3. Nonya chicken curry

January 18, 2015

Ask me what my favourite curry is and this would have to be it! I love Nonya cuisine. The use of aromats create such complex and delicious flavours like no other cuisine. Thank goodness for those intermarriages in the early 17th century between the Malays and Chinese bringing the best of both cuisines together.

Serves 4


  • 1kg whole chicken, cut into 12-14 pieces
  • 240g or 5 small potatoes, peeled and halved


  • 1 large Spanish onion, peeled, cut into wedges
  • 15 or 15gm long dried red chillies, soaked in hot water, drained, roughly chopped
  • 2 long hot fresh red chillies, roughly chopped
  • I knob (10gm) galangal, roughly chopped
  • 1 knob (10gm) fresh turmeric or 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 knob (10gm) ginger, peeled, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 candlenuts
  • 1 teaspoon (10gm) blachan, wrapped in foil and toasted in a dry pan until fragrant
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, white part only
  • 2 tablespoon ground coriander
  • Oil
  • 1 pandan/screwpine leaf, tied into a knot (optional)
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 cups (500 ml) coconut milk
  • 1- 1½ teaspoon salt or to taste
  • ½ -1 teaspoon sugar


In a blender or mortar and pestle, grind the onion, chillies, turmeric, galangal, ginger, garlic, candlenuts and blachan to a paste.

Heat 4 tablespoons of oil in a large pot, add the rempah and lemongrass and cook on medium heat until fragrant (about 4-5 minutes), add the ground coriander and cook for a further 3 minutes.

Add the chicken pieces, pandan and kaffir lime leaves, stir until well coated, then add the potatoes and coconut milk, stir well and cook until both chicken and potatoes are tender. Season with salt and sugar. Be careful not to break up the potatoes when stirring.

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