08 September 2010

Curry Chicken (Kari Ayam)

I used to feel intimidated to cook curries only because I’ve seen how my mom used to make them. You need to slave over the stove cooking the rempah (chilli & spice paste) till it’s fragrant before adding in the chicken and coconut milk. Then you need to keep a close watch ,stirring the curry making sure it doesn’t burn at the bottom. And I honestly think a good curry is hard to master let alone a yummy great one! So it took me years before I have the courage to make some on my own, well and also when you miss your mom’s curry and the ones sold outside just doesn’t cut it.

So one day over the phone, I asked her for the recipe and typically it goes like this tumbuk(pound) all the ingredients, masak (cook) the rempah until wangi (fragrant) and then add in the chicken and curry powder, and santan (coconut milk) along with the potatoes. Cook until the potatoes are soft when pierced with a fork. She make it sounds so easy!But truthfully it actually is, once you have the hang out of it. I’m beginning to enjoy cooking curries these days, it’s very therapeutic; the smell the aroma of the spices wafting from the stove and filling up the kitchen. This recipe has been tweaked from another curry dish I have on my blog and to my readers in Melbourne who asked for the recipe, here you go!

(Serves 4-6)  
You Need
1.5 kg of chicken, cut into bite sized pieces 
3–4 potatoes, cut into medium size cubes 
3–4 tablespoons of oil 
2 cups of santan (thick coconut milk or you may substitute with full cream milk) 
1 litre of water 
Spices (A) – ground :
5 shallots
5 onions
4 candlenuts (you may substitute this with macadamia nuts)
3 tablespoons chilli paste (you may omit with 5 tablespoons of meat curry powder this if you can’t get chilli paste)
2½ tablespoons meat curry powder
Spices (B):
4cm piece cinnamon stick
3 star anise
8 cloves
1 stalk of curry leaves
12-15 cardamom pods
* for the spices you don’t have to get exactly the amount stated here, it’s merely an estimation
salt and sugar to season 

Chilli Paste
200 grams dried chillies, soaked in hot water for an hour
100gram red chillies seeded   

How To
1. Heat cooking oil in wok or heavy based pot.
2. Add in spices (B), stir fry constantly at low heat till fragrant
3. Add in Spices (A) and continue frying until the oil rises.
4. Add in the chicken along with the potatoes and mix well until meat is coated with spices.
5. Stir in thin coconut milk and let it simmer until the meat’s tender and potatoes are soft. It would take about an hour and remember to stir occasionally
6. Pour in thick coconut milk, bring to a boil.
7. Serve and enjoy!

Cooking Tutorials
Santan (Coconut Milk)   How To

Pounded/Blended onions
Candlenut should be added in when you sauté the rempah but like always I forgotten about it until I realized something is missing!       

To make chilli paste.
Blend the chillies until smooth, and this would make about a jar. The chilli paste can be used for dishes like Sambal Ikan Bilis, Kangkung Belacan or any dishes that calls for chilli paste. Now you don’t have to get those store brought ones, I never thought making my own chilli paste would be this easy!


  1. Wow...love the colour of your curry.....fabulous! I need rpti canai or rice...mmm. Thanks very much for sharing.

  2. Great recipe. I've been wanting to cook a curry with a punch and this is so timely.

    I'm wondering, what are we supposed to do with the chilli paste? Is it supposed to be stirred into the curry?

    Another question...what's the difference between thick and thin coconut milk?

  3. Alesia what a beautiful dish! I am an absolute fan of curry, I will have to maek this for my hubster one of these days :) He love spicy food, the hotter the better!

  4. Hi Amelia, thanks for dropping by my blog :)

    The chilli paste is stirred in along with the pounded shallots, onions, candlenuts, curry powder after you have saute the spices (star anise, cinnamon stick, cardamom).

    Back in the days where my mom used to prepare her curry, she would squeeze the coconut milk (santan) from freshly grated coconut flesh. The first squeeze is usually the thick coconut milk and subsequently, you add in some water to get the thin coconut milk.For soups, stews and curry you have to use the thin coconut milk as the cooking time is long (simmer) and if you use thick coconut milk, it would turn oily. Thick coconut milk is usually added towards the end before you turn off the stove to enhance the richness of the curries.
    These days you can easily get freshly squeezed coconut milk (from the wet markets) or canned and packets coconut milk. All you need to do is just add some water to it and you'll have a thin coconut milk.

    Hope my lengthy explanation didn't bore you :D

  5. Joy, you hubs loves curries as well? Same here mine can take really hot stuffs while I can't.:(


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