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Chunky Nyonya chicken curry in a blue bowl.

Easy Nyonya Chicken Curry

A creamy coconut base wraps around aromatic curry leaves, kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass in this fragrant Nyonya Chicken Curry. Packed full of tingling spice with just the right amount of heat!
Course Curry
Cuisine Malaysian, Singaporean
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 643kcal
Cost $15



  • 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 4 tbsp oil in a casserole dish or large pot, 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 causing the ingredients to stick, add another 1-2 tbsp. Next, add your potatoes and stir fry for a 3-5 mins. Remove them from pan.
  • Now add your chicken pieces and 2 tbsp oil and fry gently until lightly browned.
  • Pop the potato back in the dish and pour in the water. Bring it to the boil before reducing the heat to low. Let simmer for 20 minutes. Pour in the coconut milk and cook for a further 5 mins until thickened. (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 through.
  • Serve with fluffy white rice.



Cook's Tips
  • If you find during the frying stage the ingredients start to stick, adding a little extra oil or slightly reducing heat should avoid burning.
  • Some people prefer to use chicken breast - this is fine, just account for the tougher cut of meat and marinate overnight if possible, then cook for slightly longer to really let that flavour sink in.
  • Cut the curry and lime leaves very fine so they melt into the sauce. If you want a less aromatic dish, keep the leaves whole, make a small tear in them to release the flavour and remove before serving.
  • Putting the tomato in the end helps to cook it through gently and allows it to retain its shape. If you put it in earlier and cook it too long, it will break down into the sauce and you'll lose the extra texture.
  • Could I make this curry in advance? Yes. If you want to make in advance, pour in the coconut milk then turn off the heat and allow to cool before refrigerating. When you reheat it ready to serve, then pop in the tomatoes 5 minutes beforehand to warm them through.
  • Can Nyonya chicken curry be frozen? We'd recommend eating it within 3-4 days, and only freezing if you're really not going to eat it all in that time. It freezes fine, however, sometimes the potato can be a little watery or floury when reheating.
Variations & Substitutes
  • Make this dish vegan by swapping out the chicken for tofu. Viola!
  • You can swap shallots for a brown onion.
  • For the kaffir lime leaves, you can purchase these fresh, frozen or dried at your local Asian supermarket or online.  If you're really stuck, substitute with regular lime zest. This will yield a different flavour though.


Calories: 643kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 64g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 160mg | Sodium: 342mg | Potassium: 2546mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 835IU | Vitamin C: 112mg | Calcium: 161mg | Iron: 14mg