Malaysian chicken curry /kari ayam

Main Dish
6 servings
15 min
40 min
Very Easy


Number of serving: 6
Chicken Thigh and Breast : 1 1/2 libra / 2.5 kg (cut into small cubes/pieces)

Lemon grass : 2 stalks (Fresh, cut into 4-inch - lengths, use only the white part, pounded)

Kaffir lime leaves : 6-8 piecies

Coconut milk : 1 1/2 cup

Lime juice : 1 tablespoon

Salt to taste

Vegetable Oil : 2 tablespoons

For Malaysian Spice Paste /Rempah :

Whole Dried Red chilli or Guajillo/New Mexico chiles : 5 nos or about 1/2 lb wiped clean, stemmed, and seeded (Using Guajillo makes it milder and gives nice colour red color to the curry)

Whole Coriander seeds : 1 tablespoon

Whole Cumin seeds : 2 1/2 teaspoon

Whole Fennel seeds : 2 teaspoons

Cinnamon stick : 1/2 inch piece

Candlenuts or Whole macadamia nuts : 4-6 nuts

Shallots /Small Onion  : 5 (sliced)

Galangal : 1 1/2 inch piece

Ginger : 2 1/2 teaspoon minced ( (from about 1 inch knob)

Garlic : 4 cloves roughly chopped

Fresh turmeric : 1/2 inch or substitute with - turmeric powder : 1 tablespoon


  • Soak the chiles with cold water for 10-20 minutes or until softened. Drain and blot dry and set aside.
  • In dry medium skillet over moderate heat, dry roast coriander, cumin, and fennel seeds and cinnamon stick for 5 minutes or until fragrant.
  • Stir/ toss constantly to make sure the spices don't burn. Transfer to spice grinder or mortar and pestle and process to fine powder.
  • In mortar and pestle, food processor, or blender, combine spice powder, soaked chiles, macadamia nuts, shallots, ginger, galangal, garlic, turmeric, and 2 tablespoons of water and purée until mixture becomes smooth paste.
  • Cut off and discard top of each lemongrass stalk, leaving 6-inch stalk, then smash stalks with side of large heavy knife. Cut each stalk into 1-inch pieces.
  • In large saucepan over moderate heat, heat oil. Add spice paste /Rempah and sauté frequently until quite toased and oil starts to ooze from paste, it takes about 5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt and add to pan. Sauté chicken stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Add lemongrass and coconut milk and bring to boil.
  • Reduce heat to moderately low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until chicken is just cooked through 30-35 minutes.
  • Transfer chicken to serving bowl and sprinkle with roasted coconut. Serve hot with Roti Canai, Chapathi, Parotta or White Rice.


Malaysian Chicken Curry /Kari Ayam, photo 1
Malaysian Chicken Curry /Kari Ayam, photo 2


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