Saturday, March 2, 2013

Malaysian "Kari Ayam" (Chicken Curry)

It's been more than three and half years since I left my home and came to Malaysia,without having any idea about this country. I had no idea about weather, food or people here! Had more misconceptions than right knowledge. However, we felt in love with this country immediately. Pleasant weather, clear sky, tropical rain, gentle & peaceful people...we loved everything. But we loved the food more than anything. Malaysian food is spicy and flavourful.

Kari Ayam ("Kari" = curry, "Ayam" = chicken) is a dish you will find everywhere in Malaysia. It's a signature dish here like Nasi lemak (rice cooked with coconut milk and herbs). Coconut cream, red hot chilli, lemongrass, curry leaves and belacan (shrimp paste) are the key ingredients for this finger-licking chicken curry. It's a must try Malaysian dish.

Ingredients for "Kari Ayam":

  1. Skinless or skin-on whole chicken 750-800 gm (cut into medium pieces..washed and pat dried)
  2. Potato 2 medium size (cut into chunks and washed)
  3. Whole spices (2 star anise, 2-3 green cardamom, 1 cinamon stick, 2-3 cloves)
  4. Candlenut (known as buah keras in local language) 4 pieces
  5. Coconut cream 1 cup
  6. Lemon grass 1 stalk
  7. Ginger 1 & 1/2 inch piece
  8. Raw turmeric 1 inch small piece
  9. Garlic 4-5 fat cloves
  10. Shallots 6-8 or red onion medium size
  11. Belacan/shrimp paste 1 tea spoon (I did not use it)
  12. Curry leave 10-12 leaf
  13. Fresh red chilli seeded or whole (depending on your tolerance level) 8 pieces
  14. Dry red chilli 3 pieces (soaked in water for some times)
  15. Salt & sugar according to taste
  16. Canola/sunflower oil for cooking

How to prepare "Kari Ayam":
  • Firstly we need to make the curry-paste. Traditionally a mortar and pestle is used to make this paste but obviously you can use a grinder. You need to arrange spices to make the curry paste. Slice lemongrass (only white part), turmeric and ginger. Peel garlic and shallots. Now make a smooth paste with lemongrass, chilli (dry and fresh), shallots, garlic,ginger, turmeric,3-4 curry leaves, candlenut, balacan/shrimp paste (It's preferred to use, as this is one of key ingredients. I didn't use though..and it did not make that much difference.) and little water.
  • Heat oil in a deep bottom pan. Add whole spices and remaining curry leaves.Fry till you feel the aroma. Add curry paste. Cook over high flame stirring continuously. Cook till red colored chilli oil floats separately. Now add chicken pieces and cook over medium heat for some times. Add half cup water. Add potato pieces. Shimmer uncovered over low heat for 8 to 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  • Add coconut cream at this point. Mix it well and bring to shimmer.

  •  Add salt and sugar. Cook covered over low heat till potato and chicken both are cooked. It will take almost 25-30 minutes.

  • Serve hot with plain white rice.

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  1. Hello

    The photos are very enticing. Can you tell me how I can replace candlenut? Any other variety of nuts that come close to these?I have no idea where to get candlenut in US.

    1. Thank you Jo D.. :) But I am not very sure about the substitute for candlenut..:(

  2. macadamia,perhaps? (due to the fatty content)


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