Tuesday, November 8, 2011

My Grandfather's Favourite Chicken Curry - "Malaysian Monday 59"

Ladies in our household are all chili lovers but strangely men tend to shy away from overly spicy food and my late (paternal) grandfather was no exception. While happy with his chili free diet he would often asked for his favourite chicken curry which he referred to simply as the "Chinese curry".

This is a mild but extremely aromatic curry suitable for the whole family. At a glance it looks very similar to the Malaysian chicken curry I posted a while back; but it contains neither dry spices or curry powder and with the absence of those strong flavoured ingredients, all the fresh spices  are able to shine through. 

Although my grandfather is no longer with us, a bowl of his "Chinese curry" together with all his other favourite food would grace his altar on each significant day according to the Lunar calender. 

P.S freshly extracted coconut milk of course is the best but good quality canned version such as Ayam brand from Malaysia is a godsend for a lazy cook like me.

recipe from the tummies' kitchen
serves 4 to 6 as part of a Malaysian meal
you'll need;
1 free range chicken or 1.5 kg of chicken thighs, cut into manageable pieces
3 large potatoes, peeled, cut into chunks and soaked in water until needed
1 can (400 ml) of Ayam brand coconut milk
1.5 cups of stock
1 pandan leaf, knotted or 3 kaffir lime leaves, torn
salt and sugar to taste
oil for cooking

for the curry paste;
5 shallots, peeled and halved
2 single bulb or 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 thumb size piece of turmeric, peeled and chopped
3 cm piece of galangal, peeled and chopped
1 lemongrass (white part only), chopped
3 to 5 large red chillies
10 to 20 dried chillies (according to your taste) soaked in hot water for 20 minutes and drained

Blend or pound fresh spices in batches until smooth.

Prepare the chicken and potatoes.

Fry curry paste with 4 tbs of cooking oil, stirring constantly until oil separates.

Add chicken to the pot and cook for 2 minutes. Stir and mix to coat chicken pieces as you go.

Pour in half of the coconut milk and stock and mix well. Add pandan leaf, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Season well.

Add potatoes and continue to cook until the potatoes are tender. Add in the rest of the coconut milk and heat through. Check for seasonings.

Serve with plenty of steamed rice and a simple stir fried greens. A simple stir fried bee hoon (rice vermicelli) or some white bread would go well with this delicious curry too.

My friend Sharon from Test With Skewer is hosting the November event. Please send all your entries to its.sharon@gmail.com. To find out more about the event and how to enter, please click HERE. Also do check out last month's MMM roundup if you have missed it.


  1. I can tell it is very delicious with all the fragrant spices you used. Even a non chili eater needs a favourite curry dish too :)

  2. That looks fantastic! I'm missing home just looking at that. I can see why it was your grandfather's favourite.

  3. I just used ur lontong recipe again last Sunday for my friends. They love it so much. My son said, my mum cook the best lontong in the world. I told him this is fr your nanny's recipe. And now u share ur grandpa's favorite curry. I must try this out one day. (fr jane's corner)

  4. oh thats very interesting, a curry without curry paste and it definitely looks like the usual malaysian chicken curry.

  5. Wow, this is a must try recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Your curry sauce looks wonderful-perfect for chicken curry. teh flavors are just popping out through the screen.


  7. Harriet From CarltonNovember 9, 2011 at 2:35 PM

    I am not a big fan of curry that is too heavily spiced and I really like the fact that one is able to enjoy all the fresh aromatics.

  8. This reminds me of something similar we cook at home but your version has a lot more aromatics in it, lovely!

  9. You probably cook him this recipe every time you have your get-together. I can tell that it tastes good just by looking at the photos.. Thanks for sharing the recipe, btw. I'll try to cook it with the help of my husband. I hope we get it right.

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