelously delicious.  Now I am proud to say I can make Malaysian Curry Chicken.  Thank you!!
Made this for CNY dinner last year and I combined your recipe with my aunty's recipe. Happy to report my guests loved it! :D
I added tau pok and beamcurd skin upon my hubby's request.. He loves it!!
Like this recipe very much. Simple and yummy.
Finally!!! Curry chicken for tonight’s dinner. Bread and rice are ready.  Yum yum.
Smell so nice.
Thank you Grace. Even my ‘Ang Mo Pai’ kids love it.
Yummy curry enjoyed by my family. Thumbs up.

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. If you can't find any, you may also opt for yellow 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.

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. Do note that it will not spoil the taste although it would be slightly different.

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 4 hours on high heat or 6 hours on low heat for tender curry chicken.

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

5 Discussions

Give us your opinion! Log in and start posting.
6 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

6 months ago

Grace Teo

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

4 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. :)

4 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.

3 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?

3 months ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

Could it be the curry powder?

3 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.

3 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.

3 months ago

Mandy Cheah

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

3 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.

3 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

22 days ago


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

21 days ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

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

20 days ago


Thank you!