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Chinese chicken curry recipe

The Chinese chicken curry recipe in this article is incredibly delicious and can be addictive when served with steamed rice.

This recipe is an easy Chinese curry influenced by the Malaysian cooking style. It is slightly different from the Malay and Nyonya style curry chicken, and you will expect the same flavor offered by the Chinese restaurants in Malaysia.

This easy curry recipe is suitable for the whole family to enjoy. It is less spicy because I have removed the seeds of the red chili and does not use bird’s eye chilies, chili powder, and dried chilies.

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Let’s enjoy this delicious Chinese chicken curry. This recipe is full of herbs and spices flavor, minus the heat of most of the curries.

How to make Chinese chicken curry (Malaysian style)

Here are the detailed steps on how to prepare Chinese chicken curry.

1. Use bone-in, skin-on chicken chunks to make curry

  1. Cut the chicken thighs into large chunks, bone-in and skin-on. Please ask your chicken vendor to do it for you as they have a sharp knife that can easily cut through the bones.
  2. Marinate the chicken pieces with light soy sauce and salt, preferably for half a day, to ensure the flavor penetrates the meat’s inner part.

Note: 

  • You can use boneless chicken breasts to prepare the curry if you prefer boneless. However, the flavor is not as good as the bone-in chicken because the bone imparts flavor to the curry gravy during cooking. You can get around this shortfall by adding some store-bought chicken stock while cooking.
  • If you do not marinate the chicken long enough, you can leave the chicken in the gravy after cooking for a few hours before serving. This step allows the flavor has enough time to penetrate deep into the meat.
Let’s enjoy this delicious Chinese chicken curry recipe. This recipe is full of herbs and spices flavor, minus the heat of most of the curries.

2. Deep-fry the chicken (an optional step)

Deep-frying the chicken pieces before stewing with the curry paste is optional. However, it is a worthy step as the golden brown chicken pieces taste better after cooking.

We deep-fry the chicken in the restaurant instead of stir-frying to speed up the cooking process. After deep-frying, we leave the chicken on paper towels to absorb the excess oil.

Alternatively, you may want to use a non-stick pan to pan-fry it at home, which requires less oil.

3. Prepare the curry paste (the body of the curry)

The curry paste is critical for making a good curry. We use fewer chilies and do not add additional cumin, coriander, and fennel as Indian-style curries. (Note: There is a small amount of each of these spices in the Malaysian curry powder that I use.)

  1. Cut the onions into large chunks. Here is where you can control the thickness of the gravy. Use more onions if you prefer a thicker gravy. 
  2. Peel a few cloves of garlic.
  3. Chop a piece of thumb-size ginger with skin removed.
  4. Cut the galangal into thin slices. It is much harder than ginger and therefore needs to be cut thinly to be blended into paste effectively.
  5. Remove the skin of the turmeric.
  6. Bash the lemongrass, and remove the green section and the fibrous outer layer. Next, cut the inner bulb that is more tender into thin slices.
  7. Remove the seeds of the chilies, and cut them into small pieces.
  8. Crush a few candlenuts 
  9. Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender. Then add a few tablespoons of peanut oil and blend it into a paste. You may need to add a few tablespoons of water if it is too dry to blend.
Let’s enjoy this delicious Chinese chicken curry. This recipe is full of herbs and spices flavor, minus the heat of most of the curries.

Note:

  • You can use shallots instead of onions. However, it needs more time to peel the shallots, and therefore, onions are used regularly in most restaurants.
  • You can use turmeric powder as a substitute for fresh turmeric.
  • The Chinese curry sauce is less spicy than the Malay and Indian curries. You can reduce the curry’s heat by removing the chilies’ seeds and piths. This method is much better than cutting down the number of chilies, resulting in less chili flavor. If you still find that it is too spicy, substitute half the red chilies with red bell pepper.
  • It is better to blend these ingredients longer to ensure that it turns into a smooth paste. Galangal and lemongrass are pretty hard and take time to get crushed in the blender.
  • Candlenuts help thicken the curry. Otherwise, you can use cashew nuts as a substitute. The authentic Malsyain Chinese curry is thickened with crushed candlenuts. Cornstarch slurry is not suitable as the thickener for this curry.

4. Prepare the Malaysian curry powder (the flavor of the curry)

The flavor of the curry is mainly from Malaysian curry powder. I use the Baba brand meat curry powder, which is relatively mild. You can get it online from Amazon or make the curry powder by following the recipe below:

Here are the spices for the Malaysian curry powder: 

Ingredients: 4 dried red chilies, 4 cardamom pods, 1 cinnamon stick (5cm length), 4 tbsp of coriander seeds, 2 tbsp of cumin seeds, 2 tsp of fennel seeds, 10 cloves, 10 black peppercorns, and 1 tsp of turmeric powder. 

Method: Blend all the ingredients into powder.

5. Other ingredients for the Chinese curry

Potato is the favorite item for making any curry because it acts as a sponge, absorbing whatever flavor and making it exceptionally tasty. I like to eat the potatoes more than the chicken itself!

