My Mother-In-Law’s Yummy Chicken & Potato Curry (Malaysian Chinese Style)

Good evening, dear friends :D

I learned how to cook the Chinese version of Chicken & Potato Curry from my late mother-in-law more than 20 years ago. She was a really good cook (as all mothers are! :wink: ) and I’m glad I had learned many traditional Hokkien and festive dishes from her before she passed away when she was 82 years old.

This Chicken Curry dish is a must-have for my husband and it is one of his comfort foods – the other one is Braised Pork Ribs With Chestnuts. On festive occasions, this curry will be on the dining table and often eaten with Hokkien Mee (Egg Noodles).

My youngest son, Daryl, helped me to take these pictures while I was cooking the curry for our Winter Solstice Festival Dinner…, this will be like a pictorial recipe that I will be walking through with you. :lol:


Ingredients -

3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks, deep fry in oil until half cooked

2 large onions, peeled and cut into chunks

1 rice bowl (about 15) chopped shallots

2 boxes of coconut milk, or santan from 2 coconuts (mix 3/4 of the thick coconut milk with 2 cups of water, reserve the 1/4 left for later use)

RM2 of wet chicken curry paste bought from an Indian spice stall

(or substitute with 5 tbsps curry powder, 5 candlenuts/buah keras, 5 cloves garlic, 1 inch knob of fresh ginger, 3 fresh red chilis – all blended)


3 whole chicken legs, cut up and marinated with 2 tbsps salt and 3 tbsps curry powder

1 bunch curry leaves (from my garden)

2 stalks of lemon grass/serai – smashed a bit to release its aromatic oils


Method -

1) In a hot wok, heat up 1/2 cup (125 ml)  of oil and fry shallots until golden and aromatic.

2) Add in the curry paste and keep stirring to prevent burning until the oil separates from the paste and it is very aromatic, about 5 minutes or so. This gives the curry a rich, bright orange colour when it is cooked.



3) Add in the marinated chicken pieces and stirfry until it is half cooked – this is to seal in the chicken juices and make the chicken fragrant and tasty



4) Next, add in the half-cooked potatoes, large onions, lemon grass and curry leaves.

5) Give them a good stir for about 2 minutes.


6) Pour in the diluted 3 and 3/4 cups of coconut milk. My rule of thumb for this is to make sure that the coconut milk is enough to just cover the chicken and potatoes.

7) Bring to a boil, and then lower the heat to medium to simmer the curry for about 25 to 30 minutes, until the chicken is tender, the potatoes soft. Remember to stir the curry often to prevent burning. Add a little more water if the curry appears to be drying up.

8 ) When the curry is ready, season with salt and pour in the last 1/4 cup of thick coconut milk. The coconut milk loses most of its aroma when boiled for a while, and by adding a bit of thick coconut milk at the last minute gives the curry a richer, aromatic taste. :wink:


Voila! The Chicken & Potato Curry is ready to be served! :D


I hope you will like this curry if you try cooking it at home – it goes very well with white bread or hot rice. :wink:

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54 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    sweetrosie said,

    Excellent – another heritage recipe, thank you choesf :) There was so much information in there- frying the potato, leaving the lemongrass whole, the last adding of the coconut milk… I am really looking forward to trying it.

    I will have to use the curry powder though – or maybe I can find a jar of paste in the Asian grocers. It might be a little bit the same.

    I am so envious of your beautiful curry leaves from your own garden. I wish I could grow them.

    Darryl took wonderful photos :) How lucky you could cook with your hands free!

  2. 2

    happyhomemaker88 said,

    You are very welcome, dear sweetrosie! :D

    This is a very traditional Chinese type of curry and it is different from the Indian, Malay or Thai curries. I think the pre-packed curry paste sold in stores would work because my sister-in-law (my mother-in-law’s other daughter-in-law :lol: ) uses this type of curry paste in her curries and they turn out well, too. The secret to this type of Chinese curry is to have lots of shallots, curry leaves, curry paste are “fried” until the oil separates, and the potatoes are fried until half cooked to prevent them from falling apart.

    You are envious of my curry leaves and I am so envious of your oregano and rosemary plants that you grow. I tried growing some basil and rosemary for my Western dishes but they died.

