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
A good Malaysian Kari Ayam starts with a solid taste foundation - a good spice blend to aid in creating those unique, authentic flavours. Making your own curry powder at home is simple - I make a large batch from time to time and it keeps for up to 6 months - always at hand. Check out my Malaysian Curry Powder recipe to see how easy it is to make.
The great thing about having a homemade curry powder is that you always have it on hand - enabling you to whip up this treasure within an hour.
If you're looking for a more convenient path to Kari Ayam, then you should also consider one of the excellent store-bought options available. My favourite store-bought curry powder is Yeo's Malaysian Curry Powder (shown below). As a rule of thumb, always choose a powder labelled "Malaysian Curry Powder" and for Kari Ayam and similar curries, the label may also read "Malaysian Curry Powder for Meat."
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. The use of potatoes in my Kari Ayam recipe is not essential, but I must say, the mix of textures from the tender, juicy chicken to the creamy potato is divine. You decide if you want them - I'll often add green beans too, this recipe is versatile!
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.
4potatoes(medium/small) (cut into 1/4s) - optional
In a wok over a moderate high heat, add the oil and when hot, throw in the curry leaves and star anise. Let them sizzle briefly before adding the chicken.
Cook the chicken for 2-3 minutes to brown a little before adding the curry powder. Stir well to coat the chicken before pouring in the coconut milk and about 400-500 ml of water, until the chicken is all submerged and the sauce thin. Stir in the salt.
Bring to a boil, then if using, add the potatoes. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently, uncovered, for 25 minutes. The sauce should have reduced to a creamy consistency, but if not, just turn up the heat and reduce until it does!