malay chicken curry rita zahara

Rich & Fragrant Malay Chicken Curry

By Elizabeth Liew  

May 17, 2019

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The distinctive fragrance of celebrity chef Rita Zahara's delicious Malay chicken curry inspires warm memories of big dinners with family and friends. Comfort your soul with this succulent, traditional recipe that has been passed on from generations.


Watch the video guide below:

  • Yields: Serves 6 to 8


1 onion, peeled and sliced

3 cloves

3 cardamoms

3 star anise

1 stick cinnamon

5 stalks curry leaves

2 tbsps curry powder

1 L (4 cups) water

1 medium chicken , cut into 8-12 pcs

2 potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters

400 ml coconut milk

2 green and red chillies each, slit midway

1 tomato, cut into quarters

Salt, to taste

Sugar , to taste

2 tbsps crisp-fried shallots

Ground Paste

5-7 dried chillies, soaked to soften, then cut into lengths

7 cloves garlic, peeled

5-cm knob of ginger, peeled and chopped

3 green chillies


1Prepare Ground Paste. Put green chillies, garlic, ginger, dried red chillies and a bit of water in a blender and process into a paste.

2Heat some oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add sliced onion and stir-fry until lightly browned. Add cloves, cardamoms, star anise and cinnamon and stir-fry until fragrant.

3Toss in curry leaves. Add ground paste and stir-fry for a few minutes.

4Add curry powder and mix well. When the mixture is well combined, add some of the water, stir the ingredients, then add chicken. Cook for about 10 minutes, then add potatoes and the remaining water.

5Mix well and let gravy simmer until chicken is cooked and potatoes are tender.

6Stir-in coconut milk and add chillies. Bring to the boil.

7Add tomato and season with salt and sugar to taste. Add crisp-fried shallots. Dish out and serve hot with plain rice.