Nonya Chicken Curry or better known as “Kari Kay” was first made for me by Lianne, a good friend of mine who’s now married and living in Germany, just across the border of the Netherlands. It was really delicious but ohhhhh soooooo spicy..I just love it.. 🙂

She gave me a copy of the recipe and I made it a few days ago. I had a little too much turmeric added in and it turned out very yellowish. Nevertheless, it was as delish as I remembered.

Recipe from Nonya Flavours (Penang Straits Chinese Cuisine) which is jointly published by The State Chinese (Penang) Association & Star Publications

“Chicken Curry is considered one of the 8 main dishes served during the feasting on the eve of a Peranakan wedding.”


  • 4-5 tbsp oil
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1.5 kg meaty chicken pieces (e.g. thighs or drummets)  (I used thighs, deboned and cut into large pieces)
  • 300g potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 400 ml thin coconut milk
  • 100 ml thick coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp sugar

Spice paste to be ground:

  • 30 g or 15 dried chillies, soaked
  • 200 g or 20 shallots
  • 15 g or 3 garlic cloves
  • 20 g belachan, toasted
  • 20 g or 2cm turmeric
  • 20 g or 3 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 g or 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 g or 1 tsp fennel powder


  1. Heat oil in a large pot or deep wok on medium low heat and sautee star anise, cloves and cinammon stick.
  2. Add in spice paste after a minute and stir-fry well. Add 2-3 tbsp thick coconut milk if it’s too dry and fry over low heat till fragrant and oil separates.
  3. Add chicken and fry  for a minute.Add potatoes and pour in thin coconut milk. Simmer till chicken is tender and potatoes are cooked.
  4. Lastly, add thick coconut milk and season with sugar and salt, to taste.
  5. Continue to cook  till gravy is slightly thick.
  6. Serve with boiled white rice or nasi kunyit (turmeric rice) or roti jala.

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