For the most authentic Malaysian Kari Ayam (Chicken Curry) you need the most authentic ingredients. Discover how to make the most wonderful Malay Chicken Curry at home – Spoiler: it couldn’t be easier!
Kari ayam is one of those dishes I turn to time and again. A good Malaysian Chicken Curry is absolutely up there as one of the finest dishes in the world. Being a British expat living in Oz I would often make the brutal journey back to the Mothership and, as first choice, stop off for a day or two in Malaysia or Singapore to break up the 24+ hr flight. It is in Kuala Lumpur that I took my first sip of Kari Ayam.
A beautifully balanced and unique marrying of Indian/Malaysian flavours. This hybrid cuisine, is a triumph of flavour and fragrance in every way. And now you can create this exact Kari Ayam flavour at home – and it couldn’t be easier.
Essentials for an Authentic Malaysian Chicken Curry
The reason this recipe is so simple is that it uses a special pre-bought curry powder as the key ingredient. I’ve cooked hundreds (if not thousands) of variations of Malaysian Kari Ayam over the years and have concluded that the king of flavour (by a country mile) comes from store-bought curry powder.
No ordinary curry powder I might add. You need to find a special Malaysian meat curry powder, like Yeo’s Malaysian Curry Powder (shown below). There are a few brands out there which are suitable but Yeo’s is my favourite. (FYI – I asked the Malay chefs at a couple of places how they cooked their curries and both pointed to giant buckets of pre-mixed curry powder – without a glimpse of shame).
By fast tracking to flavour by using a curry powder, your Kari Ayam can be on the table in around 30 minutes from start to end. It’s a fragrant, not spicy curry with a depth of flavour like nothing else. The slight aniseed notes from the star anise are beautiful. It’s a perfectly balanced flavour, thanks to the perfectly balanced powder.
More tips for the perfect Kari Ayam
In my Kari Ayam recipe, the inclusion of fresh curry leaves and star anise mirror of the versions I ate in Malaysia and it’s a clever way to enhance the flavour even more. You can also add a cinnamon stick and a few cardamom pods if you like.
In my opinion, Kari Ayam is best served with buttery and flaky Malaysian roti canal bread or paratha – you can find them from any good Asian/Indian supermarket in the frozen section (you CAN make them at home – but they’re pretty tricky so best left to 400 yr old Malaysian grandmothers in my opinion. They’re fried for a couple of minutes and puff up into flaky flatbreads. Fluffy Jasmine rice is also a winner.
This Malaysian Chicken Curry is one of the easiest in my repertoire and it’s also one of my favourites. It absolutely deserves its high-ranking place on my 10 Best Chicken Curry Recipes.
More delicious Malaysian recipes.
If like me, you become OBSESSED with Malaysian food, you’ll want to discover more. Try out some of my other tasty Malaysian recipes.