Guest Post: Malaysian Chicken Curry (Kari Ayam)
Not too long ago, I was invited by Ann from PigPig’s Corner as a guest on her blog, sharing an authentic Malaysian recipe Tamarind Prawns (Asam Prawns). Today, Ann is with us on my blog, sharing one of my favourite dishes – Malaysian Chicken Curry (Kari Ayam). Let’s not waste too much time as I have started to drool by looking at the pictures! Please welcome Ann from PigPig’s Corner.
Leemei appeared as a guest blogger on my blog and shared a delicious Malaysian-nyonya recipe – assam prawns – not too long ago, now it’s my turn to share another Malaysian dish here. When Leemei suggested that I cook chicken curry, I was really tempted to ask her if I could use instant paste.
Chicken curry with potatoes is the most common curry dish found in Malaysia. Because of its popularity, instant chicken curry spice paste and Malaysian meat curry powder – the most popular brand is Baba’s – can be widely found. They are extremely convenient and really tasty. My point being, I have NEVER cooked chicken curry from scratch. Anyway, I was too embarrassed to even mention the word instant and so I decided to brave it.
After doing some researching online, I found that there are so many variations of Malaysian chicken curry; quite a few involves meat curry powder, some with belacan (shrimp paste), and others with tamarind paste or even yoghurt. What I can conclude is that any curry made with lots of dry and fresh spices and contains chicken, potatoes, a healthy amount of coconut milk and lots of gravy can be called Malaysian chicken curry.
The most commonly found dried spices in Malay curries are cinnamon (kulit kayu manis), star anise (bunga lawang), clove (bunga cengkih) and cardamom (buah pelaga) and. These four spices are always found in Malay food and are known as “rempah empat beradik” meaning the four siblings. As for wet or fresh spices, always the holy trinity of aromatics, onion, ginger and garlic, as well as shallots, and red chillies.
Here is an extremely versatile spice paste that I use for my chicken curry. You can use this as a base for any other types of curries i.e. add some tomatoes and you get ayam masak merah (Malay-style red cooked chicken) or even simple stir-fries.
For curry chicken, try not to use starchy potatoes i.e. baking potatoes as it makes the gravy really starchy and the potatoes mushy. You can find out more about the different types of potatoes here http://eattheseasons.co.uk/Archive/potatoes_maincrop.htm. I like to sweeten curries with sweetened condensed milk (that’s my grandmother’s secret recipe), it adds extra depth to the gravy and makes it extra creamy. Serve with rice or roti!
For the Guest Post: Malaysian Chicken Curry (Kari Ayam):
Spice paste: makes 3 cups, you can store this in the fridge for up to a week.
400g (about 16) shallots, peeled
20 dried chillies
100 g (about eight) fresh red chillies
1 bulb garlic, peeled
40g belacan (shrimp paste)
4 lemongrass, coarsely chopped
1 cinnamon stick
3 star anise
5 green cardamoms
6 curry leaves (fresh or dried)
1.5-2kg chicken, chopped
4 tbsp oil
1 ½ cups spice paste
2 ½ cups water
550g potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
400 ml coconut milk
a pinch of salt
sweetened condensed milk or sugar
reserved dried chilli seeds
1. To make the spice paste, remove the seeds from the dried chillies and reserve the seeds for future use (to adjust the spiciness). Soak dried chillies in warm water for about 15 mins to soften the chillies. Coarsely chop all the ingredients and pound the spices with a pestle and mortar or blend until a paste is formed.
2. Heat up of oil in a wok or a pot. Add cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves, green cardamoms and curry leaves, fry on low heat until fragrant.
3. Mix in spice paste and fry on low heat until fragrant. Continue until red chili oil floats on the surface. Stir occasionally.
