Malaysian Chicken and Potato Curry


serves 4-6
3 lb/1.35 kg chicken, skinned
1 tsp salt
4 red chillis, seeded and crushed
2 shallots., peeled and finely chopped
2 tbsp mild or medium strength curry powder
2 tsp freshly grated ginger
8 cardamom pods., split open and the seeds pounded
3 1/2 cups (27 fl oz) 750 ml hand-hot water
3/4 lb/340 g desiccated coconut
8 tbsp groundnut (peanut) oil
2 medium onions., peeled and sliced
1 1b/455 g potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 stalk of lemon grass


1. Joint the chicken. Mix together the salt, chillis, shallots, curry powder, ginger and cardamom and rub into the chicken. Leave to marinate for half an hour or so.

2. Meanwhile, make the coconut milk. Put 1/2 pint (280 ml) water in a blender with the coconut and blend for 30 seconds. Strain it through a sieve into a bowl, pressing down hard to extract as much of the coconut "essence" as possible. Put the coconut back in the blender with the rest of the hot water. Blend and sieve into a second bowl. This time the coconut milk will be thinner.

3. Heat the oil in a large heavy frying pan and fry the onions until golden brown. Remove them and put to one side.

4. Fry the potatoes until golden brown and remove those. Drain the chicken and fry in the oil for 10-15 minutes, turning it from time to time. Add the thin coconut milk, lemon grass and any remaining marinade.

5. Simmer gently until the chicken is almost done, then add the potatoes, onions and coconut milk. Cook, uncovered, over a low heat until the potatoes and chicken are tender and the gravy almost absorbed.

6. Serve with rice and heated flat bread such as nan or paratha

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