Kari Ayam: Malaysian Chicken Curry

Nestled within the heart of Southeast Asia is Malaysia, a country where food is not just sustenance but a vibrant celebration of culture and tradition. One of the jewels in its culinary crown is Kari Ayam, a Malaysian Chicken Curry that is as complex as it is comforting. This aromatic dish is a symphony of spices, tender chicken, and creamy coconut milk, often brightened with potatoes and flavored with a bouquet of herbs. Every family has its own version, passed down through generations, making Kari Ayam a personal tale of heritage on a plate. This curry isn’t just food; it’s a narrative of Malaysian hospitality, shared over laughter and steeped in history.

Kari Ayam: Malaysian Chicken Curry


  • 800g chicken, cut into pieces
  • 2 medium-sized potatoes, quartered
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 inch of ginger, minced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, bruised
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel powder
  • Water, as needed
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • Coriander leaves for garnish

Cooking Steps

  • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the cinnamon stick, cloves, star anise, and cardamom pods, sautéing until they start to sizzle and become fragrant.
  • Add the chopped onions, garlic, and ginger to the pot and sauté until the onions turn golden brown.
  • Mix in the curry powder, chili powder, turmeric powder, and fennel powder, and cook for a minute until the spices are well combined and aromatic.
  • Introduce the chicken pieces to the pot, stirring to ensure they are well coated with the spice mixture. Cook until the chicken is seared on all sides.
  • Pour in enough water to cover the chicken, add the bruised lemongrass, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer.
  • Add the potatoes to the pot and continue to cook until the chicken is tender and the potatoes are cooked through, usually about 20-30 minutes.
  • Stir in the coconut milk and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
  • Remove from heat, discard the whole spices and lemongrass, and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
  • Serve hot with steamed rice or flatbreads, and savor the rich, creamy curry.

Kari Ayam is not only a culinary delight but also a well-rounded meal rich in proteins and spices known for their health benefits. Turmeric, for instance, has anti-inflammatory properties, while coconut milk adds a dose of healthy fats. When choosing chicken for the curry, opt for skinless pieces to reduce fat content. Freshness is paramount—look for chicken with a firm texture, a natural color, and no unpleasant odor. Potatoes should be firm and free of sprouts or green spots. As you prepare this dish, remember that Kari Ayam is more than a recipe; it’s an experience, a journey through the flavors of Malaysia, and a true testament to the power of sharing a meal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like