a quick midweek curry: malaysian-style chicken curry

easy Malaysian-style chicken curry
This Malaysian-style curry is wonderfully scented, quite hot, and a little creamy. It is the perfect way to use up any leftover chicken from Sunday's roast.

I like to make my own curry spice mixes, but there are some really good ones out there. If you are looking for a Malay spice mix, then you really need a sweet curry blend that includes aniseed flavours, including star anise and fennel - this is what sets a Malaysian curry apart from an Indian one.

But while I may like to make my own mixes, my Asian friends think I'm mad to waste my time, and over the years have recommended various brands that are easily available in this country, in particular those made by Shan Foods. Frankly, if it is good enough for their mothers, then it is good enough for me!

Shan's do a Malay Biryani mix which is quite spicy, and definitely needs a little cream or coconut milk to calm it down. Seasoned Pioneers have one that is fragrant with cardamom, galangal and cloves and Steenbergs have a fabulous Malay masala mix which is infused with fennel and cinnamon. If you can't get any of these, I would suggest getting a good quality garam masala spice mix and adding a little ground fennel.

Many curries need long slow cooking in order for all the flavours to develop and to cook the raw spices, but dry-frying the spices first gives the spices a head start.

Fabulous food blogger, Rupert, cooking gorgeous food at Casa Rosada in the Algarve, suggested that my magic cookie dust might work as a thickener in a curry. There was certainly no reason why it shouldn't. I tried it here, but to be honest, the curry was already quite spicy so while it did thicken, there wasn't any appreciable difference in flavour. Next time, I'll cook a much milder curry and give it a try!

My quick Malaysian-style chicken curry
Serves 2 (this is very approximate, a rough and ready recipe!)
Skill level: Easy

leftover roast chicken
vegetable oil
1 x English onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste (or 2 tsps fresh chopped garlic and 1 tsp of freshly grated ginger)
2 tsp Shan's Malay Biryani Spice mix
water or chicken stock
magic cookie dust (optional!)
8 x baby plum or cherry tomatoes, quartered
half tsp tamarind paste (or a splash of fresh lemon or lime juice)
Shan Malay Chicken Biryani Mix
leftover cooked potatoes, cut into chunks - I also added some leftover veg including peas and broad beans
a splash of single cream (or coconut milk)
chopped cucumber and spring onions, drizzled with a little dark soy sauce, to serve
sambal, to serve
rice, to serve

  1. Dry-fry the spices for about 30 seconds, before tipping them into a small bowl.
  2. Add oil to the pan and when hot, add the onions and cook over a medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, when they should begin to soften. Add the ginger-garlic paste, stir well and cook for a minute or two.
  3. Add the refreshed spices and stir well to ensure that they are well mixed with the onions, before adding torn up strips of roast chicken. Cook for another minute before adding the tomatoes.
  4. Add about 125ml of chicken stock or water and half a teaspoon of tamarind paste or a splash of fresh lemon or lime juice. Bring to the boil, then simmer for about 15 minutes. About 5 minutes before the end, add the cooked potatoes. Ensure that they are completely warmed through.
  5. If the curry is too liquid, you can add some of the magic cookie dust to thicken it up! About 1 tablespoon will do.
  6. Check the seasoning and add a splash of cream.
  7. Serve with rice, cucumber and spring onion salad and sambal.


belleau kitchen said...

brilliant idea to use the sunday roast to make this... so full of spice and flavur

Marmaduke Scarlet said...

Thanks Dom! I bought a particularly hefty beast to roast last week, so I'm going to have to think of more inspiration!

Normally I like the whole thing of a long slow curry, bubbling away, partying in the pot and not eaten for at least a day or possibly two . . . but this ticked all the boxes on taste and speed! Barely took longer than cooking the rice!

MaryMoh said...

I love curries, especially chicken curry. I always make my own curry paste. Back home in Malaysia, we can easily get freshly made curry paste. It's so convenient. But sometimes when I'm lazy, I do go for the packet ones. Not too bad. It's a smart way to use left over roast. I always use fresh chicken. Leftover roast always ends up in my sale. Next time I must try to use them in curry.

Marmaduke Scarlet said...

Mary - you're right, slow cooking with fresh chicken gets a much better flavour - especially the next day when all the flavours have got to know each other!

BTW - can you help? I have a memory of my mother buying square blocks of curry paste in a market in KL, but I have never seen anything like that here. Was I imagining it?

belleaquablog said...

Ha - I always thought malay curries were sweet and sickly, and you have just proved me wrong.

BTW, I have just moved to London and haven't been able to buy and Steenbergs spices - do you know where I can get some?

Ben Jones said...

I have a beautiful leftover rib joint of beef that I am going to slice thinly and make into a fragrant curry with coconut milk and tamarind ... I'm looking forward to it more than the roast itself. But what to do with the leftover Yorkshire Pudding?