Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Malaysian Chicken Curry

Malaysian Chicken Curry

Curry used to be synonymous with daily life when I was growing up. Almost anything could be turned into a curry. From canned pilchards to bananas and from jackfruit to baked beans. If it had an oil base, involved the use of Indian spices and was aromatic, the suffix "curry" was added to it! It's needless to say that the fragrant smell of curry would often waft through our house. Guests would often arrive being greeted by these aromas, a great way to whet your appetite.

Malaysian Chicken Curry

This particular curry was inspired by a recent trip to my local Malaysian restaurant, "The Drunken Geisha" in Pyrmont, Sydney. (Yes, it's Malaysian not Japanese). Their chicken curry which was served with fresh roti canai was arguably the best I've ever eaten. There was a huge blend of spices evident in the curry. Aniseed, cinnamon and coconut were very apparent. I researched recipes online for Kari Ayam and found that there were various kinds of Malaysian chicken curry. My version uses the basic essential ingredients, lemongrass, a lot less oil and some coconut milk.

Malaysian Chicken Curry

The result was a spicy and delicous curry. I would have loved to have eaten it with fresh roti canai but have opted for rice here instead as the easier option.

Malaysian Chicken Curry

Malaysian Chicken Curry

I have used numerous spices in this recipe, probably the most essential are cinnamon, aniseed and curry leaves. Try to use fresh curry leaves if you can, it does make a huge difference to using the dried version.

Malaysian Chicken Curry


You will need:

1 Whole chicken, disjointed and cut into pieces
Cooking oil
1 sprig Curry Leaves (use only the leaves)
1 Star anise
3 cloves
2 cardamon pods
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 teaspoon crushed ginger
1 large onion, chopped.
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon cumin
1 lemongrass (white part only)
Salt to season
2 Potatoes (peeled and cut into 8 pieces each)
200ml Thick coconut milk or add to your taste

Heat the oil in a large pot. Fry the cinnamon sticks, cardamon pods, cloves and star anise for a few minutes till fragrant. Add the chopped onion and fry at medium heat for a few minutes till golden. Add the turmeric powder, ground coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cumin, curry leaves and fry till fragrant. Add the garlic and ginger, then the chicken pieces and coat with the spices. Add the lemongrass and potatoes, some water to form a gravy and the coconut milk. Season with salt. Cover and cook on medium low heat for about 45 minutes till done.
Enjoy with roti or rice.


  1. Great recipe, love all your spices! I have to make something with curry very soon, thanks for sharing. Also, love your photos!

  2. Thanks for the compliments. This curry really does need all those spices for that aromatic flavour.

  3. These photos are really beautiful and I think the capture each element of your dish really well! And the curry sounds just mouthwatering... I have to admit I had never even seen a fresh curry plant until a few months ago and I amazed by the smell of the leaves! I think it is great that you used them here, thanks for sharing. :)

  4. Thanks Cilantropist for your kind comment. We used to have a large curry leaf plant in our family garden. We used to pluck off a fresh stem when cooking... you can't imagine the freshness!

  5. I am going to make some curry this weekend too!
    Love your presentation..simple but very chic.

  6. just found your blog & i'm going to guess that you live in pyrmont. I do too.

    loving your blog, seriously. yummy!

    I'd love to know so restaurants around here to try, i'm a bit overwhelmed

  7. Laura, yes, you're right, I do live in Pyrmont. It's so convenient here...close to the city, Darling Harbour, the fish market and the main roads! We're slowly working our way through the restaurants in Pyrmont, our favourites being Cafe XXii, The Drunken Geisha, Bangkok station and Made in Italy... thus far! I'm glad you're enjoying my blog! There's a lot more to come!