    Yes, Daryl is my appointed photographer these days when I needed my hands free….it is difficult to photos when we are cooking. :roll:

    Have a wonderful week ahead! Hope your weather gets cooler – here it is much cooler with the rain on and off for days….

    With love, hugs and joy,

    choesf :D

  3. 3

    [...] Rolls and a Vietnamese Salad Jump to Comments happyhomemaker’s heritage Malaysian chicken curry recipe required a trip to the small Asian grocer just up the road. This lady continues to expand my [...]

  4. 4

    happyhomemaker88 said,

    Wow, sweetrosie’s recipes are making my mouth water….together, both our blogs are bound to make everyone that reads and cooks our recipes put on some weight! :lol: :lol: :lol:

    Thank you for your kind comments and the pingback!

    Have a wonderful week ahead.


    choesf :D

  5. 5

    lamer said,

    I tink it is very useful to me for my Project. Only thing is… wat is its origin?

  6. 6

    happyhomemaker88 said,

    Hi there and welcome, dear lamer :D

    I’m sorry I can’t help you there, you may like to look into the recipe books to find further information there.

    Good Luck!

    Best wishes,

    choesf :D

  7. 7

    esh said,

    Thanks for the homemade curry chicken recipe. It sounds delicious as it looks and i can’t wait to try it for my hubby.

    Looking forward to more homey recipes.

    Rgds, esh

  8. 8

    happyhomemaker88 said,

    Hi there and welcome, dear esh :D

    Thank you for your lovely comments. My husband simply loves this curry and he will have it with steamed white rice and a few slices of white bread. This curry does not have too many strong spices like Indian curries, and so, even kids can try this curry.

    I’m sure your hubby will love your curry, too! :D

    With peace and harmony,

    choesf :D

  9. 9

    regina said,

    Hi, I’d like to cook Chinese Chicken Curry and come by your recipe. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I’ll let you know after I make it. The only thing is that I need to find curry leaves here. Better if I can grow the plant by myself. :D

    • 10

      happyhomemaker88 said,

      Hi there and welcome, dear Regina :D

      The curry leaves add a wonderful aroma to this curry… I like to put a big bunch of curry leaves in this curry. However, if you can’t find any where you stay, then double the portion of lemon grass. Let me know how your curry turns out. Happy Cooking! :D

      With peace and joy,

      choesf :D

  10. 11

    manila said,

    Hi Choesf,

    The curry looks good and tempting. I am sure it will taste absolutely delicious. This is pretty much like a Indian curry only lemon grass is not used by many people. I use it all the time, I have lemon grass planted in the house so that I can use it whenever I want.

    See that’s why mother-in-law always says “If you want to eat good food, go to Malaysia”.

    I believe her, although I love all kinds of food, wherever there is good food, there’s me. Lol.

    • 12

      happyhomemaker88 said,

      Hi there, dear manila :D

      Oh yes, my family really love this chicken curry – it is the thicker version with lots of lemon grass and curry leaves, giving it a strong, wonderful aroma to it. Here in Malaysia, we have so many versions of curry chicken – Malay, Indian, Chinese and Nyonya – they all taste distinctly differently. :wink:

      Wow, looking at this recipe again makes my mouth water and now I want to cook this – it has been a while since we had this. :lol:

      Yes, in Malaysia, there are so many cultures here and therefore, we can easily find various types of good food at reasonable prices – Italian, Chinese, Malaysian, Indian, Malay, Nyonya, Taiwanese, Indonesian ….


      choesf :D

  11. 13

    Surely a different way than what I’m used to! Looks very tasty!

    • 14

      happyhomemaker88 said,

      Hi there and welcome, dear Chris :D

      Yes, this is another interesting way of cooking curries. There are many types of curries. Thank you for your kind comments. :wink:

      Do have a lovely weekend!

      With peace and harmony,

      choesf :D

  12. 15

    happyhomemaker88 said,

    Hi there, dear all :D

    I have had some feedback from those who had read this recipe – that the curry :-

    1) is a Nyonya curry (it is not)

    2) should not have potatoes

    3) doesn’t look like the other curries usually found in Malaysia

    In Malaysia, there are many types of curries and they are cooked differently according to the various races (Malays, Indians, Chinese, Mamaks or Indian Muslims), Nyonya/Peranakn, Eurasians and even Japanese). You have to come to Malaysia to know and taste all of them. There is no one correct way to cook curries but everyone has his or her own favourite version. :wink:

    Happy Cooking!

