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Nyonya Chicken Curry

4 months have passed since we moved into our new house and it's beginning to look more and more like home. Off with the old wallpaper (in most of the rooms, the wallpaper have been there for 4 decades!), a fresh coat of paint... voilà: it looks a whole lot prettier and modern. All this is possible due to relentless effort of my parents-in-law, without them, it would have taken us a lot longer to get the house looking like home. THANK YOU Michèle & Patrick for all that you have done for us.

Early this week we hosted a lovely Canadian couple who were here to visit Michèle & Patrick. With so many people around the house, it was la fête (a party) for Little One. Basked in the adoration limelight of everyone, she shines like a true star and charmed the Canadian couple (needless to say, the grandparents are already under her spell). Since this couple had been to Singapore before, I decided to cook curry - something local for them, my mom's Nonya Chicken Curry (who learned it from my grandma) - a Peranarakan Cuisine.:-)

Nyonya Chicken Curry
  • 1 whole chicken (peel off most of the skin and chopped into pieces)
  • 350 g shallots (approx.) or 1½ white onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 6 or 7 stalks lemon grass (white part only - sliced)
  • 1 or 2 pieces candle nuts
  • 3 or 4 slices galangal (blue ginger)
  • 1 thumb size ginger
  • 3 or 4 tbsp meat curry powder or curry powder
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 green cardamoms
  • 1 star anise (big)
  • 3 cloves
  • a bunch of curry leaves (fresh or dried)
  • 2 - 3 potatoes (cut into 4)
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 600 ml milk (approx.)
  • salt or light soya sauce for seasoning
  • oil
ingredients - chicken curry
  1. Put shallots, garlic, lemon grass, candle nuts, galangal & ginger in the food processor and grind it into a fine paste.
  2. Mix the curry powder well into the paste.
  3. Heat the wok with some oil till hot. Stir-fry the cinnamon stick, cardamons, star anise and cloves for a minute or so.
  4. Stir in the paste and stir-fry it till fragrant.
  5. Add in the chicken pieces. Stir and coat the chicken pieces with the curry paste.
  6. Pour in the milk, coconut milk and curry leaves. Stir till blend with the chicken pieces and paste. (Add more milk if you feel the gravy is too thick or little.)
  7. Add in the potatoes.
  8. Season it with salt or light soya sauce to your liking and check the spiciness. If it is not spicy to your taste, add another spoonful of curry powder.
  9. Bring it to a boil, then lower the fire to let it simmer for half an hour.
  10. Serve it with rice or a loaf of French bread.
rempah chicken currychicken curry

Mmm...yummy. It really DOES tastes like the curry I have back home, so I guess this is a success.:-) I had prepared a tiramusi for dessert, but it was a tough sell after everybody had gotten a second (and for some even third) portion of the curry.


If you can't find galangal (blue ginger) in your area, substitute it with another stalk of lemongrass. As for candle nuts, you can replace it with either raw cashew nuts or macadamia nuts or blanched almonds.

chicken curry
#1, by Closet Cooking (05/11/2008)

That chicken curry looks really good!

#2, by teczcape - an escape to food (05/12/2008)

I will down the curry AND the tiramisu:-D

#3, by ireneangele (05/12/2008)

My mother-in-law is coming next week... your curry looks delicious, I might try to impress her with it !!
But what is galangal ? and candle nut ? (sorry for my ignorance !)

#4, by The Cooking Ninja (05/12/2008)

@Closet cooking: Thanks. It's really delicious. You should try it one day.;-)

@teczcape: hehehe...I did that.;-)

@ireneangele: Galangal is one of the essential spice in Asian cooking.;-) You can get it at Asian store. As for candle nuts, you can replace it with either macadamia nuts or raw cashew nuts or blanched almonds.:-)

#5, by Tyree White (05/13/2008)

Looks like a really healthy meal. --- tyree white.

#6, by katie (05/13/2008)

I can totally relate about the wallpaper. We've been here 4 years and still haven't done all the rooms. And the ceilings. And the doors.
Great looking curry!

#7, by beachloverkitchen (05/17/2008)

Now you make me wanna to make my own spices for curry chicken just looking at your post!!.I just got some candle nut and going to cook my own curry chicken soon.yum yum!!

#8, by Bee Ean (05/19/2008)

Ah I have been looking for a nice curry recipe for so long. So your French family was not bothered by the chicken skin and bone? My hubby doesn't like those so I can only use chicken fillet.

#9, by Bernice (06/10/2008)

You're making me crave for curry!!!

#10, by The Cooking Ninja (06/23/2008)

@Tyree White: hehehe... looks only but it is actually not a really healthy meal since it has a can of coconut milk in it.:-p

@Katie: I know. The thing is once we get going, we must not stop or else everything will be as it is like before.:-p

@Bee Ean: My parents in law aren't bothered by the kin but my hubby likes only breast. So usually when I cook chicken curry, I will de-skin the whole chicken except the wings and thighs to give the curry a little flavour.

#11, by Janet Ching (03/20/2009)

Mom's cooking is always the best! Your curry makes me drooling!

#12, by MaryMoh (12/03/2009)

Nyonya curry is always the best. This looks so delicious....beautiful curry paste. I love curries...make my world go round.

#13, by Sunita (12/04/2009)

Pam, this look really delicious, will definitely give it a try:-)

#14, by Janet @Gourmet Traveller 88 (12/17/2009)

I am heading to your blog to look for your curry recipe. I wonder if I can find meat curry powder in the Asian store here. Would love to try your curry, like the color, is it quite like the Malaysian one, I only used the ready made Yeung Yip Shing in the past, now thinking of that taste and wonder if i can repeat myself.

#15, by Gloria (03/07/2010)

Must find the time to try your recipe... oh no but first the time to go to the 13arr to get the ingredients! Would u pls give me the french names for galangal, curry leaves etc? Must also give your hummus recipe a go.. Ronan loves hummus and we're always buying the Monoprix version lol

#16, by The Cooking Ninja (03/07/2010)

@Gloria: LOL! The French name for galangal is "Le galanga". Curry leave is "feuille de curry". If u can find fresh curry leaves, just buy the dried ones (though less fragrant). Hummus is very easy to make - do give it a try.