Kari Ayam – Malaysian Curry Chicken

by | Mar 4, 2011 | 19 comments

Kari Ayam

I bought the Shiok cookbook when I was still in Singapore after hoarding a copy from the local library for so long that they slapped me with a heavy fine. I decided then that it would not only be cheaper but also sensible to buy my own copy.

Kari Ayam

The Shiok cookbook by Terry Tan and Christopher Tan is a very authentic and delightful mix of Singaporean, Malay and Peranakan cuisine. I never cooked anything from the book while I was still living in Singapore. Why? Because I was still living there! And one had to just step out of their home to have access to the most delicious food on the planet. Cheap too, oh so cheap!

Kari Ayam Paste

I started exploring the book after I moved to Australia and realized to my delight that most of the recipes were spot on  in mimicking that elusive taste you find at all the good hawker centre stalls in Singapore. One of the easiest recipes to cook from the book is Kari Ayam. This Malaysian chicken curry is a staple in most hawker centres in Singapore and although they all pretty much taste the same, there are subtle differences at each stall that make the curry more interesting and a subject of lunchtime "makan-debate" at work. When I cooked Kari Ayam for the first time, I couldn’t help but notice that individually most of the ingredients used were also used in Indian curries. But the combination of ingredients was what made it very Malaysian.

Kari Ayam Process - Chicken Curry Malaysian Style

The recipe has a curry paste which is quick to whip up and forms the basis of the dish. I go easy on the chili because of my boys but after the dish is cooked and I have separated their portions, I love to spike Nick and my portions with a lot of chili. The Kari is great with a bowl of steamed jasmine rice and even more spectacular with roti-prata.

Malaysian Chicken Curry







Preparation Time – 20 minutes
Cooking Time – 55 minutes
Serves – 6


1 large chicken, cut into 10-12 pieces
800g chicken thigh fillets, cut into chunky pieces

4 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used Canola)
2 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 3/4 cups coconut milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar

Spice Paste
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ginger, freshly minced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground fennel (or 1 teaspoon fennel seeds)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or 1 stick of cinnamon, crushed)
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (or 5-6 cloves)
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (or seeds of 7-8 cardamoms)
1/4 cup water


Wash and pat dry chicken. Remove excess skin. (or alternatively prepare the chicken thigh fillets by cutting them into pieces of desirable size, the chunkier the better)

In a blender, process all ingredients of spice paste.

Heat oil in a wok or casserole over medium heat. Fry potatoes for 4-5 minutes until lightly browned. Remove and set aside. Add spice paste to wok and fry for 6-7 minutes, stirring constantly until fragrant.

Add chicken pieces and mix well to coat them with the spice paste. Add coconut milk, salt, sugar and potatoes. Simmer partially covered for approximately 40 minutes on low heat.

Serve hot with rice or roti.


Find More Recipes By CategoryChicken Main Course Poultry



I love creating easy, vibrant, fresh, everyday recipes and taking gorgeous photos of the food I cook. I have been blogging for 15 years and I have also written a book with over 100 new recipes. If you make a recipe from the blog, Tag @cookrepublic on Instagram. I would love to see!


  1. satch

    i’m going to cook this one too ……… delicious !!

  2. sonia

    Loved the curry. Looking really delightful and wud try ur version for sure…great post !

  3. KayB

    I’m black banned at my library for also hoarding books.. oops! I love all curries but this looks like an absolute winner!

    • Sneh

      lol, i just can’t bring myself to return a good cookbook I find at the library 🙂

  4. chocolatesuze

    yum i do love a good curry with roti! hehe i always go a bit overboard with the coconut milk 😛

    • Sneh

      he he, i totally get you on the coconut milk .. and always full cream too! I once tried low fat coconut cream .. yuckiest thing ever!

  5. Gaby

    You’re right, from the ingredients list it does sound like an Indian curry.

  6. rebecca

    this looks great and love the sound of that cookbook my bro in law used to live in Singapore and your cooking sounds like me more heat for us less for little one


  7. Soma

    Looks absolutely delish! and the kind I would love to have for my dinner now. Love the fennel in it.

  8. Helen (grabyourfork)

    Oh I love getting cookbooks from overseas. They’re a guarantee of local unadulterated recipes, and cooking from them is always a great reminder of your travels!

  9. Sprinzette @ Ginger and Almonds

    Your photos are gorgeous, and this looks like such an original recipe. I love making curries from scratch, so will definitely give this one a try.

  10. Kittu

    I am def going to try this one.. visited your site after months & I am going gaga over the recipes..

  11. Susan

    That sounds delicious. I have bookmarked this and will definitely make it in the near future! I have just discovered the benefits of the local library too, so have requested this book!

  12. Andy Murchie

    Couldn’t resist making this…….. I found it really easy to put together ,
    The whole family loved it . Absolutely fantastic flavours

  13. Phluph

    My husband spends a lot of time in Singapore, and this has become our favourite curry at home. I’ve made it many times, and it’s about the only curry I use a recipe for. Perfect.

  14. Chonnie

    Thank you for this recipe!! It’s amazing and tastes just like my Singaporean bestie’s Mum makes and the curries I ate in Singapore. I’ve been looking for a recipe for years. I’ve made it twice in a week. Thank you again xx



  1. Sticky Seared Salmon And Asian Crunch Salad - Cook Republic - […] Smoothie With Mango & Blueberries Four Years Ago – Nutella Butter Cake Five Years Ago – Malaysian Curry Chicken…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.