    With best wishes,

    choesf :D

  13. 16

    Nic said,

    Hello again. I’m going to try this too to accompany the Nasi Lemak. If I use a whole chicken, could you please help & adjust measurements of ingredients, pretty please?? :$ Can I omit buah keras? Not sure if get them in UK. Lastly, is it ok to use can coconut milk? Thank you so much Nic x

    • 17

      happyhomemaker88 said,

      Hello again, dear Nic :D

      Yes, you can use canned coconut milk, and you can omit the buah keras. If you are using 1 whole chicken, you need to add 50 % more of the ingredients listed here. :wink:

      Oh, do adjust the water or coconut milk to your preference, okay? Best to start with lesser liquid and if the curry is too thick, then you can add water slowly and adjust the thickness.

      Yummy…now you have made me feel like cooking this for my family. :lol:

      With best wishes,

      choesf :D

  14. 18

    D Moy said,

    This sounds like how my uncle made curry chicken. However, your recipe specified “RM2 of wet chicken curry paste”–What is RM2? Thanks.

    • 19

      happyhomemaker88 said,

      Hi there and welcome, dear D Moy :D

      Thank you for your comments. RM2 is my Malaysian currency Ringgit, i.e. it costs 2 Ringgit for the curry paste. However, I have to say that with this harder economic times, RM2 of curry paste no longer as much and now, we have to buy RM3 to RM4 of curry paste. :lol:

      May I know which country you are from?

      Do have a wonderful week ahead!

      With best wishes,

      choesf :D

      • 20

        D Moy said,

        Hi! Thanks for the speedy reply. I’m from the USA. I have a 10 ounce (283g) jar of mild curry paste that I am trying to use. Can’t wait to try your recipe. I have memories of my uncle frying the potatoes and anxiously waiting for the curry chicken to be ready.

        Thank you for sharing your recipe and bringing back food associated memories!

      • 21

        happyhomemaker88 said,

        You are welcome, dear D Moy. My sister-in-law uses bottled or packed curry paste, too, in her curries. Happy Curry Cooking! :D

        With best wishes,

        choesf :D

  15. 22

    g scorns said,

    Hi there, Just wondering what RM2 means?


    • 23

      happyhomemaker88 said,

      Hi there and welcome, dear gS :D

      RM stands for Ringgit Malaysia, our local currency. It is about USD0-60.

      If you can’t buy fresh curry paste in your country, you can use bottled or packaged curry paste, too.

      With best wishes,

      choesf :D

  16. 24

    KY said,

    Hi there, your curry chicken looks delicious! I was told to marinate the chicken with tumeric and salt, curry powder and sugar, and from your blog, curry powder and salt. Which is best? Also, can we skip the pre-cooking part for the potatoes? Thanks for the tip on reserving 1/4 of the coconut milk for the end.

    On another topic, I wonder if you could give me some insight on this – I have an old-fashioned cast-iron wok (‘sang wok’) given to me and it’s already seasoned with use. However, I can’t get it really clean. Every time I wipe the wok with white kitchen (paper) towels, I’ll see black specks on it. I don’t know if it’s rust, carbon or other harmful particles which will go into my food! I would scrub the wok with the coconut husk scrub but the black specks are still there. Thanks!

    • 25

      happyhomemaker88 said,

      Hi there and welcome, dear KY :D

      Thank you for your kind comments. :D

      The marinating part of the chicken is according to individual preferences. In this case, I had followed my mother-in-law’s technique by just using curry powder and salt. Personally, I see no harm in adding the turmeric and sgar as well. The pre-cooking part of the potatoes is to add a “skin” to them and to prevent the potatoes from falling apart into smaller pieces during the cooking time. But, if you are short of time or prefer not to fry the potatoes, this part can be omitted. :wink:

      I am very sorry I can’t advise you on the “sang wok”. :oops: Heheh, I have had disastrous results using it and in the end, I just threw it away! :roll: :lol: The black wok I am using now doesn’t rust at all but I don’t know what it is called in Cantonese.

