Kari Ayam (Peranakan/Chinese)

A simple but good chicken curry. My family always cooks this on Chinese New Year's Eve (is there any other kind of New Year? The English New Year is a non-issue), and then on New Year's day all the kids will get together, get on our knees to greet our parents, and once all the ang-pows are exchanged we'll sit down and enjoy a nice meal of chicken curry and freshly toasted french loafs. Mmmm..


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 (kunyit)

Curry leaves

1 tsp chilli powder

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 1/2" quill cinnamon (kayu manis)

6 cloves (bungah cingkeh)

6 cardomons (buah  pelaga)

1 large onion

120 ml thick coconut milk

1 1/2 cup water

1 tsp tamarind paste (assam)





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. 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, thinly slice onion and add to pan.

4. When onions are soft, add in ground coriander, cumin, fennel, turmeric powder, chilli powder and black pepper. Fry spices for about 3 minutes. Add cardomons, curry leaves, cloves and cinnamon.

5. Add in 100 ml coconut milk, 1 tbsp at a time. Each time fry coconut milk until oil separates.

6. Add in chicken pieces and fry for about 1 minute.

7. Add in remaining coconut milk and water. Simmer for 30 minutes.

8. Add in potato, continue to simmer until potatoes are soft.

9. Adjust salt and sugar seasoning, and add enough tamarind water  to give a slight tangy flavor.