Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Malay Chicken Curry

This is one of the best chicken curry recipes I have ever tried. It's rich and creamy without being too cloying. The flavours are quite deep - star anise, cardamom and cassia are the predominant flavours with the lemon grass and curry leaves giving a wonderful fragrance (how pretentious was that?) - and by the way, the curry leaves really do make a huge difference. We like to eat this with some rice and a mango salsa - it goes really well with the salsa - the freshness and sweetness of the mango, the heat of the fresh chill and the fragrant coriander are a perfect match. Well, I'm in danger of turning into Brian Sewell and disappearing up my own doo dah so I will now wind my neck in.

Malay Chicken Curry
Ground Spices:
Coriander: 2 Rounded Tbls*
Cumin: 1½ Rounded Tbls
Turmeric: 1 level Tbls
Chilli Powder (depending on Strength) 1 Tsp
Whole spices
6 Curry leaves
1 Star anise
6 Cardamom pods
A lump of Cassia bark
6 Large chicken thighs
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
Small lump of fresh ginger
Medium red chilli (seeds in or out – your choice)
Rounded tsp of lemon grass from a jar
1 Can of coconut milk
Salt, oil & butter
* A 15ml tablespoon

Combine all the ground spices in a bowl and add 6 tblsp of water and make a paste.
Put half the onion in a mini whizzer with half the ginger, 1 clove of garlic and red chilli – blitz. Add to spice paste. Finely slice remaining onion, garlic and ginger.
Put a couple of glugs of oil and a knob of butter in your pan and fry the whole spices for a couple of mins. Then add the onion, garlic and ginger and soften gently for about 10 mins. Add the spice paste and lemon grass and cook for 5 mins. Plop in your thighs and get them nicely coated and slightly seared. Add the coconut milk and simmer uncovered for approx 50 mins, periodically stirring and turning the thighs. Let the coconut milk thicken but don't let it bubble too fiercely. Check for chilli heat.
I always take the meat off the bone before serving as it's easier to eat.


  1. I love a Chicken curry, and this one looks great - some really unusual spices in there - don't think I've ever used cassia bark! I'm going to have a go at this recipe next week I reckon. Serves 4 would you say?

  2. Hi Dan,

    Yes, it should feed 4. Cassia bark by the way is a savoury version of cinnamon - it's the same family. It looks like tree bark! It has a great flavour though.