Malaysian Chicken Curry

I absolutely love ethnic food! I am so glad that my parents thought it important to have us stray from the typical American diet growing up. My love of eating ethnic foods quickly developed into a love for learning to cook them. By the age of 10 or so I made many failed attempts at cooking Chinese food. My poor parents and siblings suffered through them. I still haven’t perfected my Chinese skills, I kind of put them on the back burner for a while. Instead I have been learning from the nationals themselves.
At the beginning of the summer a wonderful, sweet woman invited my mom and I to her home to learn to make traditional Malaysian food. Vasi is an amazingly talented woman who grew up in Malaysia, studied violin in Saltzburg, Austria (how cool is that?!!!) and moved to the states about 20 years ago. She teaches Suzuki violin from her home, which is pretty cool for me because I grew up learning Suzuki piano. Vasi’s son goes to school with my sister, when she heard that I was wanted to learn how to cook Indian food (which has many similarities to Malaysian) she invited my mom and I to come over and learn from her. We had a blast and learned so much! Today I’m going to share Vasi’s chicken curry with you.
Hopefully I will find the time to share the other dishes with you soon! If you love curry then trying this recipe is a must! I am addicted now! I did my very best not to stray far from how I was taught, I just made a couple changes to make it a bit more nutritious.

Vasi’s Malaysian Chicken Curry

1 1/2 pounds chicken
1 cinnamon stick or 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
3 whole cloves
1/4 tsp cardamom powder or 2-3 cardamom pods
1 star anise
6-10 curry leaves(optional)
1 large onion chopped
4 cloves garlic crushed
1 inch piece ginger grated (I cut it into smaller pieces and put it in the garlic press)
1 tsp turmeric
2 TBS Malaysian curry powder *
1-2 tsp cayenne powder
1 TBS tomato paste
1 cup whole fat coconut milk
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 TBS lemon juice
2 TBS coconut oil
salt to taste (I used about 1 1/2 tsp)

1. Heat oil in a large skillet. Put in cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and anise. Stir-fry for about a minute.

2. Add onions, garlic and ginger. Fry until the onions are soft.

3. Add turmeric, curry powder, cayenne and tomato paste. Stir-fry until the onion mixture has absorbed the spices and has a paste-like consistency.

4. Add chicken pieces and stir to coat with the spices. Let cook for about five minutes in the spices stirring occasionally so that all parts of the chicken is well coated with the spices.

5. Add coconut milk. Stir to mix well and bring to a boil. Cover skillet and allow to simmer for 30-40 minutes. Stir occasionally.

6. Once cooked add the lemon juice and stir. You can remove and debone the chicken like I prefer to do or you can serve it with the bone in. Serve over rice.

* Vasi told me that is very hard to find Malaysian curry powder in the states. If you look for it in your local Asian market you will most likely find one from India.  She also said that they will tell you that there is no difference in taste while their actually IS, even though I can’t remember what that difference is. Vasi gets hers straight from Malayasia when she, her sister or her friend visits. She blessed me with a bit of her cherished curry. She also told me that if I couldn’t find any more that the Indian curry would do. So good luck!

About Katie Mae Stanley

Katie Mae Stanley is the writer at Nourishing Simplicity, where the focus is on nourishing foods, herbal remedies, simple living and faith. Ethnic and Mid-west foods are always a favorite in her kitchen and on her blog. She is also the author of the book Steeped: Simple Nourishing Teas and Treats. Katie Mae spent 10 years as a missionary dorm "mama" for a gaggle (almost 40) of amazing deaf girls at a school for the deaf in Baja California, Mexico. Now she finds herself state side ready to embrace God's next adventure. A cup of tea or coffee and a bit of dark chocolate make an appearance at some point in any given day. You can connect with the Nourishing Simplicity community on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.


  1. I love curries and I’m always on the lookout for a good recipe because I’ve had so many so-so attempts. This sounds wonderful, I’m going to try it!

  2. Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. This was very interesting! Hope to see you next week!

    Be sure to visit on Sunday for Sunday Snippets – your post from Fat Tuesday may be featured there!

  3. Shu Han, isn’t curry amazing!! Do you have many currry recipes on your blog?

  4. I’m from SIngapore which shares almost the same cuisine as Malaysia (: It’s nice to see others itnerested in food from my region! Actually, there are LOTS really really LOTS of different curries form my region so it’s no surprise different brands will give different results.. it might just be a different curry or recipe!

  5. Sweet and Savory- I think regular indian curry powder will do. I was told that the malaysain is hard to come by. they taste very similar.

  6. This looks great but I have no idea about the Malaysian Curry Powder. Is there a way to sub for this?

    You have such interesting recipes. I would like to try some.

  7. This looks wonderful! Thanks for the tip about the curry. I don’t know anyone in Malaysia so this might be hard to get. 🙂

  8. A personal lesson? That would be a dream come true for me. Thank you for sharing at Two for Tuesday. I will be sure to try this.

  9. do you have any phillipino recipes on your blog Alex?

  10. Your article so reminds me of learning to cook with a lovely phillipino woman who also does shadow puppet theater! Ethnic food is so wonderful to explore! Thanks for sharing this on the two for tuesday recipe blog hop! 🙂 Alex@amoderatelife

  11. How wonderful to be taught by that woman! I am on the lookout for someone to teach me… thanks for posting this delicious curry at Two for Tuesdays!

  12. I’m a big fan of Indian food. Curry in particular. You dish looks delicious! I’ll keep my eye out for that special curry!

  13. It is so delicious and smells amazing!!

  14. Such amazing, bold, delicious flavors…I can almost smell it from here. Delish! Thanks for sharing this with Two for Tuesdays this week =)

  15. This looks SO GOOD. Must try!!!!

Speak Your Mind