Chicken curry is a dish that crosses ethnic boundaries in Malaysia and features regularly at just about every dinner table – Jackie M, Truly Malaysian.

Most recipes that originate outside of Malaysia call for a long list of curry spices, but in reality Malaysians rely heavily on prepared spice mixes to simplify the process.

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  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup pureed onion
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 3 Tbsp Malaysian meat curry powder, mixed to a paste with a little water
  • 1 kg chicken thigh fillets or drumsticks
  • 2 thin-skinned potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 chicken stock cube, crumbled
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • 3 Tbsp minced lemongrass, or 1 stalk lemongrass, bruised
  • 400 ml water
  • 200 ml coconut cream


  1. Heat oil in a wok or saucepan over medium heat. If using chicken thighs, cut into large pieces.
  2. Sauté onion, garlic and curry paste until onion is browned and the oil separates.
  3. Add chicken and fry for 30 seconds. Add all remaining ingredients, cover and simmer over medium-low heat – about 15 minutes for thigh fillets or 25 minutes for drumsticks – stirring once or twice during cooking.
  4. Adjust seasoning to taste, serve with steamed rice and sliced cucumber.

Notes: Meat curry powder is a common Malaysian spice blend found in Asian grocery stores. It includes coriander, cumin, fennel, turmeric, star anise, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon.