Classic Malaysian Chicken Curry using convenient premixed curry powder and whole spices. Delicious served with flat breads and rice.
Chicken Curry is a very popular dish in Malaysia. People love it so much that they serve it daily as well as during celebrations. Many of the Chinese people there even serve it during Chinese New Year. Curry powder is easily available and this makes it possible for everyone to cook and enjoy this dish in the comfort of their own homes. Some have even added their own unique twist to the basic Indian recipe.
Spices Used in Chicken Curry
The ingredient that distinguishes one Chicken Curry from another is the combination of spices used. In Malaysia, the people there prefer redder and spicier curries. Hence, more chilies are used in the spice mix. Paler and milder curries like this Chicken Korma which uses uses only a little ground chili are delicious but not as popular.
It is unclear where curry powder originated even though this spice mix is popularly used in the UK, Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean. The closest thing to curry powder in the Indian sub continent is probably masala. Indian chicken curry typically starts with whole or ground spices. Hence, the taste varies greatly from family to family and region to region.
Here in the US, curry powders are not as commonly found. Some Indian grocers do carry a small selection of Madras curry powder from India and the UK which are milder than the curry powder from Malaysia. Occasionally, you will find small jars of curry powder in the spice rack at the local grocery store. These are all mostly yellow in color and very mild in flavor.
I used a mild Madras curry powder from the UK in this recipe as it is most easily available here. Since it is milder than what I am used to, I added a teaspoon each of ground cumin, fennel, and chili powder. Please feel free to leave these out or use any curry powder you prefer or have on hand.
I also threw in some curry leaves, frequently used in Southern Indian cuisine. These leaves are edible with a pungent and slightly lemony flavor. They can be found in the refrigerated section of most Indian grocery stores. You can leave it out altogether or use dried curry leaves if fresh ones are not available where you live.
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- Blend shallots (or onion), garlic, and ginger with ¼ cup (60ml) water. Transfer to a bowl. Add curry powder, ground cumin, fennel, and chili. Mix to form a paste.
- Heat vegetable oil in a medium sized pot. Stir fry cinnamon stick, star anise, curry leaves, and spice paste over medium heat until fragrant, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add chicken and stir until chicken turns opaque, about 3 minutes. Pour in ½ cup (120ml) water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add cubed potatoes, coconut milk, and salt. Bring it back up to a boil, reduce heat, and continue to cook for another 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
- Turn off stove and allow curry to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 😎