This is an easy, basic (but super delicious) recipe for Singapore Malay style Chicken Curry ( Kari Ayam) using curry powder.
If you’re looking for a quick and delicious meal that’s packed with flavor, look no further than this easy chicken curry recipe! This recipe is perfect for busy weeknights when you want to whip up something delicious without spending hours in the kitchen.
Fun fact: Indians in India do not use curry powder to make curries. Instead, they use a gorgeous blend of spices which differ depending on the type of curry – and the variations are staggering. Now, travel down to Southeast Asia, specifically in Singapore and Malaysia, and you will find readily-stocked and available on our supermarket shelves: Curry Powder.
Cheat Ingredient #1 – Curry Powder
Anyway, my busy working Mom, makes curry this way so this is one of the first few ways I know how to make curry. This might also be a Malay style of making curries, as most Malay households and families I know makes curry using the powder. If there might be a slight difference, is that we like to add dried chilli paste to our base paste for some spice.
While I’ve experimented with authentic Indian recipes and loved those, I find that I kept coming back to this method over and over again.
Using curry powder, this is the easiest cheat recipe ever. It requires minimal ingredients, and yields a hearty dish to be served over rice. I can literally whip this up in 30 minutes for a quick, filling dinner, OR if guests decide to turn up at the last minute. It’s foolproof, and satisfying for so many people.
Type of Curry Powder
Curry powder is a blend of ground spices like coriander seeds, cumin, fennel, cinnamon, amongst many others. The blend would differ by brand.
In Singapore, you can easily purchase curry powders at the supermarkets, but you can also get a custom blends at spice shops at the wet markets. The brands I usually go for would be House Brand, or Baba’s. These are the brands that my Mom always gets, so I am accustomed to the taste! Any brand of choice will do; the ultimate taste will be good.
You would usually be able to purchase specific curry spice blends for chicken or meat curries, fish curry, and even vegetable curry. If you have these options, you want to look for the “chicken” or “meat” curry powder for this recipe. It is not replaceable with fish curry powder – which will have a very distinct taste. I would not recommend vegetable curry powders too, these are usually meant for dhal curry.
FYI, meat and chicken curry powders are fully vegetarian/vegan as it consists of all spices! In fact, I made a delicious, fully vegan Vegetable Curry with the same meat/chicken curry powder right here.
Onion & Ginger
Onion and ginger are crucial base ingredients for good curry. Indian cooking 101. Do NOT skip these two ingredients. I want to say garlic is optional, but garlic makes everything better anyway and you will always have garlic in your pantry. To me, onion, ginger and garlic make up the trinity of base ingredients for a gorgeous pot of curry.
In this quick and easy recipe, I chopped up the onions, and used ready-made minced ginger and garlic. You can finely mince or grate whole ginger and garlic if you’re a lot less lazy than me.
If I did not have minced ginger and garlic on the go, I would throw these three ingredients in a blender with a splash of water and puree to get a paste. This would result in even better flavours and a creamier, thicker curry. This is what I did in my cheesy curry baked rice recipe recipe.
Cheat Ingredient #2 – Chicken Bouillon Stock Cubes
Curry powder is not the only cheat ingredient here; I used chicken stock bouillon cubes. If you’re iffy about using stock cubes, then just use water. The stock cubes I used are lower in sodium and have no added MSG, and these versions are commonplace in supermarkets these days.
It would, of course, be best to use your own homemade chicken broth, but not all of us are as well-organised (or have room in the freezer). If using homemade unsalted broth, or water, then make sure to season adequately. This recipe has been adjusted to account for the presence of salt in the stock cube.
I consider potatoes absolutely essential when making curry. Whenever I make this for guests especially, everyone goes straight for the potatoes! Peel your potatoes and cut them in quarts, for ultra soft potatoes. If you prefer a potato that is not as soft, then halve or even leave them in whole.
I added carrots as well, since I have that in my fridge. Cruciferous or ‘harder’ vegetables that stew well will go great in this curry. I like to add cauliflower and broccoli as well.
Coconut Cream / Coconut Milk
This recipe uses coconut cream. It can also be labelled as coconut milk even though it has a thicker consistency. Coconut cream is sold widely and cheap in supermarkets, and meant for cooking. The brand that I use would be Kara or Ayam Brand.
There would be actual coconut milk that is more liquid in nature. If you are lucky, you have easy access to this at your local markets, where coconuts are pressed fresh to produce the milk. Of course, you can use this as well. With coconut milk, you want to do a 1:1 ratio of coconut milk to water.
There are coconut milk sold in cartons in supermarkets, meant for drinking or as dairy-free milk replacements. These work as well, I would make sure they are the unsweetened variety.
Why does this Curry Chicken look soupy?
One of the most common ‘complaints’ I get from this recipe is that it doesn’t have a thick gravy consistency. This is purely preference! Some of us prefer a more liquid consistency – to better soak up bread with. It’s the consistency that Singaporeans are more used to as well. You can always ADJUST the water amount to your preference.
I used 600ml of water here for a saucier consistency. For a thicker curry, use 200ml. Make sure the liquid is able to at least cover half of the chicken pieces, so it cooks evenly. You can also add more coconut cream, but do note adding too much will create a pale-looking curry.
Another way of getting that thicker gravy is to blend more onions, garlic and ginger paste, and to incorporate dried chilli paste in as well.
What to Serve this with?
Serve this with some rice (try my Nasi Minyak for this!), although I love dipping bread and Butter Naan in this! Whenever I have leftover Pita Breads, I like to make this easy chicken curry for dipping too.
These recipes use curry powder as well:
Watch how to make Easy Curry Chicken
If you like this curry recipe, you will love these too:
Easy Chicken Curry with Curry PowderCourse: Uncategorized
3 tbsps Curry Powder
1 medium Onion, chopped
1 tbsp or 1 inch Ginger, grated
1 tsp or 1-2 cloves of Garlic, minced
600 ml of Water
1 Chicken Stock Cube
200ml Coconut Cream
1 tsp Salt, or to taste
Cilantro, for garnish (optional)
- Add oil to pot, and heat over low to medium heat. Once hot, add onions, ginger and garlic. Saute until fragrant.
- Once fragrant, add the curry powder. Stir well to combine curry powder with the onions. Continuously stir for about 5 minutes and keep a low heat to not burn the curry powder. You should start to get a dark curry paste forming.
- Add the chicken pieces and stir with the curry paste to even coat the chicken. Then add water, and turn up the heat to let it come to a boil.
- Once the water comes to a boil, add potatoes and carrots. Add the chicken stock cube and stir to incorporate well. Turn the heat down to a simmer, and cover the pot with a lid. Let this simmer for 30 minutes, or until chicken is soft and tender.
- At the 30 minute mark, add coconut cream and salt. Gently stir through. Ensure low heat still, otherwise coconut cream might curdle.
- Once curry comes to a bubbling boil, turn off the heat. Curry is done and ready to be served!