Kari Ayam (Malay)

This is the Malay version of the classic chicken curry. The main difference is in the spicing. While the earlier Peranakan-style curry used standard ingredients like cloves and cardomons, this version uses a spice mix.


1 chicken, cut into pieces.

4 potatoes, cut into cubes.

1 tsp ground coriander (ketumbar)

1 tsp ground cumin (jintan putih)

1 tsp ground fennel (jintan manis)

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp chilli powder

1/2 tsp black pepper

2 stalks lemon grass

120 ml thick coconut milk

1 1/2 cup water

1 tsp tamarind paste (assam)




Spice Mix

1 medium onion

2 cloves garlic

4 shallots

6 fresh red chillies

4 dried chillies

1/2" knob ginger

3 candle-nuts (buah keras)


1. Season chicken pieces with salt, pepper and sugar. Set aside for 1/2 hour. Dissolve tamarind paste in a little hot water, then discard pulp and seeds.

2. Grind spice mix into a fine paste. Cut off green portion of lemon grass stalks, and bruise stalks.

2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan over high heat till hot. Add chicken to pan and quickly seal and brown all exposed surfaces.

3. Remove chicken from pan. Lower heat.

4. Add spice mix and saute for 5 minutes until fragrant and oil separates.

5. Add in coriander, cumin, fennel, tumeric, chilli powder, black pepper and fry for a further 3 minutes. Put in bruised lemon grass stalks.

6. Add in 100 ml coconut milk, 1 tbsp at a time. After each tbsp, fry coconut milk for about a minute till oil separates.

7. Add in chicken, frying chicken in the spices for 3 minutes.

8. Add in remaining coconut milk and water. Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

9. Add in potatoes, simmer till soft.

10. Adjust salt, sugar to taste. Add tamarind water to desired level of tartness.