This Nyonya Style Easy Chicken Curry Recipe is packed full of tingling heat and deliciously intense flavour. Curry leaves, kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass band together with aromatic spices for a flavour experience you’ll never forget.
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Curries are a weekly occurrence on the Wandercooks menu – we’ve been cooking them together since our blog began. From spicy panang curry pastes to fragrant fish curries and other moreish cross cultural creations… there’s something indescribably magical about blending fresh herbs and spices into delicious, aromatic creations. No wonder curries are so insanely addictive!
Easy Chicken Curry Recipe – Nyonya Style
This Easy Chicken Curry recipe was inspired by a version we found in Madhur Jaffrey’s Ultimate Curry Bible. Our edition is thoroughly well-thumbed and full of post-it notes after years of cooking together, but it still never fails to dish up the goods. Our method below blends together tips from our wonderful Singaporean friend along with a few tasty tweaks we’ve made after endless iterations of cooking it together.
We love cooking curries in our Le Creuset Casserole Dish because the enamel coating means the curry ingredients don’t stick (not to mention making it suuuuper easy to clean), and the cast iron retains heat so it stays nice and warm for when we’re ready to eat. Plus, it’s easy to think of using the gorgeous French-made cookware for European dishes only – but this dish cooks a downright delicious curry just as well as any boeuf bourguignon!
So just what is Nyonya cuisine, you ask?
Well, it’s a fusion of Chinese and Malay culture and food that dates back to the 15th and 16th centuries. Marriages between Chinese sailors and Malay women led to the creation of a whole new culture and cuisine. Known as Nyonya (or Peranakan or Straits Chinese), it blends the best of both worlds together, with fresh aromatic ingredients like turmeric, galangal, chilli, lemongrass taking centre stage.
If you’re a history nerd like me and love learning about the amazing edible world we live in, you can read more about the fascinating history of Nyonya culture and cuisine here. And if you’re ever in Singapore, we highly recommend a visit to the gorgeous Peranakan Museum.
- 1 kg chicken breasts, chopped
- 3 tbsp curry powder
- 10 fresh curry leaves, finely chopped
- 8 fresh kaffir leaves, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 4 cm ginger, finely chopped
- 3 shallots, finely chopped
- 1 stalk lemongrass, finely chopped
- 1 small red chilli, finely chopped (add more if you like it spicy!)
- 5 medium potatoes, quartered
- 2 cups water
- 300 g coconut milk
- 2 tomatoes, diced into large chunks
- vegetable oil, for cooking
- Curry time - yes!
- Start by pouring half your curry powder all over the chicken pieces and setting aside in the fridge to let the flavour infuse (for 30 mins up to half a day, depending on when you're ready to cook).
- Meanwhile, heat 1-2 tbsp oil in a Le Creuset Casserole Dish or similar, and add the curry leaves, kaffir lime leaves, garlic, ginger, shallots, lemongrass and chilli along with the rest of your curry powder. Fry everything together for a few minutes until lusciously fragrant. If the oil starts to cook off too much, add another 1-2 tbsp.
- Next, add your potatoes and stir fry for a 3-5 mins. Remove them from pan and set aside. Now add your chicken pieces and 1 tbsp oil and fry gently until lightly browned. Pop the potato back in to the dish and pour in the water. Bring it to the boil before reducing the heat to low. Let it simmer for 20 mins.
- Pour in the coconut milk and cook for a further 5 mins. (Option: You can remove from the heat and leave things here if you're cooking in advance.)
- Just before you're ready to serve, add in your tomatoes and stir.
- Serve with fluffy white rice.