Nyonya curry chicken

Wonderful curry. I blended all ingredients under ‘Spice paste’ in a food processor. Mind you this curry is quite spicy. Reduce the amount of dried chillies to your liking/tolerance.

Belacan is actually a shrimp paste, a common ingredient used in Southeast Asian and Southern Chinese cuisine. It is made from fermented ground shrimp.

Toast it in a wok quickly until fragrant before blending it with other spices (the smell is very strong, open your windows when you are doing this).

Recipe from “Nyonya Flavours – A Complete Guide to Penang Straits Chinese Cuisine”

Ingredients :

  • 4-5 tbsp oil
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Spice paste (ground)

  • 30 gm (15) dried chillies, soaked
  • 200 gm (20) shallots
  • 15 gm (3 cloves) garlic
  • 20 gm belacan, toasted
  • 20 gm (2cm) tumeric
  • 20 gm (3 tbsp) coriander seeds
  • 2 gm (1 tsp) cumin seeds
  • 2 gm (1 tsp) fennel seeds
  • 1.5kg meaty chicken pieces
  • 300 gram potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 400 ml thin coconut milk
  • 100 ml thick coconut milk


  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar

1. Heat oil over medium low flame and saute star anise, cloves and cinnamon stick. Add in spice paste and stir-fry well. Add 2 to 3 tbsp thick coconut milk (if it is too dry) and fry over low heat until fragrant and oil separates.

2. Add chicken and fry for a minute. Add potatoes and pour in thin coconut milk. Simmer until chicken is tender and potatoes are cooked.

3. Lastly, add the thick coconut milk and season to taste. Continue to cook until gravy is slightly thick. Serve with steamed rice.

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