Some less common ingredients are used for cooking Chinese-style curry, but not in Malaysia. You can consider adding frozen peas, red pepper, and snow peas (green peas).

Let’s enjoy this delicious Chinese chicken curry recipe. This recipe is full of herbs and spices flavor, minus the heat of most of the curries.

6. How to cook the Chinese chicken curry

  1. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in the wok.
  2. Pour the blended ingredients into the wok and saute over low heat. The water will slowly evaporate, and the paste becomes thicker and darker. It will take about ten to twenty minutes until it becomes very dry. 
  3. Add the curry leaves, and curry powder.
  4. Add the marinated chicken into the wok, and add about 1.5 cups of water to dilute the curry paste to become a gravy.
  5. Bring the gravy to a boil at medium heat, then reduce the heat to barely simmer and cook for ten minutes.
  6. Add the potatoes and the coconut cream and bring the curry to a boil.
  7. Continue cooking over low heat until the potatoes are tender, about twenty minutes.
  8. Season with sugar and salt to taste.

Note:

  • Olive oil is not suitable for making this curry as the taste is not authentic to Malaysian Chinese curry. Instead, I suggest using peanut oil, corn oil, or palm oil for cooking the curry.
  • The oil will eventually separate from the paste when it starts to dry out if you use more oil. The oil was not separate when I cooked it because I used less oil to make the curry.  It is healthier to make curry this way.
  • Stewing the chicken with high heat is not recommended as it will toughen the meat. Instead, cooking it at low heat will ensure you get tender chicken. That means you can also transfer the curry to the slow cooker to simmer instead of on the stovetop.

I would strongly suggest making this delicious curry for your family dinner or enjoy with friends. Make sure you get ready more white rice which acts as a blank canvas that absorbs all the flavor from the curry gravy. Enjoy 🙂

Do you like curries?  

The vegetable curry recipe is the most popular curry recipe on this food blog. Click here to read more.

Malaysian Chinese vegetable curry Vegetable dishes are usually described as tasteless for those who like to eat meat, but I am convinced that they will submit to the incredible flavor of this vegetable curry prepared with a myriad of herbs and spices.
Chinese-style vegetable cury
Yield: 4 servings

Chinese Chicken Curry Recipe

Chinese chicken curry recipe 5

Chinese chicken curry in this article is incredibly delicious and can be addictive when served with steamed rice.

This recipe is an easy Chinese curry influenced by the Malaysian cooking style. It is slightly different from the Malay and Nyonya style curry chicken, and you will expect the same flavor from the Chinese restaurants in Malaysia.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

A (marinate the chicken)

B (ingredients to be blended)

  • 2 medium-size onions
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 15g ginger
  • 20g galangal
  • 10g turmeric
  • 3 lemongrass
  • 5 red chilies (100g)
  • 5 candlenuts

C (others)

Instructions

Preparation

  1. Cut the chicken thighs into large chunks, bone-in and skin-on. 
  2. Marinate the chicken pieces with light soy sauce and salt for half a day.
  3. Cut the onions into large chunks.
  4. Peel a few cloves of garlic.
  5. Chop a thumbs size ginger with skin removed.
  6. Cut the galangal into thin slices.
  7. Remove the skin of the turmeric.
  8. Bash the lemongrass, and remove the green section and the fibrous outer layer. Next, cut the inner bulb that is more tender into thin slices.
  9. Remove the seeds of the chilies, and cut them into small pieces.
  10. Crush a few candlenuts 
  11. Blend all the ingredients in the blender by adding a few tablespoons of peanut oil and some water.

Cook the curry

  1. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in the wok. Fry the blended ingredients over low heat until it becomes very dry. 
  2. Add the curry leaves, curry powder, and marinated chicken.
  3. Add about 1.5 cups of water to simmer at low heat for ten minutes.
  4. Add the potatoes and the coconut cream and bring the curry to a boil.
  5. Continue cooking over low heat until the potatoes are tender, about twenty minutes.
  6. Season with sugar and salt to taste.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1384Total Fat: 80gSaturated Fat: 25gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 49gCholesterol: 277mgSodium: 1927mgCarbohydrates: 97gFiber: 10gSugar: 42gProtein: 78g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 21/6/2022

Jean

Saturday 9th of July 2022

Hi KP, I enjoy reading through all your recipes. I recently made your Malaysian Chicken Curry and it was awesome! Thank you so much for sharing all your wonderful recipes

KP Kwan

Tuesday 12th of July 2022

Hi Jean, It is my pleasure to share. Thanks for following my blog, and I hope you enjoy cooking these dishes. KP Kwan

KP Kwan

Thursday 23rd of June 2022

Hi, this is KP Kwan. I am happy to see you in this comment area, as you have read through my recipe. I am glad to reply to any questions and comments as soon as possible.

Raymond

Saturday 25th of June 2022

@KP Kwan, What type of onions are medium size onions? are you referring to shallots type or those big purple onions used to make egg omelette, big onion egg?

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