      Happy Cooking with your curry chicken!

      With best wishes,

      choesf :D

      • 26

        KY said,

        Hi choesf,

        I cooked the curry chicken today and it turned out well. :) I marinated the chicken overnight with curry powder and salt, and also fried the potatoes. I used a packet of Tean’s chicken curry paste and about 200ml canned coconut milk. How many ml does 2 boxes of coconut milk give you?


      • 27

        happyhomemaker88 said,

        Hi there, dear KY :D

        I’m glad your curry chicken turned out well. It is better if the chicken can be marinated overnight…the taste is more infused into the chicken. I forgot to mention that the standard size of the boxes of coconut boxes used here – if I’m not wrong it about 150 to 200 ml per box. I’ll go check it out at the grocery shops and confirm it here tomorrow (and update my post, too).

        Good Night!

        With best wishes,

        choesf :D

  17. 28

    Badi Nazerian said,

    Dear Choesf,

    The meal looks very delicious and I am going to give it a try tomorrow. I tried a chicken curry with potatoes very long time ago, while travelling across Malaysia and I am happy that I came across your recipe with a lots of information on every ingredient.

    Best wishes,

    Badi Nazerian

    • 29

      happyhomemaker88 said,

      Hi there and welcome, dear Badi Nazerian :D

      Thank you for your kind comments. I’m very happy to know that you have been to Malaysia and tried our diverse cultures’ cuisine. Hope you like my mother-in-law’s chicken curry recipe/ :wink:

      Do have a lovely weekend!

      With best wishes,

      choesf :D

  18. 30

    agentcloudy said,

    This was wonderful. It was the first recipe I tried, and I been cooking nearly a recipe a day since from this blog! Check out the results ->

    • 31

      happyhomemaker88 said,

      Wow, your curry chicken looks so scrumptious, dear agentcloudy. You have made me drool over your pictures and influenced me into cooking curry chicken tonight! :lol:

      Happy Cooking! I’m glad you are promoting Malaysian food in Australia… ***2 thumbs up*** for you!

      With best wishes,

      choesf :D:

  19. 32

    maltiger said,

    you also can just order CHILLIZ Chicken Curry, from TRASIA GmbH or from Oriental crops .

    Taste like prepared by my grandmother!!


    • 33

      happyhomemaker88 said,

      Hi there and welcome, dear maltiger :D

      Thank you for your tips on where to buy curry paste. Do have a wonderful weekend! :D

      With best wishes,

      choesf :D

  20. 34

    Vanessa said,

    Looks delicious! Was a Singaporean but moved to Australia, this looks just like the curry that I used to eat there and miss terribly. How much in ML or cup of the curry paste do I use? I have a tub of it, and I have no idea how to measure out 2RM.

    • 35

      happyhomemaker88 said,

      Hi there and welcome, dear Vanessa :D:

      I’m afraid I don’t know the weight of the curry paste….but you can put in about 4 to 5 heaping tablespoons of the bottled or packeted curry paste – the more you use, the more fragrant the curry will be. Then after your first try, you can adjust accordingly the curry paste for your next curry chicken recipes. :idea:

      Heheh, everytime someone posts a comment here and I come to this post, it makes me want to cook curry chicken with potatoes…that’s what I did on a few occasions after I had replied to the comments here. :lol: That’s how this curry has impacted on my family – it is really good and a typical Chinese chicken curry style – wow, tastes absolutely delicious when eaten with fresh, soft white bread. :D

      Happy Cooking!

      With best wishes,

      choesf :D

  21. 36

    Vanessa said,

    I tried it and it was really rushed because I did it for Home Ec in school – still turned out delish! I didn’t marinate the chicken bcos it was still frozen the night before (last min. thing), I added the curry paste randomly throughout the cooking process, and I didn’t do the coconut mlk with proper measurements (moremore SOME WATER moremore) and only left it to simmer for 10 – 15 minutes (chicken was a little overcooked; potatos were fine) but I still loved it.

