Mother’s Malaysian-style Chicken Curry

I adore chicken curry, alone or on rice. Not the typical Indian style though, the Malaysian way, where there is a lot of yellow curry, coconut milk and potatoes. My mother makes a great chicken curry and it always reminds me of my childhood. The only problem is she doesn’t have a recipe. She tends to cook just by tasting things and knowing what basic ingredients start the dish. Here’s my take!

adapted from ChubbyHubby
Makes 4 servings

  • 6 pieces (1 lb) of chicken thighs cut into large cubes
  • 4 T curry powder
  • 2 T vegetable cooking oil
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • 4 shallots, peeled and finely sliced
  • 4 stalks scallion, finely chopped
  • 2 inch length of ginger, peeled and bruised
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass, cut into thirds and bruised
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 C coconut milk
  • 1 C plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp chili powder, more or less depending on your tastes (optional)
  • 4 medium potatoes, cubed and parboiled (optional)
  • 2 C peas, shelled or frozen (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Marinate the chicken pieces with 1tbs of curry powder and set aside.

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot and add the garlic, shallots, scallions, ginger, lemongrass, tumeric, brown sugar, cloves and star anise.

Combine the remaining 3tbs of curry powder with just enough water to create a thick paste. Add the paste to the pot and saute until the mixture is aromatic. Add the chicken pieces and continue to cook until the chicken is evenly browned. Add the coconut milk, chili powder  and yogurt, then lower to a simmer. Add between 1/2 to 3/4 cup of water (this depends on your taste preference), and bring it back to a simmer before adding the curry leaves. Continue to simmer until the chicken is cooked, then season with salt to taste.

Now, if you are going to eat this curry right away, feel free to toss in your potato cubes when you add in your water and your peas right before you are done. If, however, you (like me) want to pack the curry away to be eaten on another day, I’d recommend against adding in the potatoes at this stage. Basically, if you like potatoes in your curry, add them in when you reheat your curry. Just give your cubed potato pieces at least a good 15 minutes or so of cooking in the hot curry.

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