4. Add chicken, stir fry until the chicken is coated with spices and lightly cooked on the surface.
5. Pour in water. Bring to boil then lower heat to simmer for about 10 mins uncovered.
6. Add potatoes, cover and let it simmer on low heat for another 30 mins.
7. Stir in coconut milk, cover and let it simmer on low heat for a further 30 mins.
8. Add salt and sugar to taste. If it’s not spicy enough, add some reserved chilli seeds.
Wow, this chicken must taste delicious with all the spices in it…love the vibrant color of this dish and please I would love to have with a bowl of white rice 🙂
This dish is truly one of my comfort foods. I've never made it from scratch either as I have an entire stash of A1 curry paste in my kitchen! 😛 This looks great though, will bookmark it for a non-lazy day!
Look at that blender tall of aromatics and spice! Oh mighty! Delicious chicken curry 🙂
Nyum…nyum… roti canai satu 🙂
That looks delicious, and a good tip about the potatoes. I find when I make Massaman beef curry the potatoes turn out too mushy, so I will try less starchy ones next time.
great looking curry! I would dip a handful of noodles in that and slurp! o soo good!
I think I need to whip up a batch of that spice paste – it sounds so fragrant!
still drooling! wow that is one large amount of curry paste you've got there! yummy curry chicken ann! Great job!
This has me drooling over this wonderful curry. Definitely full of flavor!
Hi Leemei, my first time here. This chicken curry looks fantastic. It is making me very hungry. Gotta make some real soon 🙂
A great guest post involving 2 of my favorite bloggers. Bravo!
I think I need to whip up a batch of that spice paste – it sounds so fragrant!
Serve the chicken curry with bread, roti canai or rice, viola!
I bet that the curry is full of fresh, pungent flavors. Just wonder what's that topping the red chilies in the blender. Looks like a kind of nuts : )?
Candlenuts! I missed that out, thanks for pointing out 😉
Thanks for all your kind comments! And thanks again Leemei for inviting me!
Ann, I salute you! I've not cooked my curries from scratch either. Been relying on curry powder, be it for meat, fish or veggies. You've really taken our Malaysian curry to the next level! Keep it up! Thanks for sweetened condensed milk tip! Proud of you leh … HAHAHA!
Gotta bookmark this, I have been looking for a malayian curry recipe but a lot called for curry powder and i do not know which one. thanks both/
One of my favourite ever curries (the only thing my father has ever taught me to cook!) We also have boiled eggs with it. Not sure if that's traditional or just my dad!
One of my favourite ever curries (the only thing my father has ever taught me to cook!) We also have boiled eggs with it. Not sure if that’s traditional or just my dad!
I also like boiled eggs in it!! My mom does that too.. and I absolutely love it!
Chicken curry is my family's all time favourite ! Yours sound so delicious.
mari mari ,kita semua makan sekali!! ada kari ayam mesti ada nasi lemak oooiii!! maybe some throw some roti huh? now my brain keep thinking about kari ayam celup dgn roti!! hahaha!! *wipe my saliva now*
Yes, I have NEVER made chicken curry from scratch, too. There is really no need to with so many instant powder and spice paste available. Heh. 😉
Great post, gals.
I love love love this dish! the home-made curry paste looks incredible. love this guest post, Ann 🙂
Hi, Thanks for dropping by! Great to know another Malaysian!
You can use any kind of floury potatoes. 🙂
Great curry. First curry that actually turned out…my other ones was a disaster.
My husband loved it. Would putting galangal and turmeric to this recipe work?
You can put turmeric if you want to. As for galangal, since ginger is already used in this recipe, you don’t necessary have to. However, you can try to tweak as I don’t see any harm by adding both ingredients. They would give even more flavours to the spice paste. 😉
I tried it with turmeric and it didn’t taste as nice as the original ingredients. My MIL is Malaysian and love the aroma and taste. Definitely, I keeper. Thanks so much for a great recipe!
Thanks for dropping by!
THANKS for great-looking recipe. Will make for party of 35 guests – wish me luck – but w/o belachan as most of guests are gweilo in Hongkong. So grateful there are amazingly generous cooks like you who inspire the rest of us. Thanks again and keep trucking!
a Malaysian expat
Good luck in making the curry! Hope to see you around on my blog. 😉