Enjoy this classic Malaysian Chicken Curry (Kari Ayam) with potatoes. A rich and flavorful dish that goes well with rice, bread, or even roti jala (Malaysian net crepes).
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Welcome to Day 12 of my Ramadan Series! Today I’ll be sharing the recipe for an ultimate classic — the chicken curry, which translates to kari ayam in Malay. It’s one of the first few recipes that I’ve ever learned from my mom when I started cooking, and is still easily one of my go-to recipes on dinner rotation.
Aromatic Chicken Curry with Potatoes
This is the Malaysian version of the chicken curry, which contains an abundance of spices and a dash of coconut milk. Growing up, my family and I would almost always have it with Roti Jala (Net Crepes) during Ramadan and Eid celebrations (Hari Raya). You can also enjoy it together with white rice for lunch or dinner, or pair with roti canai (or even just plain bread) for a hearty breakfast!
The process of making chicken curry can seem a bit intimidating with all the aromatics and spices that are listed, but just add on the ingredients step by step and you’ll get there! It’s a simple recipe that’s very beginner-friendly.
The curry powder that I usually find in the US is more milder in flavor and color as compared to the ones in Malaysia. For this recipe, I used a brandless curry powder that I got from an international market. If you’d like to try the ones from Malaysia, I usually use the one from Adabi, but Baba’s is also a great alternative.
Notes for Malaysian Chicken Curry (Kari Ayam)
- Adjust curry powder: Depending on the type of curry powder you use, sometimes you may need to add more or less. Adjust accordingly.
- Garam masala: The curry powder I used is not as strong in flavor as the ones I’m used to back in Malaysia. I find that I get the closest taste when I add garam masala. If you have a strong and good curry powder, consider skipping the garam masala.
- Curry leaves: If you can get your hands on curry leaves, add them when you’re sautéing the spices for extra flavor. You can add one sprig of leaves with the stem removed.
- Tamarind powder/paste: I used tamarind powder because that’s what I had. Feel free to substitute with tamarind paste but adjust accordingly.
Other Malaysian Recipes
- Malay-Style Chicken Rice (Nasi Ayam)
- Malaysian Curry Laksa
- Malaysian-Style Soy Sauce Eggs (Telur Masak Kicap)
- Malaysian Creamy Butter Chicken
Malaysian Chicken Curry
- 4-5 pieces of bone-in chicken I used dark meat
- 1 potato cut into cubes
- 1 onion sliced
- 4 cloves garlic sliced
- 1/2 inch ginger sliced
- 2 cups water
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 1.5 tsp sugar
- 3/4 tsp tamarind powder
- 1 cup coconut milk unsweetened
- 1 star anise
- 3 cardamom
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 fennel seeds
- 2.5 tbsp curry powder see notes
- 1/2 tbsp garam masala see notes
- 1/2 tbsp chili powder optional
- Sauté the spices (star anise, cardamom, cinnamon stick, fennel seeds) in a little bit of oil over medium heat for 30 seconds before adding the onion, garlic and ginger. Continue sautéing until the onion turns transluscent.
- Add the powdered spices (curry, garam masala and chili powder), a splash of water and continue sautéing for another minute before adding chicken. Stir and let it for 3-4 minutes.
- Pour in water and stir. Bring to a boil and add salt, sugar and tamarind powder.
- Stir and turn heat down to medium low. Add potatoes and cover with a lid for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.
- Once the chicken is cooked, pour in the coconut milk and stir. Let it cook for another 3-4 minutes and turn off heat.
- Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly if needed. Serve while hot. Enjoy!