Sunday, September 8, 2013

Kari Ayam: Malaysian Chicken Curry

One of the obvious perks of being married to a gorgeous Malaysian man is sharing delicious home-cooked meals from his childhood. I imagine he dined on this curry as a boy, surrounded by family at a busy kitchen table in the small town of Miri in Borneo.

Here, Byron shares his recipe for a mild, flavoursome traditional family chicken curry, Kari Ayam (aren't we lucky?!).

Kari Ayam
Serves 4

Olive oil
500g chicken thigh fillets, chunky diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
8 cm piece of ginger
1 long red chilli, seeds removed, finely sliced
3 star anise
6-8 cardamon pods, smack with the back of your knife to open
1 cinnamon scroll
2 Tbs ground turmeric
4 kaffir limes leaves
2 pandan leaves
1 cup chicken stock
1 Tbs hard palm sugar
2 large washed potatoes, large cubes
1 cup coconut milk
Coriander and fresh chilli to serve
Brown rice

In a large pan, heat roughly 1 tablespoon of olive oil, brown the chicken (high heat) and set aside. Reduce to low heat, add more oil, the crushed garlic, thinly sliced ginger, chilli, star anise, cardamon pods, cinnamon scroll and the turmeric. Stir constantly to prevent sticking to the pan and cook until the ingredients cook to a golden colour, approximately 5 minutes. Return the cooked chicken to the pan, add the kaffir lime leaves and pandan leaves, stir to coat with the spices and cook, stirring for 2 minutes.

Add the chicken stock and palm sugar and cover the pot, allowing a small space for steam to escape (Byron used a wooden spoon under the lid to allow a small gap). Simmer over low heat until the volume of the stock is reduced slightly. Add the potatoes and coconut milk and continue to slowly simmer until the potatoes are just soft (test with a fork).

Taste and season if needed.

Serve with fluffy brown rice, and sprinkled with sliced chilli and fresh coriander leaves. Usually we prepare our brown rice in a rice cooker with several slices of ginger and knotted pandan leaves tucked into the rice as it cooks. The flavour is subtly enhanced and the aroma is mouth-watering.

A handy tip: Remove the cardamon pods when you serve as they can have quite a surprising burst of flavour when you bite into them unexpectedly.

Eat surrounded by family or friends around your kitchen table. Talk, laugh, savour and enjoy.

Sangat Sedap!

Bella and Byron xx


  1. You have become a little Malaysian, I have become a little Chinese. I love how our partners backgrounds help evolve and grow our cooking.

    1. Ha ha. It's funny, isn't it just? I love how these wonderful meals have become a part of our regular daily menu. My cooking has improved ten-fold since meeting Byron. His cooking style and passion in the kitchen inspire me. iI'd love to know more about your favourite dishes, Julie.
      Bella xx


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Love Bella xx


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