Karen Martini’s Malaysian Chicken Curry Recipe


This curry, full of warm spicy notes, has a round and sweet profile. Baking the dough at the start is important: you want to bring out the scent, but don’t let it burn, it will spoil the final flavor. Cooking until the sauce splits is also important; this will start to happen when you fry the batter but when it is reduced and intensified, a layer of fat from the oil and coconut milk, stained with spices, will settle on top. It’s a sure sign of a good curry.


8 chicken thigh fillets or chicken chops

60 ml soy sauce

⅓ cup Malaysian curry powder *

70 ml of grape seed oil

2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 6 pieces each

1 carrot, cut into 6 pieces

1 cinnamon stick

2 stars anise

2 teaspoons of ground turmeric

6 dried curry leaves

1 tablespoon of powdered sugar

1 tablespoon of salt flakes

400 ml coconut milk

For the curry paste

1 tomato, diced

4 shallots, roughly chopped

5 cm piece of ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped

4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

3 long red peppers, roughly chopped

6 dried curry leaves

8 brazil nuts (or 80g macadamia nuts or candles)

30 ml of grape seed oil


1. Place the chicken, soy and 1 tablespoon of curry powder in a bowl and mix and coat. Reserve at room temperature for 15 minutes.

2. Place all the curry paste ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the dough and cook for 3 minutes, stirring, until fragrant and the color darkens.

4. When the dough begins to dry and begins to stick, add the chicken, potato and carrot, stirring to coat, then add the cinnamon, star anise, turmeric, remaining curry powder, curry leaves, sugar, salt and coconut milk. Complete with water to cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 1 hour.

5. When cooked, the sauce will have reduced, intensified and will begin to split. Adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve with steamed rice and roti.

* Malaysian curry powders are generally more fragrant and less pungent than Indian versions, without the influence of fenugreek.

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