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Malaysian Curry Chicken (Kari Ayam)

Malaysian Curry Chicken
I confess, I once did not cook curry chicken or kari ayam well. My curry chicken was always too watery, had too much curry powder, or was too loaded with coconut milk. Despite numerous attempts and countless trials and errors, it just never tasted right—frustrating me to no end.


I eventually gave up trying…quietly accepting defeat and the brutal fact that my cooking skills were simply not good enough. I also felt deeply apologetic to my mom and my aunt because obviously I didn’t learn a thing from them regarding curry chicken—even though I spent countless childhood hours helping them prepare this meal. To pacify myself I concluded that it’s just one of those dishes better off ordered at Malaysian restaurants.

You may wonder at this point “Why write about a dish you can’t prepare?” Well sometimes sad stories do indeed have happy endings, sometimes there are actual knights on white horses, and sometimes things do change overnight—like learning to prepare great Malaysian Curry Chicken or kari ayam.

So how did my cooking miraculously improve? Did I pester a restaurant chef until he confessed the secret ratio of curry powder vs. coconut milk vs. chicken meat vs. other spices? Unfortunately I never could keep one tied down long enough. It turns out the secret to delicious Malaysian Curry Chicken originates from my hometown of Penang.

So here is the back story: A fellow Penangite (yes, that is what us folk from Penang call ourselves—at least I do) who lived in Irvine was moving out of state. Having read about my passion for promoting Malaysian food, he offered me his entire stash of spices, secret ingredients, and cooking goodies. I greedily—I mean graciously—accepted his kind gesture and suddenly turned into an authentic Malaysia Curry Chicken master chef overnight!

So now “What is the secret ingredient?” you ask. It’s an instant curry paste made in Malaysia. The curry paste makes curry chicken so good and aromatic that my mom’s and aunt’s version pales in comparison (shhh, just don’t tell them!). I agree with Mr. P when he says “this is simply The BEST Curry Chicken EVER.” The brand was A1 Best One.

(Note: I no longer recommend the A1 Best One as their quality has gone down quite a bit.)

If you want to buy instant curry paste, check out Asian Supermarket 365.

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39 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

    • yeen

      curry paste is wet from fresh herbs grind together.
      get dried curry powder and put it in your carmalize onions and add your chicken,tou foo or any other protien. salt to taste. milk, or coconut milk or little bit of water enough to make a sauce.

  1. ParamJC

    Bee Yinn,
    Your Blog is absolutely heavenly – simple & lovely dishes!!

    I enjoyed reading each & every dish you posted – & the clarity of the pictures are fantastic!!

    Hope you will be successful in creating more & adding more of the same at myB too!!

    Best Wishes – Param

  2. Meliha

    I found your website through a search on google for “roti canai dipping recipe”. Unfortunately, I did not find any such recipe here. :( Nice blog.

  3. Anonymous

    Thank you for sharing this little gem.I’m vegan and it’s quite hard to find a good ‘chicken’ curry as most Chinese vegetarian restaurants are filled with MSG.I’ve made my potato curry twice and really it’s one of the best curry I’ve had in years.I can’t thank you enough.

  4. Muhammad Ilham


    my chicken curry is watery too, but i prefer it that way, my dad doesn’t like curry which is oily and full of santan, he says it will give him a heart attack soon. i guess i’ve followed his footsteps then in enjoying watery curry.

    however, the secret of my curry is tamarind, and also plenty of curry powder. adabi curry powder for me is good, because it is pedas! i like my food hot and spicy!

  5. Mr. T

    Hey sorry for being lazy (and curious), but can you post or direct to your full recipe with complete instructions?

  6. Anonymous

    R U are from the A1 factory promoting your company products???
    Becoming a Master Curry Chef overnight by using just a curry paste???
    And u dun even have a recipe!!!

    • Seng

      i don’t think u need to be working for A1 to promote the curry sauce. all u need is to give it a try…..honestly, the A1 curry paste or sauce as printed on their new packaging is wonderful. i use that too for my curry and it is simply awesome. it is really up to you how u want ur curry to taste. however i do add other ingredients in to add more flavours to it. A little bit of this n that from the common stuff like garlic, onion, lemongrass, curry leaves, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon stick, star anise, cumin…….without them it still tastes fine though..

  7. Anonymous

    Hi Rasa, your recipes are so exquisite and tasty but I find YOU more beautiful than any recipe ever written by anyone.

    David M Woodbridge

  8. Joyce

    hi, which A1 curry paste should i get? i went to the supermarkets. it seems tat there are a few A1 brands. so confusing. please advise which is the authentic ones!

  9. Rasa Malaysia

    Hi Anonymous – actually the oil comes from the skins of the chicken. If you cook the chicken with its skin on, there will be more oil. ;)

  10. connie

    I totally agree with rasa malaysia . It is indeed very good n tasty . I got my curry paste from Singapore . Everyone thaught i was so good at cooking curry chicken ….HAHAHA!

  11. Hi,i just wondering where can i buy instant curry paste made in Penang that you recommended and what is the brand…? can i buy it in tesco or carre four,i do really need it and important to us since we open a small coffe house in melaka,much appreciate it and this is my e-mail

  12. Mike & lisa

    Hi we love malaysian chicken curry but we dont have the recipe and was wondering if you would kindly give it to us

  13. I can’t find the A1 brand instant chicken curry sauce anywhere – even online anymore! Do you have a contact somewhere for purchasing?

    I love your site, and have missed Malay food ! We lived in KL for a few years when my Dad was in the Peace Corps, and we enjoyed so many meals at the hawker stands. I miss satay and pohpia and murthaba and mee goreng and char kueh teow and….well the list goes on.

    But, I REALLY miss Malay curry with roti canai. I’ve never found another spice paste that duplicates the flavors we had there. And THAT is why I’m desperate to find this A1 brand!

    Any link you can give would be great…Thanks so much

  14. I agree with you, the A1 sauce is simply fantastic. I got the (secret) recipe from my mother-in-law and she swears by the instant curry sauce and specifically told me to get those manufactured in Bkt Mertajam.

    Bravo on the well-written blog and your passion to promote Malaysian food. Not to mention the yummy looking photos!

  15. tone

    Direct link that please. Give a SPECIFIC PRODUCT NAME! It seems you are promoting a website and not a product.

    • Tone – the brand was A1 Best One, which I strongly recommended. Too bad the quality of the product has gone down quite a bit and I no longer recommend it. Hence I added the website for other curry paste.

  16. So what’s the difference between Indian Curry and Malaysian Curry. I am addicted to curry, I started eating a variety of food with curry when I tasted the Japanese chicken curry made by aunt. And so I started having, a lot Indian Curry too in Singapore with my filipino friends.

  17. Wennona taylor

    I had a chicken malaya recently in a local restaurant it was simply delicious. I should like to make it at home, it had pineapple and lychee in it, can you help me please.



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