Chicken Curry: This chicken curry dish has been my family's favourite picnic meal since my children were young. Now they are grown up and have their own families. However this dish still brings us together and reminds us of those happy memories! This dish goes best with french loaf or steaming hot white rice, so be sure to cook extra rice to go with it!

Chicken Curry

This Chicken Curry dish is my family's favourite picnic meal, bringing us together and reminding us of those good family memories! Ever the crowd favourite, try making this for your own family and create great memories too!

Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword chicken curry, chinese style chicken curry, nonya chicken curry
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 253 kcal
Author Bee Leng | The Burning Kitchen


  • 1 Chicken Approx 1.4kg
  • 1 tsp Salt To marinate chicken
  • 2 stalks Lemongrass (Serai) Halved and bruised
  • 4-5 Potatoes Brastagi potatoes recommended
  • 5 TBsp Oil
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp Salt To taste (see Pro Tip 9)

Coconut Milk

Chicken Curry Paste

  • 6 Large Red Chilli
  • 6 Dried Chilli
  • 2 stalks Lemongrass (Serai) White stem only, cut into small pieces
  • 150 g Shallots
  • 3-4 cloves Garlic
  • 1 thumb-sized Galangal (Blue Ginger / Lengkuas)
  • 20 g Fresh Tumeric (Kunyit)
  • 5 tbsp Oil


  • 2 tbsp Coarse Salt To exfoliate Chicken


PREPARATION METHOD (Best to prepare and cook at least 6 hours before)

  1. Remove chicken head and innards in the chicken cavity. Next rub chicken with coarse salt all over and in the cavity to remove the yellow membrane, then wash thoroughly and drain dry.

  2. Cut chicken into pieces. Then rub 1 tsp of salt all over the chicken and marinate for 30 minutes.

  3. De-seed the red chilli and dried chilli and cut into pieces. Soak the dried chilli in hot water until soft.

  4. Remove the outer layer of the 4 stalks of lemongrass. Cut 2 stalks into small pieces for the Curry Paste (use only the white portion). Bruise the other 2 stalks of lemongrass and the 2 green portions lightly to add into the curry later.

  5. Peel shallots, garlic, galangal and turmeric. Cut galangal and turmeric into smaller pieces.

  6. Peel potatoes and cut in chunks.

  7. In a blender, pulse the Curry Paste ingredients until very fine.

  8. Mix the coconut cream and water. Alternatively, you can use freshly squeezed coconut milk instead (see recipe here)


  1. Add 5 tbsp of oil in a wok over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the potatoes and fry for about 5-8 mins until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate, leaving oil in the wok.

  2. Add another 2-3 tbsp of oil to the wok, then add the curry paste and fry for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly to ensure that the curry paste at the bottom of the wok does not get burnt.

  3. Add the chicken and half of the coconut milk. Mix well with the curry paste and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once it starts to bubble, transfer to a pot.

  4. Add the bruised lemongrass and potatoes and continue to simmer uncovered over medium-low heat for 20-25 mins or until the potatoes are soft. Stir occasionally to ensure the bottom of the pot does not get burnt. 

  5. Add in rest of the coconut cream and salt (to taste), then cook for another 5 minutes.

  6. When ready to serve, reheat the curry over the stove and serve with rice or baguette.

Top Tips


  1. Shallots, garlic and lemon grass are a must as they provide that deep flavour typical of curries. More shallots will give the curry a denser texture and a heavier body.
  2. Use fresh coconut milk for extra fragrance. For convenience, you can use Kara or Heng Guan coconut cream. Kara has the benefit of a much longer shelf life, because it is UHT. But Heng Guan is slightly more fragrant. However, if you want it to be super fragrant, use freshly squeezed coconut milk instead (see recipe here).
  3. Ready-made Chicken Curry Paste is available at Indian and Malay stalls at selected wet markets, including Geylang Serai and Tekka market) if you don't want to make your own curry paste.


  1. Fry the potatoes first to help prevent them from breaking up after it is added to the curry mixture.
  2. Turn down the heat to low when frying the spices as the spices gets burnt easily.
  3. Replace the water with coconut milk (2nd layer) if you are using homemade coconut cream/milk.
  4. Do not add the coconut milk into the chicken curry from the start because it gets burnt easily. Add it in only during the last 15 mins of the cooking time.
  5. Adjust the amount of salt added depending on the types of curry paste. Some curry pastes are already quite salty, so make sure you taste the mixture first before adding the salt.


  1. Stir the curry mixture constantly, especially after the coconut milk has been added to it, as it has the tendency to stick to the bottom of the pot and get burnt easily. The worst thing to happen is for it to get burnt, as burnt curry tastes awful. Once burnt, there is no remedy, dump it and start over.
  2. Leave the pot uncovered to allow the chicken curry to cook more slowly, giving it more time to steep in and absorb the aromas and flavours of the spices.
  3. Never cover the pot completely with a lid when cooking curry or any other curries, otherwise the curry will turn out to be very lumpy and not smooth.


  1. Try to cook the curry in the morning or the day before if you are planning to have curry for dinner. The longer the chicken and the potatoes steep in the curry gravy, the better they will taste. Overnight curry always tastes better because the potatoes steeped in the curry will release starch, giving the curry more body.