    • 37

      happyhomemaker88 said,

      Hi there, dear Vanessa :D

      I’m glad your curry chicken turned out well – good job! **thumbs up**

      With best wishes,

      choesf :D

  22. 38

    [...] My Mother-In-Law's Yummy Chicken & Potato Curry (Malaysian Chinese … Jan 6, 2008 … Hi, I'd like to cook Chinese Chicken Curry and come by your recipe. Thanks for sharing the recipe. … [...]

  23. 39

    nicole vatanavimlakul said,

    This curry is to die for!!!! It’s so good you’ll be asked for the recipe! Thanks again Choesf for sharing this recipe.
    Nic (London)

    • 40

      happyhomemaker88 said,

      Hi there and welcome, dear Nic :D

      Thank you very much for sharing your feedback on this recipe. I’m glad you like it, too! :D

      With best wishes,

      choesf :D

  24. 41

    Whenpigfly said,

    Hi, I will be cooking your curry chicken today. A couple of questions. If I am cooking one and a half whole chicken. How much coconut milk I will need? And I have bought a1 curry sauce so 1 packet enough ? And lastly if I want to keep this cooked curry chicken? How can I store it, in the fridge?

    • 42

      happyhomemaker88 said,

      Hi there and welcome, dear whenpigfly :D

      I’m sorry for the late reply. :oops:

      When I cook one chicken, I would use 2 cups of thick coconut milk (or 2 tins). So, for your 1 1/2 chickens, that would be 3 cups of coconut milk for a thicker curry consistency. For the curry sauce, depending on the size, 2 packets would be better and stronger. :idea:

      I usually keep my cooked curry chicken for 2 days at the most in the refrigerator. Not longer as I worry that the curry and coconut milk will cause wind in the stomach when we eat the curry. I know some people freeze the curry chicken for eating later. :wink:

      Hope your curry chicken turns out yummy as well! Have a wonderful weekend!

      With best wishes,

      choesf :D

  25. 43

    Happy Mum said,

    You really made my day, today. We’ve got a nice dinner with curry chicken. I went to the Asian shop and there were more than 10 types of curry paste and powder (Indian and Thai stype) then luckily I found a pack of Malaysian curry powder and paste. It was soooo good. Thanks a bunch for a lovely recipe.

    • 44

      happyhomemaker88 said,

      Hi there and welcome, dear Happy Mum :D

      Thank you for your feedback on this recipe. I’m really glad your curry chicken turned out superb! :D

      With best wishes,

      choesf :D

  26. 45

    Jt said,

    My dear friend,
    2TBSP of salt is way too much to marinate don’t you think?
    JT from Penang.

    • 46

      Hi there, dear JT from Penang :D

      I usually like to put more salt when marinating the chicken for cooking curry, then I taste the curry when it is almost done to see if more salt is required. Usually not much by then. :wink:

      Salt amount can be reduced according to individual preference, too.

      With best wishes,

      choesf :D

  27. 47

    Joel said,

    hi can i check with u the curry chicken u have posted is for how many person?

    • 48

      Hi there, dear Joel :D

      This recipe is enough to serve 6 persons (like my family size) if you have another 2 dishes (e.g. tofu/omelette and vegetables) with rice. So, it is like 3 chicken legs with a thigh or drumstick portion for each person. More chicken is needed for big eaters. Leftover curry chicken will taste even better the next day! :wink:

      Last weekend, I cooked this as one of the dishes for a memorial service for my husband’s ancestors…you can eat the curry with bread, too.

      Hope you like this recipe!

      With best wishes,

      choesf :D

  28. 49

    selena said,

    it was a very good dish and I like it beacause I like curry

  29. 51

    citygirl said,

    Thanks for sharing ur cooking…

  30. 53

    nic said,

    Hello Choesf! Hope you are well. I am making this “big hit” curry again tomorrow for my daughter’s 6th b’day. My first attempt was on her 2nd birthday party if you recalled? Lol

    • 54

      Hi there, dear nic :D

      Wow, long time no “chat” here … I am so happy to see you! Yes, I still remember you! I am glad that you are going to make this curry again for your party and now your daughter is going to be 6. How time flies. Hope this little note find you and your family well and healthy!

      With best wishes,

      choesf :D

      P.S. Thank you for being a “fan” of my mother-in-law’s chicken and potato curry! :lol:

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