Mom’s Salted Vegetable Chicken Curry


Ground curry paste
6 fresh red chillies
6 dried chillies - soaked till soft and seeded
6 candle nuts
3 cm piece galingale (lengkuas), sliced
2 stalks lemon grass ( white part only), sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 large red onion, peeled
2 cm square belacan - toasted and crushed
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
7-8 tbsp Vegetable oil
1 chicken (approx 2 kg) cut into 10 pcs or use 5 fairly large drumsticks and 5 thighs, cut into 2 pcs each
4 cups thin coconut milk
250g salted vegetable (sayur masin or kiam chye) cut into 5 cm pcs, soaked in water for 10 mins and drained
1 cup thick coconut cream
1 tsp Sugar
Salt to taste
"I prefer to cook my chicken without skin, for health reasons. Avoid over soaking the salted veg. You still want that slight sour salty taste. It’s important not to over cook the curry after adding the thick coconut cream. The very moment the curry starts to simmer, remove from heat. Always salt any meat dish at the end to avoid tough meat" - Michael


1.In a food processor or blender finely grind curry paste ingredients to a fine paste. You can use a little water to get the blades moving
2.Heat oil in wok till hot. Fry curry paste over medium heat till fragrant and oil starts to separate
3.Add chicken pieces and fry over high heat till slightly browned, covering wok occasionally. Take care not to burn the curry paste
4.Add salted vegetable and thin coconut milk, bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, covered, till chicken is cooked and tender
5.Add thick coconut cream and simmer over low heat very briefly without covering , to avoid splitting. Season with sugar and salt to taste
6.Serve hot with white rice, nasi kunyit or toasted white bread, Mom’s way.

Another unique recipe created by our winner Michael Cheong Peck Keong featuring a comforting Nyonya style curry dish to serve during gatherings. Michael says, “Salted vegetable in chicken curry may sound unusual but the Nyonyas (like my Mom and maternal grandmom) like a bit of pizzazz during the CNY. This dish was my Mom’s favorite recipe for the festive season. The sour saltiness flavor of the vegetable is balanced with sugar for the typical Nyonya curry character. Pounding the curry paste with a pestle and mortar is the best way but city guys like me just don’t have the patience 😅”. Nothing like a home recipe that takes you down those timeless family moments. Thanks again, Michael!

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